As an entrepreneur we have an abundance of ideas! Most of our ideas are actually very good, if I do say so myself, and I can completely relate to not wanting to lose any of those ideas, those strokes of genius. But I can also relate spending untold hours researching how to use a new piece of software, a new service or website that looks like it has so much potential for something that I might need one day. Or I may even have a definite need right at this moment but because there is so much potential there we still feel like we are panning for gold! But, alas, we are actually “wasting time”. If you only need to keep a to do list and you have 47 apps on your smart phone and even more than that on your computer I think you know what I’m talking about. Personally I can get lost in and Excel spreadsheet trying to find the perfect formula to make some numbers or a pie chart look just right. LOL! Below I have outlined a few steps that I use every day to keep moving forward and not get mired down working in my business instead of working on my business. This is the path to PROLIFIC SUCCESS!
Step 1: Define the problem
this is probably one of the most difficult steps, getting started! Sure sometimes it’s obvious that you need to return some phone calls for you need to figure out which customers to send follow-up emails to. But we have to separate defining the problem from defining the solution. Be clear about what it is that you want solved. Do not allow yourself to find an excuse to play with a shiny new service or software package that you got an advertisement about in your email is morning! Step one: define the problem, write it down, be specific. If you have a method of organization such as GTD then this should be familiar to you. We don’t need a project title you need a specific problem or task that needs a solution.
Step 2: Define the minimally viable result, not perfection
Now that you know exactly what it is that you need to solve or fix or do, we need to define what success looks like. Is it going to be an alphabetical spreadsheet with customer names and phone numbers? Is it going to be an automated system that once properly configured will keep a spreadsheet of customers that you need to contact again up-to-date for you? The point is we need to know exactly what it looks like when you are done! This is so important to helping you stay laser focused on getting the outcome you want in the least amount of time. But, as you may have noticed in the heading title, we want the minimally viable product, not perfection. Be careful not to allow yourself to make this an excuse to go play with a shiny new software that you just heard about in your email this morning, but instead of once again look at the problem in step one and write down exactly the bare minimum required to correct that problem. Obviously I am a fan of automation and I find myself looking for excuses to use automation, and writing this blog is certainly an easy excuse for playing with some shiny new software LOL! This is the trapped I fall into from time to time what is the trap you have to look out for?
Step 3: List possible solutions:
There is a very good chance that in step two you have found a number of possible solutions. This is a lot like any brainstorming and in order to stay in the flow of ideas it’s good to capture them all! I like to use Mind Meister and map out this process. Start with the problem in the middle and branch out from there. For me, working in this more visual format really helps me connect ideas that I might not normally have seen. And once you get one step of the process fleshed out then you can collapse that portion of the mind map tree and focus on the next step. Whatever your process may be, follow these steps and have a cleaned up list of possible solutions at this point.
Step 4: Pick the best solution
We are almost there! Look at the list you made in step three and at this point you should be thoroughly familiar with the problem, you should have a very detailed, specific, minimally viable solution written down, and a list of ways that you could reach this goal. Chances are that at this point you may not even pause and the best solution is abundantly obvious. But if not, we need to list the pros and cons for each one. Pick any two and eliminate the weakest one. Take the winner of this round and pit him against the next contender, ring the bell, list the pros and cons, let them duke it out and eventually the champion with stand alone! LOL (ok, ok enough with the fight analogy).
Step 5: Implement the solution
Now is the time for action! To quote a couple of my mentors, Jason VanOrden and Jeremy Frandson from Internet Business Mastery, “Progress not perfection”!! Now take this champion idea that is the solution to your problem and attack your problem with vigor and zeal! Know that this is the path to growing your business, and that this is the path to prolific success!