4 Obstacles a Visionary Must Overcome
Rich Greer, MBA, CFB
4 Obstacles a Visionary Must Overcome
To the entrepreneur, a revolutionary idea is one of the most energizing things on the planet. A truly disruptive concept invigorates like an arc-reactor in the chest of the dreamer, causing purpose and potential to course throughout one’s very core!
Thing is, if the idea really is a game-changer, it’s going to involve people changing how they currently do things. This will inevitably produce speed bumps, throw nails in your tires, and from time to time will bring your vision to a crashing halt – all of which can quickly lead to burnout.
I would liken building a startup to a new year’s resolution to workout. Everyone says they’re going to hit the gym and transform their image and life, but guess what? Very few possess the fortitude and perseverance to follow through. Startups are no different. This is why very few make it past their first raise, less make it through their second, and far less make it to a third.
So you’ve got a dream to build a unicorn? Awesome! Get your head even keel, friend. Bumpy roads ahead. These are four obstacles every visionary must overcome.
1. Someone Else Already Thought of Your Concept
We’re such prideful creatures, passionate to create something authentic and unique. When your golden idea hits and the light of epiphany shines bright over your horizon, the thought that someone else has seen that same light doesn’t cross your mind. This introduces one of the first obstacles for a visionary. What happens when you find out someone else already thought of your great idea?
Maybe your pride takes a hit. You might jump to discredit this idea you just held as genius. “Guess my idea is not as revolutionary as I thought,” you tell yourself.
Fun fact: Do you know what NC license plates say? “First in Flight,” in reference to the Wright Brothers revolutionary first man-powered aircraft journey. Well, they actually weren’t first in flight. There’s a very legitimate case that Gustave Whitehead achieved powered flight over two years before the Wright Brothers! But no one remembers Gustave or his ideas.
If you think someone else pursuing your idea means you can’t do it better, either quit or grit your teeth. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who thought it up. Life is a fight. You fight for your idea, you take that emotional pity party of feeling less authentic because someone else had a similar idea, and you turn it into a competitive fire.
2. The Technology Doesn’t Exist
You’re a creative thinker. You conjured this whole idea out of nothing, and now you’re being told “no.” But, but… This introduces a second obstacle to the visionary. What happens when the technology doesn’t exist?
Sweet! What kind of visionary would you be if you were connecting dots that we’re right beside each other? Enter the problem solver.
The person who takes something entirely too complex, something never done before, and creates a simple solution. That’s a problem solver. That’s a visionary.
Richard Branson is 100% correct when he says, “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.”
Using Uber is simple. Systematically disassembling the cab industry is complex. Don’t let what something isn’t keep you from creating what you believe it could be.
3. Your Initial Audience Doesn’t Always Hold the Buying Power
How the heck does Nike get parents to drop $200 dollars on a pair of sneakers for their kid? 12-year-old Billy doesn’t have money to drop on new Jordan’s, but there he is rockin’ ‘em on the first day of school!
It’s not unusual for a product to be purchased by one demographic for use by another, but it can complicate the message of a brand. Obviously, Nike has more to it than, “Hey Mom and Dad, I noticed you might need to save away for retirement or pay more on your mortgage, but you should buy Billy these fly kicks instead. ‘Just do it.’” They’ve gone the superhero route, endorsing star athletes and role models for kids playing any sport.
We can’t all be Nike. In fact, a lot of times, what connects us to our audience doesn’t sell the Decision Makers we have to target. Hello, third obstacle to the visionary! Your initial target audience won’t always hold the buying power.
Targeting a market is difficult! It doesn’t matter who you’re selling to or what you’re dishing out. As a B2B company, Text Request had to dramatically pivot it’s value proposition from the consumer benefit to the business’s bottom line. As consumers ourselves, we built a tool focused on the benefit of the consumer first. Our branding reflected that message, and we ultimately missed the mark with DMs in our space early on.
Today, we market to potential buyers a product that is desired and demanded by consumers, that buyers will also profit from. There’s a huge takeaway, here. This idea you’ve drummed out of nothing already exists, and the space it exists in has data and research. R&D is real, and a bit of market research can help sidestep a lot of unnecessary hurdles.
4. You’re Behind in Your Industry
The grass is always greener on the other side. I’m blown away by how easy it is to day-dream about others enjoying success. The thought process is in and of itself toxic, and should be avoided at all costs. But it happens.
Keeping up with your competition is a necessary evil that can lead to all kinds of wrong mindsets. First, you had to accept that your idea isn’t authentic, and now, not only are you not alone, but you’re behind. Why take the pay cuts, long hours, exorbitant amounts of stress, and constant uncertainty all to be second rate? Enter the fourth obstacle to the visionary. You’re behind in your own industry!
Big whoop! You know who was behind in their industry? Netflix. In fact, CEO Reed Hastings, was so behind he went to Blockbuster in 2000, hoping to sell with an asking price of $50 million (650 times less than their currentvaluation). When Blockbuster laughed the offer off the table, Hastings put his head down and went to work. Today, Netflix is worth $33 billion. Blockbuster? Well, I hear they might have 50 locations left in the entire county.
Don’t ever lose heart when you’re behind. Know where it is you want go and work towards that.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this! I hope you found it encouraging, refreshing, or at least not the lamest thing you’ve read, today (if so, you should share this on Facebook). I wanted to angle this piece so that these obstacles, which you’ll most likely face, can be seen as more opportunities for you to crush. Now go crush it.
Rich Greer is “Your Guide Through the Franchise Maze“. I have a lot of experience in helping people succeed with finding the best franchise and I am excited to help you do that as well. I also have available several financing vehicles for your business start-up. I’m looking forward to creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Please call me today for more information – 281- 992-2288. My email address is [email protected]
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