"Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted."
-Kurt Vonnegut, one of eight rules he calls Creative Writing 101 in the introduction of Bagombo Snuff Box.
Good ideas can capture the attention of almost any audience. This is a pleasant advantage enjoyed by thoughtful entrepreneurs who find ideas easy to come by.
Here in the Get Started Workspace, we typically encounter early-stage, first-time entrepreneurs with months’ or years’ worth of ideas around a core concept that's driving their ambition to start a new venture. An original thought may start as a simple “wouldn’t it be nice if…” or “I wish there were a better way to…” statement.
Creative minds take quick action to develop solutions to these problems. You begin talking to friends, family and coworkers as willing (or reluctantly willing) sounding boards over coffee, lunch or drinks. The original idea multiplies into tens or hundreds of small ideas. Some relate to the product, but many others depict a brand, marketing strategy, business philosophy or business model. In your mind, you become perfectly fluent in the concept and build a comprehensive picture of the company in all its future glory.
But what good is this vision if it lives only in your mind? Will you get frustrated by a newcomer’s perspective who has only briefly considered the solution in which you’re absolutely fluent? Will you find it impossible to tolerate the simpletons across the table who “just aren’t getting it”?
Maybe they really don't get it. Or maybe you're simply failing to convey the opportunity in a way they can readily understand. You’d be silly not to consider this risk, because rational people buy what they understand. Investors invest in what they understand. Employees want to work for companies they understand.
For new entrepreneurs, the real challenges arrive the moment you decide to get started with building a company around an innovative concept.
With this single decision, you lose a distinctive personal freedom described by writer David Foster Wallace as: “the freedom to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation.” In other words, you must get out of your own head. You must open the doors of your castle and invite people to join your startup kingdom so that you may together conquer the evil forces plaguing defenseless customers.
They will not join you willingly at first. You must convince people by telling them a story they can believe, which is no easy task. Turning the vision of your idea, product and company into a compelling story is a skill that takes discipline and tenacity to acquire.
Just know you don't have to be a genius to tell an effective story. The greatest American storyteller, Mark Twain, said it best: "My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water."
Need help? This is our sweet spot. We work with Get Started member companies to build their stories every day. Apply to Get Started or give us a call to learn more.