Three Steps to Turn a Great Idea into a Business

So you've got a great business idea. Now what? Often, that's where would-be entrepreneurs get stuck. They have no idea how to turn their business idea into a business plan.

Charles Lee, CEO of Ideation, has some advice on how to take the next step. His companyspecializes in turning good ideas into successful brands by developing innovative business strategies and infrastructure, strong brand presence, memorable visual identities and design, creative marketing, new media public relations strategies and a strong Web presence.

Lee, the author of the book"Good Idea. Now What?" (John Wiley & Sons, 2012),  said he has seen a lot of great business idea never make it beyond the idea stage.

"Ideas are sexy," Lee said. "They are attractive, unbridled and full of inspired passion. There’s no doubt that ideas are fun to think about, share and platform."

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Unfortunately, he said, many people with good (or even great) ideas will never see their ideas actualized. In fact, many will end up taking their ideas to the grave.

"In a world where ideas are a dime-a-dozen, it's imperative that we focus on idea-making rather than idea-loving," Lee said. Here are three initial steps you can take in turning your great idea into a viable business:

1. Stop talking and start writing

Recent studies have shown that people who immediately talk about their new ideas are less likely to actually implement them. Talking about an idea prior to doing some initial processing on paper tricks our brains into thinking that we are actually doing something about the concept.

While sharing definitely has its benefits and is highly recommended in the overall idea-making process, taking the time to document our thoughts on paper first will provide greater focus and a practical point of reference for development. It’s difficult to move ideas forward when it remains in the world of "he said, she said."

2. Do the hard work of clarifying an idea

Business ideas that stick with customers are usually easy to understand and engage. This requires us to do the hard work of simplifying and clarifying concepts. Hype may initially sell our idea, but it will never sustain it. Carve out the hoopla that surrounds your new idea and see if it actually works on its own. Edit your idea until you feel that you’ve reached its core and then build upon it for launch.

3. Start moving and launch

You don't need to have everything figured out before launch. In fact, it's impossible to even know all of the questions you should be asking prior to launch. Hypothetical or irrational concerns too often get in the way of idea-making. Ideas come to life in real-life scenarios. Wisdom is usually found while you're in motion.

Start lean with minimal features, and then build upon it by listening to your customers and stakeholders. Give yourself permission to "experiment" with the core concept while transparently asking for input during your alpha or beta phase.  It is far better to launch with 80 percent of an idea developed than it is to sit on 95 percent and never launch.

If you truly believe that you have a great business idea, what are you waiting for?

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