From Idea to Reality; That’s What It’s All About
How do I get started on my business?
If you are asking this question then I can tell you that you already have. Something has grabbed your attention, and you can’t let it go. When you think about it, you feel butterflies. You can see your future-self running a successful business around just that. In other words if you are asking how, this means you have already decided you want to start this business. Good for you!
“From idea to reality, that’s what it’s all about” is something I live by. These words are on my company website and on my office wall and every time I read it I feel excited. From an idea in your head you start exploring and expanding. You slowly start filling in the details, you find people to co-create with and before you know it, you will find your idea starting to manifest. This journey of making something, of creating something, is exhilarating. And I think I speak for many people when I say, this is what life is all about.
I love this so much, that I’ve started my business doing just that. I support environmental entrepreneurs and cleantech companies bringing their ideas to life. I’ve gone through this wonderful experience with so many clients now, but it never gets old. The journey is never the same and the learning never stops. When you start your business you’ll soon learn it is a continuous road of learning, growing, meeting new people, frustration, failing, success (not necessarily in that order). Every step you take will turn out to be important. And even though it doesn’t always seem like it, all steps are in a forward direction, I promise.
Becoming an entrepreneur is for a large part about willingness. Remember you have already decided you want to start your business. Meaning you are willing to start. Now continue taking steps and continue this willingness. When starting a business you will be confronted with so many things you can’t possibly anticipate. Don’t shut down or give up when things get tough. Because I can tell you beforehand: things will get tough. The key is to be willing to face all these things with open mind, heart and arms when they occur. Be willing to learn and allow personal growth.
In the beginning you can experience a lot of insecurities. You are still working on your business concept. Trying to narrow it down, doing research, looking for feedback from your peers. But you don’t seem to get any further, perhaps you feel you are drifting away from your initial idea thanks to all the well-intended advice you’ve gotten.
Doing your homework, knowing your market and having a great pitch are key. Yet I would say this is the next phase for your business. First decide on your idea, be confident, and then move to the next phase intentionally. This second phase is not intended to verify your idea. It is meant to grow it.
Or perhaps you’ve got stuck because you can’t decide which of your 100 ideas you should give a go. Just pick one, really. Starting a business is far less about the idea than it is about the execution. Or in the words of Dell founder, Michael Dell: “Idea’s are commodities, execution of them is not”. Meaning that the crucial phase starts after you’ve decided on your business concept. The next phase of growing your concept is much more important.
What these two examples tell you is that you should not overthink the initial idea. I get, it you want to know if you have a good idea. But you won’t get the answer by analyzing all industry reports twice or by asking everyone you know if they think it is a good idea. Your answer lies in the unfolding of your business and this requires patience. You just have to start, work hard and enjoy the ride. When you know at some point whether your idea was good or not: you’ll either have a successful business or a great story to tell. There’s no losing in this game.
One other thing about choosing your business: passion. Probably the most heard word in business articles, I know. But you have to realize your business will become your life, or the other way around. Best to choose an industry, service or product that truly floats your boat.
Structure – structure – structure
We’ve established that you have long begun your business. You were asking how to start, but it’s clear that you have taken some very crucial first steps already, sifting through all these first choices, deciding on your idea with great excitement and eagerness. Yet you feel your business is still an idea and you are ready now to lift off. Out off your head, into the real world.
At Minimal Mass we co-develop new business concepts contributing to the Green Economy and offer environmental entrepreneurship education and inspiration in our online communities. Basically I help entrepreneurs set up structures. We create a roadmap or recipe to follow. Depending on the phase and needs of their business, we either start structuring their idea, expand their company strategy or develop a fruitful atmosphere of mentors, partners, clients. And from there we know what steps to take towards the envisioned goal.
Setting up a structure like this makes your idea manageable and helps you to move from idea to action. You know what things you need to do, people you need to connect to, etc. Basically you translate your idea into a plan of action.
This plan is never set in stone and you’ll keep working on the plan, as you are working on the business. Pivot, pivot, pivot. And the more experienced you get, the easier it gets. What really helps is to be flexible. Don’t get stuck in one direction or frustrated too much. Just pivot and continue. Try something and when it doesn’t work out, try something else. Remember you don’t know everything, you learn along the way.
Too much thinking can slow you down. Get into action mode. Move. Sure it won’t be one straight line you’ll find yourself on. You will run into dead ends, take detours. Trust that it’s all part of it. No need to oversee the whole journey. Just start taking steps. You’ll get there. And really enjoy moving towards your goals. The true bliss of business lies between your idea and the mega success you want to make it. Be in it for the ride.
Should you have set your heart on the Green Economy, feel free to contact me directly or through Future Females if you need help turning your idea into reality.
Marleen Mulder is the Founder of Minimal Mass, a clean-tech company aiming to make electricity more widely available and renewable energy tech affordable. She is passionate about exploring new ways of enjoying nature and lowering her footprint on the earth. Being based in the Netherlands, she is fully engaged in the online activities of Future Females.