Why is it that most startups never even get to the ideation stage?
It is said that approximately 85% of startup companies fail within the first two years of startup. While this in of itself is quite stark, the real tragedy is that many ideas formed in the minds of hopeful people never actually get to the startup phase. Ideas that could’ve been great and went on to create wonderful ventures to help millions of people die in the minds of millions of people each day. The problem here is that people are sometimes unaware of the real gems hidden in the ideas that flash across their minds’ every day. Since most people do not consider themselves entrepreneurs or even problem solvers when an idea flashes across their minds they entertain it for a split second and then pass it off as hopeful thinking or just something to be entertained by. Flashes of ideas and hunches are real gems and we should be more careful to explore those fleeting thoughts or ideas that could solve real needs.
To many of us, ideas come to us in flashes like random thoughts sometimes within a split second. However, there are times when we get these flashes of thoughts that are so in lightning that we dwell on them for some time. It is these thoughts that have the most effect on us and therefore the ones we should explore as much as possible. It could be helpful to jot down notes on ideas such as these. These notes could be reviewed at a later date when the time is available or a collection of these idea notes could be used to help further a much larger idea in the future or even be placed together or picked apart to create another holistic idea.
Learning to see ideas
All of us at some point have a flash of an idea or a hunch about how something could be done or how a problem could be solved. It matters not will we see the problem or the idea for the solution. This could be at school, at work, in your community, at home or in the wider world, whenever We have an idea about solving a problem this is a powerful moment for us. It is a time for us to be engaged in solving challenges that are faced by others in the environment within which we live and work.
That being said, the challenge here is that most of us do not think deeply enough about the ideas that flash across our minds daily. There could be a number of reasons for this phenomenon, the situation of us constantly overlooking our ideas and not allowing them to take seed and grow within our minds to become real gems for problem-solving. In my view, there are a couple of major reasons why we many times do not take our ideas seriously, reasons such as:
- We believe that someone might have already taken care of this problem or come up with this idea. One of the most striking things is that we sometimes dismiss our ideas on this ground without actually doing any real research as to whether the problem is been solved or the idea is already circulating out there. In fact, a little bit of research into the idea may open up fresh insights that will lead us to dive even deeper into our idea.
- We sometimes believe that we don’t have the skill or know how to develop the idea into a meaningful enterprise to solve the need or alleviate the situation. One of the things that we can do in this situation is, first to understand that we will never have all the information we need, nor all the knowledge we need to do all the things we want to do. So the first step is to understand that no matter what ideas we have or what we’re trying to do we will need help.
- We sometimes believe that we are not suited for entrepreneurship or business. One of the most delightful things about ideas that can solve problems Is that they many times do not include any business venture or entrepreneurial moneymaking activity. Ideas can be developed to solve problems in all parts of the worlds in many situations without framing it as a business or moneymaking entrepreneurial venture.
- It is strange that all this technology we’ve been given within the last 20 years to now include artificial intelligence to save us time also make us feel as if we have no time. One of the factors that lead to us not exploring our ideas is that We honestly believe we have no time. The truth is that exploring an idea does not take the kind of time but most of us think. In fact, it is better to explore a random idea while doing our normal days activities such as exercise, work, socializing, etc. By exploring our idea or having it at the front of our mind while we do our normal days activities opens up new ways for us to see and explore our ideas.
- We sometimes do not explore an idea because we are just not passionate about it. It is true that anything we have a passion for we tend to drive towards that thing with more motivation than others. Unfortunately, passion for something is difficult to acquire or be taught or learned. My advice is that if we do not have the passion for an idea, we should try passing it on to someone who does.
- Sharing an idea can be one of the most beneficial things about having the idea in the first place. In this world of lack of trust between people, We sometimes find it hard to share our ideas with people, Believing that they may take it for themselves. I am not saying here that there is not a trust issue amongst people, but what is most important to know is that by sharing an idea with Trustworthy people the idea has a greater chance of growing through the thoughts and analysis of the other persons.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of a flash of an idea, there’s no real way to know if the idea is actually a very good idea. The only way to know if an idea is really good and really helpful is to explore it. By exploring the idea we raise questions that we must answer, and we see things we did not see before.
Nonetheless there a couple of other ways for us to know if a general flash of thought or idea is worth anything to us or someone else. When we get a flash of an idea or a hunch we should quickly ask ourselves the following questions:
- Are we passionate about this idea? Having a passion for the idea is an indication that the situation or the problem the idea seek to solve has been around for some time, or at least long enough to have an effect on us, and as such it may have an effect on others as well.
- Is there at least one person that this idea would help? By asking ourselves this question we really get to step away from just the idea itself, even just for a moment, to analyze if the idea truly is aimed at helping someone or making a difference.
- Can I share this idea with someone? And the idea that is shared with a trustworthy person is an idea ready to be explored and grown. We should never feel afraid of sharing ideas with others, as it is within the process of sharing that we further solidify our own ideas in our minds as well as in the minds of others and garner their help.
So while it is true that most startups that started fail within the first two years, it is most devastating that even more ideas are left on nurtured and they die before the seed becomes a sapling. In order for us to recognize and grow ideas, we must understand that ideas come in flashes and our many times just as fleeting as our other everyday fog of thoughts. The key is to understand that ideas that are promising tend to have certain Characteristics. 1) They tend to drive passion in us. 2) they aim to solve the need or situation of at least one person. 3) they can be shared with others. We also discussed the importance of quickly researching an idea and how important it is to share ideas with others to gain support and insights we might have missed.
Ideas are the souls of all Inventions. Everything that is humanly-made that we use, be a part of, interact with, help or lend help to us, all resided as an idea in someone’s mind once. Nurture your ideas, because it only takes one to help make this world a better place.
Orlando O. Spencer - Startup Helper at Orlando O Spencer I, Inc.
©Orlando O Spencer I, Inc.
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