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The 7 Ugly Reasons Your Ideas Don’t Turn Into Reality

“Ideas are like a$$holes…,” my friend Ralph once said: “…everyone has one!” Ralph’s gonna hate me for mentioning that one!

You hear it almost every day: “I have an idea for a new product…or a new Web site.”  Perhaps you even say it yourself.

I keep my business ideas in a Google Docs spreadsheet for easy organization.

But most often the idea dies right there…or, worse, you hear someone whine or brag about the idea later when someone else has turned it into a product.

“Hey, I thought up a car sharing service just like Zipcar five years ago!”

If you want to avoid being one of those idea-snobs, here are 7 mistakes to avoid when you have an idea that you want to turn into a reality

1) You Keep Your Idea A Secret

Many people keep their ideas a secret — they don’t share it with anyone. This is probably the worst mistake you can make.

This may you are worried someone will steal the idea or  because you fear failure or lack confidence.

I suggest that you keep your ideas in a journal…I use Google Docs (pictured above) to keep my ideas (and ideas of friends) and I rate them based on:

  • How much capital I have to put at risk to test the idea
  • How much financial upside the idea has
  • How confident I am in the business model of the idea
  • How close the business idea is to my core competencies
  • How consistent the idea is with my values
  • How fun the idea is

And I can pull up the pipeline of ideas any time on my iPhone.

2) You’re Afraid Your Idea Will Fail

People are unwilling to face the fear of failure. As Master Yoda famously said:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Master Yoda

Yoda senses great fear in you and your amazing ideas that you're not doing anything with

For some more inspirational words on conquering fear, check out these Fear Quotes.

3) You Don’t Take Action On Your Idea

“Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The #1 cure for failure, in my opinion, is simply taking action…any action!

As teacher Dale Carnegie once said:

“Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy!”

If you want some more words of inspiration, check out my Action Quotes article.

4) You Lack Confidence In Your Idea

Oh, man, low confidence can crush any idea…and quickly!

There are some great ways to boost confidence including this Confidence Building Exercise that includes my fun Qualities of Achievement.

5) You Don’t Use Advisors To Develop Your Idea

People who have ideas need to have an advisor or two around them who know a bit about the topic of the idea (or at least execution of ideas in general).

This may be a colleague, sibling, parent, child or friend. Search LinkedIn or Facebook for keywords related to your idea to see who you know.

And if you still haven’t formed much of a social network yet, check out my Business Networking section for a bunch of free tips.

People love to give advice…so take it!

6) Your Idea Has No Feedback Mechanism

After you’ve shared an idea with an advisor or two, you need to get broader feedback on it.

One tip I give friends is to start tweeting about it on Twitter or, better yet, write about your idea in a blog.

You might check out step 3 of my article on 3 Simple Steps To Help You Pursue Your Passion to get some tips on putting yourself out there and getting feedback through a blog.

I prefer setting up my own blog because you can get set up Google Analytics on it  — for instance, I can see that the most popular search terms on my blog include “mission statement” and “alliteration.”

Check out the 3 Easy Steps To Using Google Analytics if you want to try it out on a Web site you have access to.

You’ll be amazed at what serendipity can get created through putting yourself out there and getting feedback on it.

7) You & Your Idea Lack An “Accountability Buddy”

To execute an idea you need what I call an “accountability buddy”  — this is someone who will hold you accountable to testing out your idea into a reality.

For example, you can ask them to have a monthly phone call or meeting with you in which you update them on your progress of turning the idea into a reality.

Perhaps you can hold them accountable on one of their ideas too!