When I speak to friends and colleagues, I am often asked how I come up with my PreVeteran entrepreneurship and small businesses ideas. When they ask me the question, I often ask them one right back. “Have you ever had a great idea?” The answer, nine times out of ten, is “yes.” My next question is, “Did you capture it?” The answer is almost always “no.”
Personally, I think that entrepreneurship is more about discipline and organization than it is about ideas. That is why I think military members have the DNA for entrepreneurship; it just requires embracing a new way of thinking and some new habit patterns. That is what being a PreVeteran entrepreneur is all about!
I fundamentally believe that everyone has great ideas; however, very few capture them. For example, my most creative time is in the morning before I get out of bed. My brain seems to be working through issues from the prior days and weeks and is able to do so without the “normal” distractions that take place throughout the day. For me, it is the time of day I am the most creative. It doesn’t happen everyday, but it does happen often.
When it does happen, I make it a point to capture every one of my ideas (even the bad ones!). Why is writing down your ideas so important? I think it is critical for three reasons. First, our minds work better on ideas when we write them down—the brain seems to take them more seriously. It is almost as if writing down your concept puts your brain on alert. Second, writing down your ideas begins the documentation trail. This record is of great benefit to you; it establishes a baseline. After time, continued inputs to that baseline show the development of your idea. If you have multiple ideas brewing at the same time, there may be enough overlap between ideas to synergize some of the concepts. Finally, and this may sound silly, I believe the entrepreneurial gods help those who take action toward becoming entrepreneurs. Very few people take the simple step of writing their ideas down; fewer make it a habit to write then all down. The PreVeteran entrepreneur gods are watching—and waiting to reward you.
That is why capturing your ideas is such a basic but powerful concept. Once you capture it, put it away in an organized fashion. In this day and age, it is so easy to capture and organize things. I am a Mac guy, so I put all of my ideas into Notes under different categories but there are many methods. Choose the best one for you at any one time, I’m typically adding content to 3-4 existing ideas or adding a new one to the list. Some ideas will never see the light of day again. Others I will go back to frequently. Most will alter over time as I integrate them with other related ideas.
No excuses anymore…capture your idea and let your brain do the rest! You will be shocked how quickly they mature and merge into more complete and tangible concepts. Over time, those concepts become the foundation of your new business and allow you to begin taking action.