How to Launch Your Big Idea

It’s important to dream big, and when you hit on the big idea that you want to run with, it’s even more important to think through how you want to launch.

Last week I talked about the importance of thinking through the Vision, Promise, and Pillars when planning your brand positioning. Equally important? Getting real with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities to pursue, and which resources you have versus which you need to acquire.

To start the process, here are three key questions to ask yourself:

1. What are my Core Strengths?

Getting real starts with recognizing what your core strengths are. For many experts, this will include skills like speaking, consulting, strategic planning, writing, or analysis—but likely not all of them. Launching your big idea is not the ideal time to learn new skills. Instead, it’s the time to focus on doing what you do best, and surround yourself with people and resources to fill in the gaps.

If you have not done this kind of self-analysis, start by looking at what roles you enjoy most, what your main revenue channels are, and what people around you routinely ask for your help with. Also consider what kind of work gets you excited—launching a big idea is a long-term commitment and it’s important to love what you do!

Getting real with yourself and your team about where your strengths are and where you need help BEFORE ramping up for launch will save a lot of time, money, and frustration in the long run, and go a long way toward setting you up for success.

2. Which Opportunities should I pursue?

If you’re at the stage where you are considering launching a big idea, it’s likely that you have a network, colleagues, and clients, and potentially you have developed a strong following. Whatever the size of your network, there will be an array of viable opportunities to help get your big idea out there and grow your brand. For example, you may get offers to speak to different groups, write for blogs, or partner with other experts. It’s important to evaluate which opportunities will help you reach your target audience, and which will sap your energy and steal your time. It’s equally important to admit that you can’t do everything yourself.

Getting real while planning the launch of your big idea will help give your plan edges, and there is strength in focus. I like to say that there is a lot that you CAN do, but the real work is to deduce what you SHOULD do. As both Warren Buffet and Marissa Mayer suggest, the idea or project to which you commit all of your time, energy and resources must be your best idea or project.

3. What Resources do I have?

Last but certainly not least: in order to refine your brand in an honest and reasonable way, you must evaluate what resources you have to work with. This includes your team, your funding, and your time.

Even for an expert, it may be necessary to seek out a mentor, if launching your big idea means stepping far outside of what you already know. If you own or manage a business, well in advance of trying to launch your big idea is the time to examine your team to make sure you have people on staff or under contract who complement your strengths.

Finally, where are you currently putting your time and energy? How much of that time and energy will need to be redirected to set yourself up for success with the launch of your big idea?

With over 600,000 new businesses launched each year and thousands of experts and trainers speaking to conferences and companies every quarter, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. What can help you become a shining star instead of getting lost in the fray? The answer is great branding.

When you’re ready to put in the work to start building a platform and brand around that “big idea,” there are some key questions that will help you build the foundation from day one. Doing the work to ask the right questions, do your research, and think through your approach will help you be more effective, save time, and be on-message from the beginning.

1. Vision: One cornerstone question for this process is to ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in 3 years?” This is a big question, but understanding what you are building toward is critical. Think specifically about what type of work you want to be doing, what clients you want to be partnering with, and what direction you want to grow toward. Don’t be afraid to outline your ideal scenario - this is not the time to edit in your head or discourage yourself before you start. This is the time to get clear on what you want in the context of building your expert brand.

2. Purpose: What is driving you towards this vision? Once you have thought about the end goal, it’s important to dig into the reasons behind why you want to get there and understand both your motivation and what is most important. Is it financial success, spreading your message, or building your network? While all of these and more are likely important for anyone with a big idea, deciding which is the top priority to focus on first will help organize how you spend your time, resources, and energy. Figuring out the most important why will give you a clear measure of success.

3. Pillars: As you think through the vision and purpose behind your brand, typically some key themes emerge. We think of these themes as pillars that hold up your brand as it grows. They can also act as valuable filters to help prioritize early efforts and keep messaging on target. Another valuable thought-exercise is to think through the difference between the pillars you see holding up your current branding efforts versus your vision for the future of your brand. What are you already doing to move towards this vision and what resources are available to you? This will help you determine a viable direction for your brand and what might need to change in order to get you there.

Defining your vision, purpose and pillars are just the beginning to building your compelling brand. Join us next week as we discuss how to get real with yourself and explore the next steps to launching your big idea!

Learning how to get real with yourself is essential to building your brand in both a compelling and viable way. Join us next week for a video about branding and the webinar.