It was 1965, and a Yale University undergraduate by the name of Frederick W. Smith had a term paper to write. Frustrated with the current transport routes, he wrote about the passenger route systems used by most airfreight shippers, which he viewed as economically inadequate. Smith detailed the need for shippers to have a system designed specifically for airfreight that could accommodate time-sensitive shipments such as medicines, computer parts and electronics. Six years later, after a frustrating encounter trying to ship his own products, Fredrick “Fred” Smith started Federal Express. It has eventually went on to become one of the world’s leading shipping and delivery companies.
Before he ever had thousands of employees, billions of dollars, and hundreds of freight vehicles, however, he simply had an idea. That idea had the capacity to create a multibillion dollar organization that feeds thousands of families, ships millions of critical packages, and impacts millions of lives.
Before your ideas ever form a company, they will always have the seed of a brand. Fred’s idea started with a term paper. Who would have thought that assignment would be the foundation of a company that would change the world of shipping? What would have happened had he concluded his idea was ludicrous? What might have resulted had he never even pursued it? His vision had extraordinary potential before it was ever practically possible. Before he even had a clear solution, he believed it was solvable.
What ideas have you kept locked away? What have you been afraid to start because the vision seems to big? Do not ever allow fear, insecurities, or frustrations to stop you from developing your idea. Instead of discounting those crazy ideas, why not develop them? Ideas are thought investments into your future self. They are the assets to your vision . How you cultivate those ideas can change the course of your life! There are three major steps I use to manage and cultivate ideas:
1. Write them down
I typically keep a note in my phone specifically for ideas that I have. Wherever I go, I am always getting ideas for new businesses or services. The more you look for needs or gaps in your field, the easier it becomes to get new ideas. It doesn’t have to be a formal outline, just simply a thought or description should suffice. Some people may even find better value in recording their ideas as well. An app I highly recommend for note taking is Evernote. With it, you can search your notes, categorize and organize them in notebooks and much more.
2. Ask questions.
Successful products and services aren’t the result of innately brilliant thinkers, but incredibly curious minds. People who are always asking questions usually generate great ideas. Many people are afraid of someone stealing their idea by asking people to review it. More than likely, however, your idea has already been thought by numerous of other people. Asking intentional questions about your idea will give you a real perspective on where the market really is at. I go more into detail about how to ask here.
The value of an idea isn’t in the idea itself, but in the plan of execution. How you plan to uniquely tackle an idea is where the greatest value and potential comes from it. The thermostat was a pretty boring and typical household device for decades. It wasn’t broken for the most part. However, when Nest founder Tony Fadell had an idea to reinvent the device, he added a brand new value to the thermostat never before seen.
Never despise the brand inside of you. Your ideas matter. Your dreams matter. Your vision MATTERS! It’s time to finally take those crazy ideas seriously and do something with that will impact lives. An idea changed the world before. It can definitely do it again!