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The Value Of Your Idea

April 30, 2017
 
If you were to ask most people, they will tell you that in order to start a business you must have money. Well, that may be true but not entirely so. Look at it this way, what if you had the money but you didn’t know what business to start, would you still start a business? You can’t start something you don’t know now, would you? I guess not. 
 
The most important aspect of a business is the idea itself. If you have a concrete business idea, then the money will follow the idea. It will act as a magnetic force to investors. What you need first and foremost is an idea, then the rest will follow later. 
 
Unfortunately many people do not want to spend time thinking of business ideas. They just want to look at what the next door neighbor is doing and if it works, then they jump into the same kind of business, without even considering the various pros and cons of that business. I know this very well because I’ve been there done that and gotten badly burnt by my lack of prior thinking. I however learnt several lessons that have helped put me on the right track now. But in my defense, I was not trying to copy anyone’s idea. I just didn’t spend enough time thinking through the idea I wanted to take on. Lack of thinking brought me down to my knees where I stayed for quite a long time, and I can assure you I was not on my knees praying at that time. And I still feel the effects of this to date.
 
I’d like to share a short story with you about a man who was in a similar situation, and how he managed to get out of his situation without money. Here goes...
 
One businessman was in debt and couldn’t figure a way out of it. Creditors were pressing him. Suppliers were demanding for their payments. One day he was sitting on a bench in the park with his head down, thinking what could save the company from bankruptcy. Suddenly, an old man appeared in front of him and said to him, “I see that something is bothering you” he said. The businessman did not need a second prompting and so he poured his heart out to the old man. 
 
After listening to the businessman the old man said to him “I think I can help you”. He asked the businessman what his name was, wrote him a cheque and said, “Take this money. We will meet here exactly in one year, and you will be able to return it to me at that time”. After that, he turned around and disappeared just as suddenly as he had appeared. The businessman looked down at the cheque in his hands and realized it was for an amount of five hundred thousand dollars, signed by John Rockefeller, one of the richest people in the world at that time! Can you imagine that? Half a million dollars! 
 
“With this kind of money I could end all of my problems in no time!” He thought to himself. Instead, the businessman decided to put the cheque into his safe. Only one thought about its existence gave him strength to find a solution to save his business. With the return of his optimism, his mentality changed and he started closing profitable deals. 
 
Within a couple of months he got out of debt and started to earn money again.
 
Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the same cheque. At the agreed time the old man appeared again. And at the moment, when the businessman wanted to return the cheque and to share his story of success, a nurse ran up and grabbed the old man. “I’m so glad, I caught him!” She exclaimed. “I hope he wasn’t bothering you. He always runs away from the house and tells people he is John Rockefeller”. 
 
The businessman was bemused. During the whole year he was spinning and building a business, buying and selling, convinced that he had half a million dollars. And suddenly he understood that it’s not the money, real or imaginary, that turned his life up. It was his new confidence and belief that gave him strength to achieve everything that he had now.
 
Rockefeller or not, he had helped him see a truth that had been hidden from him for a long time.
 
This story may sound funny especially the part about the old man running around telling people he was John Rockefeller. But the truth is, it acts as a great revealer of the fact that most of us are mobile idea banks waiting to be tapped into. Most of us are sitting on ideas that could translate into multi-million dollars, but we are too engulfed in our current situations to even think it is possible for those ideas to work. We need some motivation in the right direction.
 
If we were to look at the above story, the businessman did not touch the cheque he was given (forget the fact that it may or may not have been a worthy cheque). All he needed was something to rekindle the spark inside of him and a new energy was birthed in him that caused him to generate ideas that made him bounce back again.
 
He had something to look up to. He had a goal in his mind. He had something to work for on a daily basis, and that was making sure he does not fail his appointment with Rockefeller after one year. While he was busy working to achieve that goal, he managed to sort out his debts and started making real money.
 
Friends, it is not money that makes people not start profit generating ventures. No. It is lack of a reason to start those businesses that causes them not to start them. If you have a strong reason to do something, then nothing will stop you from doing it. If you have a strong dream, a powerful goal to achieve, then you will take time to come up with income generating ideas, regardless of whether you have the money to push through with them or not. 
 
I tend to agree with whoever said that the harder he works, the luckier he becomes. This is to say that the more effort he puts in whatever he is doing, the more breakthroughs he gets. I also agree with whoever said that luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. If you have a properly outlined idea, the universe always has a way of bringing the right people to you so that your idea can take off. You might call it luck but I don’t. I call it the power of attraction. Your idea will attract all the resources it needs, but only if your idea is properly designed not only in your heart and mind, but also on paper.
 
Are you tired of living your life the way it is right now? Then take time to think of something that will help you get out of that quagmire. Like Earl Nightingale said, “everything begins with an idea”. As if to second this line of thinking, Napoleon Hill also said, “all achievements, all earned riches have their beginning in an idea”.
 
As we come to the end of April and begin the 5th month of the year I have a two questions for you: What ideas do you have today? What change can you bring to the world today if you decided to apply those ideas? 
 
The only reason you are stuck in a rut is because you have not yet applied them. Like John C. Maxwell said, “ideas have a short shelf-life. You must act on them before the expiration date”... and I add, before YOU expire.
 
May (pun intended) you go out and make your ideas happen this month of May.
 
PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 30th April, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".

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