Posted August 7, 2010 8:30 am by with 7 comments

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Mouse TrapI hate good ideas!

Seriously they are so overrated! Everyone has the better mouse trap. Everyone thinks they can solve the world’s problems if they only had the chance. Good ideas are everywhere and the vast majority of them are completely pointless.

Take string theory for example. Here’s a very interesting idea in physics that attempts to bridge the gap between Albert Einsteins work, and the work of today’s modern physicist. The problem though is that you can’t test string theory. So, it may hold all the answers to our universe but we have absolutely no idea how to confirm it.

As entrepreneurs we are approached on a daily basis with new ideas. Some of them come from our own imagination and others from talks with others. It never ceases to amaze me how many times a seemingly good idea ends up going nowhere.

So what makes a good idea pointless? The follow through. Or better yet, the lack of follow through. Now don’t get me wrong I am not talking about an individual’s lack of motivation or drive. I am talking about the complete lack of logistical wherewithal.

A few days ago an old friend of mine emailed me with a good idea of his own. One that in his words could make us very rich. To a great extent, he was right, it was a great idea. But the conversation quickly ended when I asked him, “So how are we going to build this thing?”

If you can’t deliver on the follow through then your good idea is pointless. As a web application developer, I spend a majority of my time taking other people’s good ideas and making them a reality. I go from concept to execution and all the steps in between.

For me, the follow through is the only thing that matters. Without it, my client’s good ideas remain a figment of their imagination.

Many entrepreneurs learn this lesson the hard way. They end up wasting precious time and resources on a good idea that they just cant seem to make a reality.

My best advice to folks that want to start a new business, is to forget the good ideas and begin with the follow through. For example, if you spent the last 5 years working in a pizzeria, then use the knowledge that you have learned to make the best damn pizza anyone has ever tasted. After you have done that, start experimenting with different toppings and sauces. Make your creation uniquely your own.

Before long the good idea that is going to make you rich is staring you in the face. Its all because you started with the follow through. Which means now your success is just a matter of continuing what you have been doing all along.

Don’t start with a good idea. Good ideas are pointless and a waste of time. Start with the follow through and discover your good idea along the way!

[photo credit]

  • Joe, this post is another example of why I look forward to my cup of you landing in my inbox each week! 😉

    Unfortunately, even after all these years many still buy into the hype and misinformation that a good idea is all that is needed. Perfect example of cart before the horse mentality!

    Keep the reality coming!

    • Thanks Judith! I am glad you enjoyed the post! like your web site btw, cool background and typography. Keep reading and don’t hesitate to comment again!

  • Best kids board game ever.

    • When I was a kid I used to open it up and just put it together with out playing the game!

  • Do you watch “Big Bang Theory”? 🙂

  • Follow through is boring to talk about and not dream inspiring, but is absolutely necessary to make anything work and the only way to build a business. Ideas are a dime a dozen, people who can make something out of them … rare. Great article… I love the line “Start with the follow through” … I put it next to my computer so I can see it the next time I have a great idea.

  • PAUL

    i agree with your sentiment regarding the importance of follow through, but i wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss a “good idea”. in fact, i would argue that anybody can follow through. that’s a matter of will power and effort. no matter how hard one tries, one cannot will oneself into coming up with a good idea. who knows where they come from, or how we come up with them, be it inspiration, chance, or just divine intervention…we are but victims of it’s spontaneous circumstance.