Sheryl Sandberg once said, “There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” If you have an idea for a business, just do it, start the idea you have or the business you want to create. In the first year you will be more honest with yourself and learn more being hands on and make more mistakes than you’ll ever learn in a book or business seminar. If you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, then perfect! You have nothing to lose. J.K. Rowling said, “...rock-bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
1. Recognising a good idea
Taking control of your work life by venturing out on your own may be scary, but doing nothing about it can be worse. While it may be daunting, if you’re truly interested, clear on your concept, and believe that you’re not the only one waiting for this idea to happen; then what’s stopping you from making it a reality?
The MightyPurse idea came out of pure necessity. Ana (Mighty Purse co-founder) was frustrated by always running out of phone charge, especially at crucial times, like when travelling, and having no opportunity to recharge anywhere. She wasn’t the only woman out there with this frustration. Speaking with her friends and colleagues, she saw that they shared the same annoyance. Armed with an overwhelming urge to help these women who shared the same problem, she combined her interest in fashion and frustration with existing options to solve this common problem and enrich other womens’ lives.
“The idea of just buying an ugly power bank, and having it falling around loose in my bag, creating more mess and chaos simply didn’t appeal to me. Not only that, but I was so overwhelmed by how they all work and which ones worked with which phone, all that technical jargon is a real turn off.”
Before the MightyPurse was born, Ana and Stephan had a clear vision on what they wanted to bring to the table when launching their brand of products.
“We both value quality, practicality and effortless style. We are passionate about developing products that combine all three values to help eliminate the small frustrations of everyday life, for our customers and ourselves. Every product we develop is with our customers' everyday needs in mind and to help make their lives easier and more fun.”
So you’ve got a killer idea...what’s the next step?
2. Believe In Your Ideas; Give Your Venture Everything You’ve Got.
The difference between success and failure is passionate commitment. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anyone else be?
Ana knew that other women felt the same way she did and she dedicated all her energy to creating a phone charger that appealed to women like her. It had to be practical, easy to use, and most importantly, stylish. “Start as soon as you are convinced your idea is great and let nothing hold you back, avoid negative Nancy’s.” Once Ana believed her idea was a product like no other, her first challenge was convincing her husband to believe in the idea too.
And over a bottle of wine, the MightyPurse was born.
Give your idea everything you’ve got (Even if it means putting your time and money into the initial start of an idea). For the launch of the purse, founders Ana and Stephan booked booths at twelve trade shows in all major cities around the world in the space of two to three months.
“Combining the costs of that many trade shows, travel and accommodation expenses; and not knowing if the product will sell was one of the biggest risks we took at the beginning.”
Ana and Stephan didn’t even have a finished MightyPurse to display at their first trade exhibition. They pieced together their own design with whatever they had available. Their prototype was held together with pins and featured a featured a replica battery made of cardboard. It didn’t matter. Customers at the exhibition recognised the great idea behind the product and the belief that Ana and Stephan had in its success. Despite the homemade demo purse, sales for the MightyPurse exceeded all expectations!
Reflecting on their first sale, Ana explained, “Fear is always there for everyone, everyday (more or less), feel the fear and do it anyway. Stay focused on being the best at what you do, and the rest will follow,”
3. Learn to Love your Failures
Business, and even more so, life itself is all about learning from your mistakes. The only failure is failing to learn.
Early into the launch of the MightyPurse, Ana and Stephan had their own setback. Testing revealed some of the purses were not working with all Smartphones, as they had specified in their design.
“We learned very quickly that generic adapters for Apple iPhones were not going to deliver the quality we demand. We also discovered it is illegal to sell generic iPhone adapters.”
When Ana and Stephan hit this roadblock so early into the launch of the business, they were prepared to take the long road.
“It was a timely process to acquire the rights to include Apple licensed adapter in the purses. But it was all well worth the wait, as we now have a reliable, high quality product that we are proud to sell to our customers.
There will always be bumps in the road, but this does not mean you have failed; it just means it’s a challenge you must learn to overcome. Accept, overcome and flourish from these challenges; sometimes these challenges are a blessing in disguise.
4. Solve it in your Sleep
“To have a business means solving problems every day, don’t treat the problems as a negative burden. Business means solving problems every day, start to love them and you will love your work for a long time.”
You can sit around complaining that there are so many problems and not enough answers, doing nothing and wondering if the problems will ever go away, or you can commit to finding a solution. With the Internet at our fingertips there are no excuses; you will find the answers to every aspect of business as you go. “I don’t believe in business plans as I learned that life and business never go to plan, we never had a business plan.”
Many decisions are made every day, which leaves us sometimes wondering if we made the right decision. Ana reminds herself not to overthink things. Trust your instinct and if no answer pops up straight away, push it aside and sleep on it. Persisting when you’re over-tired and unfocused may cause decision fatigue and a foggy brain. You’ll be amazed what the subconscious mind comes up with while you sleep. You are very likely to have the answer in the morning.
5. Do What Nike Does.
Just do it. If you wait for people to tell you that your idea is good enough, you’ll be waiting for a long time. Why give that power away? Write, draw, speak out loud, visualize, type, sketch all your messy ideas out. Be clear, confident and believe in your idea. Be ready for challenges; learn to love your mistakes. Remember that nothing is impossible, but most importantly believe that your idea is worthy for people to love it just as much as you do. Now Get To Work!