So, I get a lot of ideas in the course of a day. I am sure, you do too.
Sidebar: Not exactly a marketing post, but marketers get a lot of ideas. This post is about my process of sorting ideas – How I keep the good, kill the bad and also how and when I implement them.
Every ideas feels like a “fantastic idea” when I first think about it. Which is why it’s an idea. It used to be overwhelming but I came up with a process to keep the best and kill the rest. Here’s what I do.
I wait for about two seconds after the idea comes to me and ask myself, is it still a good idea?
If no, I kill it.
Pursue good ideas relentlessly. Kill bad ideas ruthlessly. – Reid Hoffman (Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn)
If yes, I ask … how can I use it? Mind you, often times this answer is already embedded in the idea. But, still important to ask.
At this point I write the idea down so I don’t forget about it. If I happen to be driving, I have a recording app that I use to record ideas. I come back to it later in the day and transcribe the ideas on paper.
Next, I ask … how impactful is this idea? The answer is either high impact or low impact. There is no medium impact. That’s staying on the fence and I tell you this from experience – Fences are pointy and staying on them can hurt your behind.
Will this idea make a big difference in my ____ (business, life, family, work, etc.?) NOW or is it a good idea for a later time?
If now, the idea should be implemented now. If later, I write a tentative time or event of when the idea should be implemented. For example, starting a Facebook group would be a good idea after I get 1,000 likes. Or, monetizing a Facebook group is a good idea but should happen after I have 500 members in the group.
It’s that simple. I know, it seems like a lot of steps but once you do this a few times, it usually takes no more than 30-45 seconds to go through this process.
Here’s a real-life example of me sorting ideas
I am in the process of writing a book on Small Business Marketing. As I was driving, I thought of AMA (Ask Me Anything).
My idea: What if I do AMA days for Charity? People can ask me marketing questions all day long. I will answer them. Once I answer them, they put a dollar value on the answer and they can then donate that much amount to their favorite charity. I could do AMA for Charitable organizations like Red Cross, or I can do AMA for your local PTO.
I waited a few seconds and asked myself – Is this really a good idea, or a stupid one. I continued to think it was a good idea, but I cannot do it every day. So, I had to pick the slowest day of the week – usually Friday for me. Still a good idea, so I moved further.
How can I use this? Well, I can add other social media platforms and also send an email blast to all my subscribers offering to answer social media questions all day long.
Okay good. I better record this before I forget. I opened my app, recorded it and done.
How impactful is this? High impact.
Can I use this now or save it for later? I should use it right away because it will make a big difference by the time my book rolls out. I will have built tremendous amount of goodwill and brand equity. So, now’s the best time to implement it.
Do you see how simple it is to sort through an idea?
- First, figure out whether the idea is good or bad.
- Second, figure out if it’s high impact or low impact.
- And finally, figure out if you should use it now or later?
1, 2, 3 and you’re done.