You can’t build a successful business without a great idea, and if you’re a passionate entrepreneur you’ve got a dozen ideas that you talk about all the time.
Your enthusiasm is infectious. Your friends and family offer endless words of encouragement, and the constant praise makes you feel happy, fulfilled and optimistic. Surely this latest idea will skyrocket you into the stratosphere of success – right?
Here’s the harsh truth. Your idea will probably never see the light of day, and if you’re honest – you’re not surprised.
After all, it’s easier to talk about the future than work hard in the present to build it. When push comes to shove, your enthusiasm will falter, you’ll get bored and move on to the next flash of inspiration that comes your way. Your “great” idea will fade away like the hundreds of others before it that failed to materialise.
But things don’t have to stay this way. Transforming great ideas into successful businesses is easy. All you need to do is break a few bad habits.
1. Stop talking your ideas to death.
You talk about your ideas because people seem interested (and they probably are). They want you to succeed and they encourage you to pursue your dreams. But despite their good intentions, these people have already let you down.
Psychologists at New York University have proved something unexpected. When people notice your goals, you feel like you’ve already achieved them. If you feel like you’ve already achieved something, you’re less likely to want to pursue it again.
If you’re serious about translating your ideas into action, stop talking about them all the time. Never stop believing them, but break the habit of speaking about them so often that you lose the intention of following through. Instead fill yourself with a secret passion that drives you forward. You just need one successful idea to build a business that gives you wealth and fulfilment. Make an effort to persevere and see it bare fruit.
2. Replace passion with relentless action.
Passion is great. If you’re not excited about your ideas, nobody will be. But accomplishments come from action, not imagination. Action is the bridge between imagination and success. Without it your ideas will never leave your head.
So what’s the secret behind a desire that motivates you to do anything? How can you transform your enthusiasm into behaviour that helps achieve your goals? In truth, there is no secret. There’s no magic pill that pulls you up and throws you at your work. You just have to do the work yourself. You have to be diligent, relentless and, above all else, consistent.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Trying and failing is better than never trying at all. The more you apply yourself, the greater your chances of success will be. Your passion will never pay the bills by itself. You have to combine it with rigorous action.
3. Stop over-estimating how much you know.
Life would be straightforward if you could immediately transform your ideas into successful businesses. But that hardly ever happens. Anyone can start a business – few can ensure that it survives.
There’s a simple reason for that – Inexperience. You’re not going to be familiar with your industry the first time you start a business, at least not as experienced as you need to be (and that’s okay) – Experience comes with time.
If you’re inexperienced, dedicate yourself to learning more about your industry. Acquiring knowledge is the best way to ensure that your business will survive.
4. Your “shortcuts” lead to dead ends.
If you want something with all your heart, don’t apply yourself half-heartedly. Coming up with ideas is easy, but moulding them into successful businesses requires dedication.
We live in an age obsessed with quick fixes, fast results and easy shortcuts. We’re impatient but ambitious. That’s why we’re tempted to believe that we can achieve our wildest dreams without giving it our all.
But here’s the harsh truth. Your business requires a 100 percent commitment. You won’t succeed if you don’t go all in. Break the habit of expecting the pieces to fall together by themselves. They never will. Your business is a puzzle that only you can solve. If you don’t apply yourself the pieces will never come together.
Your actions speak loudest.
Brilliant ideas fade away, and when they do, regret displaces your bright sense of optimism. Yes, people praise ambitious intentions. But intentions are meaningless if you never have anything to show for them.
It’s time for your actions to speak louder than your words. It’s time to stop talking and start doing. It’s time to build a bridge between your imagination and your success. And it’s time to apply yourself whole-heartedly. Change your bad habits and pick up some good ones. It’s this transformation that will secure your future as an independent, fulfilled and successful entrepreneur.
This article first appeared in Entrepreneur.com