Is Your Idea Worth Millions?

So you have a good idea. Maybe it’s even a great idea.

Now what?

In my experience, the chances are likely that one of three things will happen.

  1. You will tell nobody about your idea for fear of it being stolen.
  2. You will think that your idea, in and of itself, has value and won’t take any action on it.
  3. You will discover that someone is already doing something similar to what you thought of, so you’ll toss your idea into the waste bin.

Your idea may be good. It may even be great. But without action on that idea or access to people who can make that idea happen, your idea is worthless.

If you are afraid of sharing your idea because you think that others will steal it, then please put that notion to rest. After being in business for quite a while and after studying business even longer, I’ve developed a rule that you can take to the bank:

If you truly have a great idea, then not only will no one try to steal it, but you’ll have to force it down peoples’ throats to even have them look at it, let alone buy it or invest in it.

People laughed at Henry Ford. The executives at IBM wanted nothing to do with Bill Gates’ computer operating system. Politicians and citizens alike called the purchase of Alaska “Seward’s Folly.” Walt Disney was refused financing by too many banks to count. The list is endless.

When Apple released the first iPod, a device with which I am certain you are familiar, what do you think people thought about it?

The simple answer is not much. They hated it. They thought it was a waste of time.

An idea that revolutionized how we listen to and enjoy music was scoffed at — by people who were (and are) huge fans of the company and its products! (That alone should tell you something.)

I am not saying to not be careful about giving away your ideas foolishly. I am saying that if you have a great idea, you will have to share it with people that can help you realize it. And, if history is any indicator, you will probably have to share your idea with a lot of people.

Before going any further, you must now realize one of the most important things about ideas:

In and of themselves, ideas are worthless.

Just because you think it would be a good idea to open a pizza shop in your area doesn’t mean anything until you actually open a pizza shop.

Your idea for a book is nothing until you write the book.

Even your ideas about redecorating your house are nothing but wishful thinking until you take the plunge and purchase the new furniture and design the new color scheme.

Gene Simmons of KISS fame hit the nail on the head about the value of ideas and how to get an idea into motion:

In order to succeed and make money, you must have access — access to the people who have the power to implement … access to capital (money) to make things happen ….

So, even if it’s not your idea, if you can get to the people and the money, you own all the right cards. You can always “buy” someone’s idea for pennies, or simply come up with your own idea. Remember, an idea cannot be trademarked or copyrighted. Not unless there is a “process” … in which case, IT’S THE PROCESS, not the idea that is protected.

The reason I keep stressing “ideas mean little” is simply because it’s true. People don’t believe that. And, when they finally get to jump into the water and try swimming in the deep oceans of business, you will be shocked when the real rules of business come slamming down on you. And, you may point to all sorts of reasons why the “idiots out there” don’t recognize the genius of your idea. Oh, they may recognize the genius of your idea. But if you can’t make it happen, you are worthless to them.

Those are some tough words for many people, but if you want to succeed, then you must take them to heart.

To paraphrase that credit card commercial: Ideas are a dime a dozen; making them happen in priceless!

What if you have an idea and then you discover that someone (or many people!) are already doing what you thought?

That can actually be a good thing, believe it or not. In essence, someone else is doing your market research!

For example, just because there’s already a pizza shop in your area, doesn’t mean that they are satisfying everyone. Keep your ears and eyes open. Perhaps they don’t deliver. Maybe they’re a little pricey. Whatever the case, just because they have the same idea as you doesn’t mean that you can’t copy it and do it your own way.

McDonald’s was the first fast food burger joint; then there was Burger King and Wendy’s. Apple made the first GUI computer operating system; Microsoft was second. Coke and Pepsi. Hershey and Nestle.

Much of our economic system is based on that kind of copying happening. It’s called competition — and you shouldn’t be afraid to engage in it. Some would even argue that merely by throwing your hat in the ring you are succeeding. And I would more often than not agree whole-heartedly.

So, is your idea the one that will make you millions and change the world in the process?

Maybe.

If you …

  • Take action on your idea,
  • Find the people who can help you with your idea,
  • Execute your idea properly,

… then maybe, just maybe, you’ll make the millions.

Ideas are important. But they are not the be-all end-all. They are the seeds from which action must sprout.

Isn’t it maddening that people who haven’t ever had an original idea are making millions, while you (or some people you know) are wallowing in Nowheres-ville?

It’s all because of action.

So, forget about trying to think about that one big super-original idea that will rock the world. Instead, just take an idea — any idea — and run with it and make it happen.

As Charles F. Haanel wrote in Week Twenty of The Master Key System

Thought necessarily precedes and predetermines action; action precedes and predetermines condition.

If you like this, then you’ll love these Books for Business and Enterprise.