A friend told me about this new store that combines two of our favorite things. It's a coffee shop and it has 400+ board games that you can play. They even have employees that can recommend new games or demo games for you! What a great idea! But of course shortly after telling me this he says, “too bad I won't be able to do that”.
I've never understood this mentality and it seems so prevalent. Right after coming up with an idea the first thing people tend to do is shoot holes in it. What's the point in that? If you do that you'll never change anything or do anything new… ever.
Since we're still near the beginning of the year let's add this to our resolutions for the year to not shoot down an idea immediately. You can certainly think of the challenges ahead but most challenges can be broken down into easy & simple steps with a plan.
Plan it Out
I get it. Sometimes tasks (like opening a board game / coffee shop ) seem really complex with a ton of hurdles to overcome just to get started. And this is how I feel before starting a new programming project. One of the best parts of working on the web is being constantly overwhelmed. Oh yes – that's an advantage. We have to learn how to juggle a dozen different projects at one all of which have impossible requirements. It forces us to learn good project management and communication skills.
Use those skills! Break the project down into pieces – it isn't nearly so daunting that way. With our board game / coffee shop example how many pieces is it really? It probably looks something like this:
- Create business goals
- Raise capital
- Open a business
- Find a location
- Create a menu / inventory
- Get approval to sell food & drink
- Hire staff
Yes – each of those can be a lot of work – but are they impossible? Not at all.
MVP is a term you hear all the time in the startup world and it means Minimum Viable Product. If you want to open a board game / coffee shop store start by renting out a whole building and handing part of that responsibility off. Rent 1/2 of your space to a coffee shop or board game store and you take the other half. Now you have 1/2 of the responsibility and if you ever want to expand into the other business you can do so by opening a new location or taking over the 1/2 when the lease is up.
The point here is that you don't have to have everything ready day 1. You can build and grow your idea in stages.
Ideas Can Change
Nothing is perfect and ideas are rarely good when they're raw. Ideas are really a work in progress. Look at agile programming and take the principles from it. When something doesn't work pivot. Change the direction of something and try out new strategies / business models. If someone else has an idea you can probably refine that idea and build on it.
So the next time you have an idea for a board game / coffee shop, a squid ink / brick store, or a comedy club / jungle gym don't shoot it down right away! Play with it a bit and see where it goes. Break it down into manageable steps.
And for some inspiration here's the board game / coffee shop: