This is the article I wish I had read when I was a kid thinking I was full of “business potential”. My friend Erica’s article about how to make money on the internet inspired me to put my ideas together on the business “potential energy” of an online business. Erica wrote about how it takes time and effort to build something that can create a full time income.
From the nutrition perspective, a sprout has the most potential energy because it has yet to grow. I feel like everyone who has yet to experience massive success is like a sprout: tons of potential energy, but no kinetic (movement) energy behind them yet.
I’ve come to realize that sometimes our ideas and our potential energy can actually hold us back. I’ve done it myself: I’ve banked on the future execution of an idea, without following through on it. Therein lies the problem with business potential “energy”, it doesn’t turn into money, success, or a viable business unless you let it.
You can’t take an idea to the bank and deposit it for cash. Just like venture capitalists learned the hard way in the dot com crash: an idea written on the back of a napkin does not a business make. You could potentially build a business based on the idea, but you have to make it happen. Business potential is not the end result itself.
Hey, I had that idea a year ago…
If you’ve ever seen one of your original ideas in use after you thought of them… then here’s a reality check. It’s not uncommon for people to have the same or similar ideas around the same time.
It’s only those who take those ideas and run with them that get the benefits.
If you’ve ever thought “I could do that!” then this article is for you… I could have been that 16 year old genius programming apps in the basement. I could have been the inventor of post-it notes. I could have created a video like that… and the list goes on.
Just because you have the business potential energy doesn’t mean you’ve got the kinetic action energy to back it up. (Don’t worry, there’s still hope!)
Ideas, Technology, and Start Ups
“Real artists ship.” – Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple
We all know what happened during the dot com bubble when people were selling ideas off the back of napkins. These days VCs tend to investigate more before investing, and usually do a lot of due diligence to prove that you can deliver on the concepts you’ve got.
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow.
Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer.” – Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari
I see this happen a lot in the tech scene. Luckily with more agile development methods and people bootstrapping their ideas into apps and solutions, there’s a lot more action.
Just because this applies to software doesn’t mean that it won’t apply to your business potential. In fact, I’d say it impacts literally every aspect of your business.
From the Seed Grows a Plant (Business Potential Explained)
Your big vision, your potential business idea, your potential business… they’re like the seed. Unless you plant it in the ground, water it, and give it sunshine it’s going to stay dormant.
- Other people can have the same seed as you, the same idea. It’s how they nurture it that determines whose plant will grow. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing: we can use more than one tomato plant. It’s not “competition” in that sense. There’s more than enough room for everyone in the garden.
- If you try to plant too many seeds in the same soil, they’re going to crowd each other out. If you try to create too many different things or have too many different projects on the go, they’re going to compete for your limited resources and not flourish as well as they might have on their own.
- Don’t let other people plant stuff in your garden without your permission. Sometimes we say “yes” too readily to new projects and ideas. Trust your intuition, sometimes planting beets where cucumbers would have been better is not worth it.
Some Seeds Germinate, Others Don’t
The truth is that all of this potential energy is nothing if you don’t put some action behind it. Here are a few examples from my life so you can see what I’m talking about.
Business potential without kinetic energy…
In high school I designed web sites. Lots of them, and for money. It was great fun, I got to get creative, and get recognition for all those hours I spent geeking out in my room. The problem? Everyone kept telling me I was going to be the next Bill Gates. Except I never did anything that would lead to Bill Gates-ness. It’s not that people were exaggerating, they were just being nice. But their comments were actually teaching me that “business potential” was rewarded, when in the real world potential does not equal cash or a real business.
With one push you’ve got motion
In my last year of University I took a speech communication class because I knew speaking was going to be a big part of my life. It was great practice, like bicycling with training wheels on, and mostly based on potential energy. My potential for speaking broke through when I pitched real venues to speak. That’s when I was able to “bring it” and go from seed to plant.
Now that I’m a business owner, I think it’s even more important to remember not to “rest” on my ideas or business potential.
You need to test your ideas out in the real world. You need to turn that potential into action. Plans, ideas, and dreams are all necessary. But without that spark of action, it’s not real.
How do you get started?
If you’ve been meaning to get your act together when it comes to a potential business idea, I’m inviting you to join me for a fun challenge.
Maybe you read my post on video marketing for your business but haven’t put it into action yet. Maybe you’ve been meaning to put up a web site. Maybe you want to write an ebook, or do more speaking.