Inspiration and perspiration a dynamic duo

William Tiefenback

American inventor Thomas Edison coined the phrase “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 perspiration.” I’m not sure the percentages are always the same, but Edison stated an undeniable principle: Nothing happens without a good idea and a lot of hard work.

There are some very good idea people and there are a lot of hard-working people in this world. By themselves, this is nothing unusual. Combining these two virtues is what makes magic happen.

To take an idea and turn it into a successful business venture is no easy task. Many factors contribute to successful endeavors, among them appeal,  character, competence, demand and timing.

For starters, it’s important to clearly define a business idea and determine whether or not it can be packaged and delivered in some way. Keep in mind that a product or service is more than an item — it’s a solution to some human need. How will it improve someone’s life? Will it add value in some way? How does a product or service make others feel?

Consider, too, the who and what of a market for a business. Exactly who are potential customers? What do they do with their time? What are they interested in? Where do they hang out? With this kind of information, an entrepreneur becomes empowered to form a sound strategy as to how to connect with potential customers, to let them know a venture offers what they need or want and is the right business to provide it. The better an entrepreneur knows his or her customers, the better that entrepreneur will be able to know how to approach them, advertise to them and engage them.

So how do entrepreneurs prosper from the dynamic duo of inspiration and perspiration? How do they move forward in a productive way. Consider the four points presented in the acronym GAIN:

Goals: Set specific, measurable and practical goals. Write them down on a piece of paper in as much detail as possible. Entrepreneurs should think about what they want to achieve and why as well as how others will benefit. Give some thought, too, about the costs of not getting the job done.

Action: Determine what specific actions are required to achieve goals. What steps are needed and in what order or priority? What resources are available and what must be acquired? Here, a word of caution is in order. Do a good job, but resist making the job more difficult than it needs to be. Check the to-do list for redundancies.

Inspiration: What are the inspirational elements of the  project? Write them down and always keep them in front of the team. What are the compelling things about the objectives? When obstacles arise, this will provide the motivation to press on as well and overcome the urge to quit.

Network: Build a network of support that includes friends, co-workers and other stakeholders to draw upon when problems arise.

Remember, too, that humans are masterful at sabotaging themselves. Take some time to do some mental housekeeping. Is there any “stinking thinking” which which to deal? Incorrect beliefs about projects and themselves often rob entrepreneurs of the ability to do what they can do. Avoid looking at work through rose-colored glasses, but also question beliefs that can limit success. What is really true about this issue? Is there a better or more empowering way to look at an issue? Knowledge trumps fear. Those who take the time to proactively deal with these things can do anything that is good that they want to do.

Be a doer: Know what you want to do and take action now. Those follow this course will prosper.

William Tiefenback is a small business growth strategist and growth coach in Grand Junction. Reach him through the Web site