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How Do You Bring Ideas to Life?

Being an innovator is terrifying. You're only as good as the next great idea and, if you're an entrepreneur, you'll have that inbuilt expectation and belief that that idea will be your own. But how to go from concept to outcome?

Being an innovator is terrifying. You're only as good as the next great idea and, if you're an entrepreneur, you'll have that inbuilt expectation and belief that that idea will be your own. But how to go from concept to outcome? Whether you're improving your business or starting from scratch, you can't simply expect that brainwave to burst itself in to full capacity immediately. You have to grind down and get going. Easier said than done.

When I come up with my next project, it usually happens organically and I have the same thirst that every other entrepreneur has to see it on paper as soon as possible. Learning to be patient yet progressive in your methods is important, because not every new idea will end up conceived. Remembering that a seed can only grow if nurtured is something I try to incorporate into every fresh endeavour, and it's important to give each spark the fuel it needs to get going. Without over-working the dough, as it were. Balance and stamina is as important as passion, so treat each idea as though it could fail to make sure you don't treat it as a given. Nothing, not even the best innovation, came from inspiration only.

My business isn't about the boardroom. It can't be when it comes to creativity, you need a breathable life-force and electric workforce. Getting started shouldn't be about sitting around looking hopefully around a table at each other; You should be so excited and alight that you're practically interrupting each other as your concept erupts and evolves, taking the journey in your stride to incorporate new ideas.

At PeoplePerHour we have a culture where we encourage the flow of ideas and a lot of discussion. Great ideas take time to mature and need a lot of conversation, so we allow everyone to chip in ideas about a problem we're trying to solve, then get around the table (or on Skype or Google Hangouts) and hash them out. You can't structure that process too much; otherwise, you kill creativity. Innovating doesn't happen on a linear timeline with project leads and focus on a set strategy. It's about having short but frequent conversations -- with research and analysis to validate assumptions in between.

Communicating your concept is step one. Clearly you have a vision in your head, but it's not going to work to simply say "Let's raise revenue by 20%!" and then give your team your best "tah-dah!" face. Translating your idea into a few bullet points of what, when, why and how are good ways to give everyone the injection they need to get on board. So although you'll want to rush out of the starting blocks, there's no fun in winning a lone race. Make sure everyone is on the same page before you start and try to give them as much inspiration as you can, especially about how and why you thought your idea up in the first place. If you intend to change the way you interact with clients, there's no sense in skipping ahead and talking about reactive marketing. If you want to grow your potential customer base by improving or starting from scratch with your approach, then don't start by talking numbers. Make yourself clear, articulate what you need and why, and you won't waste time going down unproductive paths.

An idea is hard to get off the ground if you don't have the right tools, so equip yourself. Inspiration is a wonderful thing, with the potential to seriously help you outrun your competitors, but there's no sense in time wasting. Bringing your idea to life is about literally injecting movement into it,; It's about watching it come alive in front of your eyes. Which won't happen unless you become the clear driving force and set the pace.

I have had ideas that have ended up on the floor, and it's never because they didn't have a solid foundation. Poor execution and limited resources can stunt any major project, and although a small team has great focus, bringing in freelancers or fresh thinkers in the final stages will make sure you don't have to abandon ship. There are some days I can regret not seeing a previous project through to the end because we hit a stumbling block, but I've always taken the concept, pulled the strongest bits together and restructured them; repurposed them in to the next fresh idea. So progress with perseverance, passion, but also the realisation that all ideas are mortal and need that injection of life, and make sure you control the conception carefully.

In no time, that brainwave will be building your business. And then it's on to the next.

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