Why Ideas Can be a Bad Thing


If you’re running a business and or making strategic decisions for it, one of the worst problems to experience are too many business ideas. Frankly, they can paralyze your business by clouding your vision and rendering you with an inability to make the right decision.

Based on most small businesses we’ve worked with over the years, the quantity of business ideas that are always being thought up and considered is legion! Entrepreneurs by their nature enjoy coming up with new things to do and innovate, so it’s especially important to know how to balance ideation with implementation. Here are several quick rules of thumb we suggest:

  1. Determine your core business and judge every idea based on whether it strengthens or changes it. Too many business directions are not a good thing so take care to have just one strong direction in operation throughout your organization.
  2. When you have a “Big Idea” immediately write it down and share it with several trusted people you regularly work with. This is not to say if they don’t immediately agree with the idea it is defective, but it should give you pause if you can’t sell it to the people closest to you.
  3. Consider whether the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule)—that says 20 percent of our efforts will bring 80 percent of our results—will occur. Using this rule can guide you to select the best possible ideas from all the rest and help jumpstart your business growth.

And of course, implementing your idea once it is developed is the all-essential step every company needs to practice, regardless of its size. As the saying goes, a strategy without an implementation is nothing more than an idea. And that’s usually not enough to accomplish your objectives.
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Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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  • Paul Gardner

    “One of the worst problems to experience are too many business ideas”

    That’s crazy!

    Having ideas to work with is essential. Too many ideas is impossible! You simply need a system for capturing them all, evaluating and sorting them, and prioritizing the ones you decide are good enough to take action on.

    If you really, truly believe what you wrote, please take a look at the work of Joe Knight of Setpoint Systems. I think he’ll convince you otherwise.