How long will it take for you to get your new business idea off the ground?

3_1The founder of Liquid Paper, Bette Graham, came up with an idea while watching painters decorate Christmas Windows at the bank where she was a secretary. She came up with a way to correct typing errors but had to work five years while sending her product from home. She mixed up different colour paints with a kitchen blender until she was able to come up with a suitable product which essentially was correction fluid. After being fired by her boss because of the mistake she couldn’t correct, she started out full-time and grew her business into a large company. Continue reading “How long will it take for you to get your new business idea off the ground?”

How do you find more time to work on your new business idea?

(Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)
(Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

An art student asked a master teacher how she could find more time to work on her art because she works full-time and supports a family. When she does have time, she doesn’t have any energy left. Should she just put aside her love of art and wait until the kids are older when things are not so time intensive.

The master artist said to her that the mistake is to look for more time rather than look for motive. It would be better for her to look for compelling reasons to develop her art. But this implied that she needed to be honest with herself and determine what she really wanted from art. It was time to throw off the “genteel answers”. Did she want to sell her artwork in a gallery? Did she want recognition from friends and family? Was her motive to be independent and not tied to full-time employment? Was it to count for something? Continue reading “How do you find more time to work on your new business idea?”

Mexican blasted on Second Avenue

The Mexican... gone but not forgotten. Photo credit: Kevin Sutherland, Times Explorer
The Mexican… gone but not forgotten. Photo credit: Kevin Sutherland, Times Explorer

At 11 o’clock in the night we searched for the Mexican in the dark. We just didn’t seem able to find the Mexican. After driving around the block twice, I called my friend to tell him that we couldn’t find the Mexican.

That’s when he gave the secret away. After dinner at the Bella Casa, we decided to go to the Mexican restaurant in Westdene in Bloemfontein. The general idea was to have an evening closer whiskey (I wasn’t driving). I was particularly looking forward to seeing Steve the Scottish owner of the Mexican and tasting one of his top recommendations, Singletons whiskey. Continue reading “Mexican blasted on Second Avenue”

Finding time to create #2 The secret of 10 minutes focused attention

Starting up again (3 of 4)
Image by Unhindered by Talent via Flickr

Under pressure, time never seems to be on one’s side. You have many projects to complete but they all seem to merge into an endless torrent of deadlines, one after the other. Work piles up. One of your projects you have given little time to. You just can’t seem to get around to sitting down and getting to grips with it.

You finally decide you will spend just 10 minutes on it. You sit down with your file, your notes, calculator, pad and pen and think through what you are going to do. Suddenly, you have the solution. Ideas come to you and you become interested about completing the project. You make a list of people to call, tasks to complete, resources you will need and a workflow plan.

You are surprised how quickly you sorted things out after just not being able to get around to kick-starting your project. It only took 10 minutes and you were thinking that it would take you hours.

What’s going on here? Why did tackling this project seem like such a mountain to climb? What lessons does it hold for creativity, ideation and innovation?

Under stress it is hard to bring ourselves around to work on projects that we may believe only offer us marginal prospects for gain. How do we know that these projects we have placed low on our priority list have low value until we examine their potential and possibilities? We often tend to put these projects on the backburner because we just have too much to handle. We don’t recognise that money likes fast action when it flows and we can’t let things wait for weeks or longer.

Another thing is that we try to do some of the thinking about a delayed project in our heads. That’s fine up to a point but the result is that we can become overwhelmed carrying all the details in our brain. It’s much easier to sit down relaxed with a piece of paper or an electronic screen and put down all our thoughts where they are easy to see. The whole project becomes more manageable.

The other important insight is that with a white-hot focus we can block distractions and concentrate our minds and imagination on one project, giving it our full attention. Our mind can process information so quickly in this way that it seems unbelievable.

Brief periods of concentrated attention can help you speed up and complete projects at a rate you may have previously thought impossible. A timer (on your cell phone) or a kitchen timer — but without the distracting ticking sound — helps you block out well defined time periods of, say, 10 minutes to work on important projects. It is not necessary to complete the phase of your project in 10 minutes. If you haven’t completed what you set out to do in 10 minutes, start another 10-minute session — and another, if necessary. The main point is to focus your mind with a laser-sharp intensity so that you can give your full attention to the task at hand.

Concentrated periods of 10 minutes or more may seem artificial, even contrived. But when you try them out, you will find that your ideas flow more rapidly. Ideas you never thought of may well rise to the surface of your conscious mind. You will also be simply amazed at how fast your mind can really work and the outstanding results that you are able to produce when you coax your mind into working for you.

Idea Prompt

As a brief exercise, time yourself for two minutes and think about all the main elements that you will require for a project. Next, write down the tasks on a mind map (or on a program such as PersonalBrain), cluster map or simply use a list – whatever works best for you — in two minutes. Think again about your list of items without looking at your map or list, going through the items in your mind for two minutes. Do new items crop up? After the two minutes, place them on your map or list. (You may find ideas popping into your mind the next day — add them to your map or list.) Review what you have achieved in eight minutes. If you haven’t done this exercise yet, do it now and see how incredibly well it works. Should it not work the first time, try again on another project.

Enhanced by Zemanta