Are you crazy or just a visionary?

The word “visionary” is overused. It seems that everyone promoting an idea likes to be thought of as a visionary. The problem is that most of the ideas, or visionary revelations, are not practical in today’s world. Here is a good article on the subject: Historians versus Futurists – Who is More Valuable?

When you are starting a business, don’t reach too far in the future. Back in the dot-com era, a lot of great ideas failed because the technology and customer acceptance just was not there yet.

When you are creating a breakthrough product, you run the risk of spending a LOT of money to create it plus a LOT of money trying to get people to understand why they should buy your product, and the result is very little business. Early adopters are not a good market to go after if you are just starting a company.

That said, there is no reason why you should ignore your visionary insights – just reserve them for after you are making money. It is amazing how small improvements can produce significant revenues. Rather than going after a moon-shot idea, try working on gradual steps to the moon, starting with an improved tweak to something already in use. Once you are making money from that, take another small step.

The secret to building a business is providing the customer with what the customer wants to buy – not dictating to the customer what s/he should want.

As a business owner, when you come up with a revolutionary idea, you must have the staying-power to incite the revolution and wait the long years until it happens. However, by the time the revolution happens, the world has changed and your idea may not be the best choice. It may be out-of-date with current thinking.

That is why taking small steps that improve on the problems you have identified are a better course of action. Each small step closely pertains to current developments in your industry and to customer thinking and buying habits. Keeping your overall vision in mind, you may find that when you are ready to implement it, there are big changes you need to make because the world has changed along the way.

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