Donny Deutsch’s book, The Big Idea: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First Million, has lots of great advice for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs. Deutsch’s CNBC show is no longer on the air, but it focused on the success stories of people who took their big idea and ran with it. Some of the big ideas they featured were brand new, out-of-nowhere inventions, while others were simple tweaks to existing products and processes that made them work better or do something new.
The underlying theme was that any of us can be innovators and have a big idea. In the book, Deutsch lists five qualities found in innovators:
Innovators ask, “How would I approach this business challenge if I had no preconceived notions of how it should be done?”
We all have ideas of how things are supposed to be done. You know, “It has always been done this way.” But what if you got rid of the notion of how things are supposed to be, and focused instead on what can be done when you throw out all the “shoulds.”
Innovators don’t care that it’s never been done.
If it has never been done before, that is because you haven’t done it. Innovators are not afraid to be the first to do something new.
Innovators don’t believe that it has already been done.
So what if there are five or 50 or 500 other products out there? There is always room for innovation. Put a twist on an existing product that gives it a new function or makes it appeal to a new market.
Innovators are champions of individuality.
They know that one size does not fit all. Your business does not have to be all things to all people. Find a niche that is not being served (or not being served well), give them what they want and you will succeed.
Innovators are disruptive.
Deutsch compares innovators to the little kid who relentlessly asks, “Why?” They are willing to question the status quo and do things in a new way.
Do you have the characteristics of an innovator? If you are not a natural innovator, you can learn to be one. Keep your eyes open for the products and services that are missing from your day. What would make your life better if it existed? How can the things you use be made to work better?
When you have your “A-ha!” moment, don’t let it stop there. Follow through and take action. Bring your innovation to life.