New ideas are excruciatingly hard to pull off - 'what is' gets in the way of 'what's better'.
Meeting startup businesses with 'game-changing' ideas and aspirations to make the world a better place is a daily occurrence at Creative HQ. But sometimes there is a disconnect between the obvious merit in an idea and the reality of being too far from the status quo to get any traction.
Innovation is a key word for survival, but to link the two you need people to buy into it. The vision is an aspiration, and the execution is the actualisation.
I meet a lot of people, entrepreneurs and wannapreneurs, who describe themselves as 'ideas people'.
Unfortunately for 'ideas people' aspiration only gets you so far.
Often startup founders are wrapped in their vision and bank on people seeing the brighter future in their idea and be won over immediately. Plenty of people will celebrate the vision itself, but actually doing it? There are a million reasons not to, and people like things the way they are.
A healthy dose of scepticism to balance aspiration is a trait any successful entrepreneur does well. Taking your grand idea and testing it rigorously with people who aren't interested in whether you make it or not is often a useful way to adopt a slice of scepticism.
Not enough entrepreneurs recognise the status quo as their leading competition. Competitor analysis will identify another company trying the same idea, or similar ones. But through actual live user testing will you realise human behaviour is a huge impediment to any new product. It's something entrepreneurs in the market know all too well.
"I don't know the answer," one startup founder said recently.
"It's about breaking that comfort in using what you know, even if you know it's not good for you."
The risk and uncertainty in adopting a new way of doing something requires a level of faith that takes time to build, even when there is no other barrier to change than change itself, he said.
Become as familiar with the barriers stopping people moving to your product as you are with the benefits they will receive when they get there. These are the anchors that sink your sales pitch before it has even touched ground.
"Our core feature is several steps in (to our product); if they get there they are hooked. If they get there. So what are we doing for the next six months? Getting easier. That's all we are doing," the startup founder said.
It's not enough to be better than the best, you have to be easier than doing nothing.
- Nick Churchouse is Venture Manager at Creative HQ.
- © Fairfax NZ News