Stop Ideating Your Startup To Death

Many of us have had that boss or colleague before who is constantly thinking of new ideas, delegates looking into the idea to someone else or to themselves, and then drops the idea after looking into it because another new idea has caught their attention.

As an entrepreneur, you may have found yourself doing this as well — constantly ideating and brainstorming new ideas to push the business forward. It’s a habit you develop when you’re nervous that your startup isn’t growing fast enough, and you feel compelled to do something, anything right now with the hopes of it pushing your business to a new frontier. 

Ideas can be fantastic seeds that can lead to brave new paths, promising new growth trajectories, …or to nothing at all. In the context of startups, constant new ideas or ‘what if’ brainstorming can be an insane source of distraction if it’s never capped. 

If you think back on the times when a new idea led to a revenue-blasting change to your business within a span of a year, it would probably add up to less than 5. It’s often not a high quantity of new ideas that lead to a noticeable change in a business’ revenue growth, but a simple equation executed over a long period of time that leads to consistent, reliable growth.

We often already know what will and will not work for our business based off of daily observations we make of our products and/or customer actions. The systems and strategies that will ultimately work well for us are most likely already in play and just need some time to marinate and gain momentum. The trust you need in your business to exercise this patience, where you trust the snowball to actually roll, is what’s most challenging for any entrepreneur.

Sit Still And Do Nothing

New-idea-brainstorming-sessions are a smoke screen that help business owners feel like they’re being productive during times of inactivity or chaos. As action-oriented people who make things happen through their own volition, it’s really difficult to sit still and do nothing.

When a startup is constantly ideating and commit time to exploring every new idea, their attention is split in numerous paths, leading to a business where every department is running at its minimum capacity. Optimization is not present when a team’s time is split between numerous objectives. The less time that a team has to operate its existing systems means the less time they have to fine tune and optimize what works.

Startup culture romanticizes trying new things and failing fast, but doesn’t acknowledge the cap you need on trying new things so that the business doesn’t fail due to a lack of focus on what’s currently working.

The next time you’re inspired to call a brainstorming/ideation session, reflect on what pieces you currently have in play that’s working for your business. 

If your current pieces are working pretty well, I challenge you to sit still and do nothing.

Let your team do their job of maximizing and optimizing every single component of what’s currently working. It’s this patience that leads to growth, and not ideation death.

Strengthen and optimize your startup’s outputs. Grab my Pitch Deck Checklist or my ‘Find Your Customers’ worksheet to fine tune your pitch deck or marketing strategy. 

Sophia Sunwoo