THE  BUSINESS IDEAS THAT MAY NEVER GET DONE The backburner in and of itself is not a bad thing if it is intentionally created to capture all the good ideas flowing from a team of thinking and innovative individuals.  But how do you move from vision to reality?  Inertia and the status quo are often the most frequent barriers to decision making.  How do you increase velocity and get to status “done?” Using tools like voice memos, Pinterest and Evernote can help you capture and retain the lightbulbs that go off during meetings, in the shower or on long drives into the city.  If you record your idea at its inception, you can let it simmer on the backburner, let it become a reduction sauce of all the best ideas floating inside your head while you regularly sift out the less viable or utterly ridiculous ideas you came up with like marketing an international symbol for, “Hey, Buddy, your right blinker is still on after 3 miles.” Backburner projects can be, like building integrations for your software company

—things that are not perceived as actionable right now but could be someday in the future. Maybe it is an idea for adding value for a pivotal client account to increase your stickiness, but for which there is no budget yet. Or maybe it is something you intend to do in a particular project at an unforeseen time in the future. One of the greatest challenges for an idea guy or gal is overcoming the “it will never work” mentality found in just about every organization.  New ideas and good recycled ones, get ignored and dismissed -put on the backburner. Why? Well, often it is a matter of ego if the idea isn’t the brainchild of the executive’s inner sanctum it may not be given merit or be properly funded. How do you take something from the backburner and inch it forward to completion?  How do you get the resources allocated and the attention to change the perception of a backburner idea into a requirement for doing business? There are three very specific steps to take which will catapult your idea into a profitable and noticeable company darling.  Follow these steps and you will be your company’s hero. 1.        Make it a Project Any good idea is actually a project; a project with a concrete plan and defined tasks will garner the credibility a good idea needs to be fueled with the resources you need.  If you come to the table with just an idea, it won’t get done.  Why?  Maybe the idea falls outside of your traditional purview of the business so you’re thinking elevating awareness seems like the sensible contribution on your behalf. However, if you want the idea to have real teeth, you need to do one of two things.   Either give the idea away to someone else that can claim its ownership from the beginning, (this is not a bad idea if you are already the king or queen of amazing accomplishments and have 10 or 20 more great ideas you are managing right now).  Or, prepare a project plan. (See our project template to get you started on presenting your Golden Goose at the next team meeting). 2.    Quantify in dollars why your idea is a great one Money talks.  Get creative at quantifying the results in terms of indirect or incremental revenue or cash flow.  Will you keep more customers longer? Will every customer ultimately spend more? Are you increasing efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, market perception?  What do those things equate to in terms of dollars made or saved? 3.    Make it something your company cannot afford not to do Prepare the worst case scenarios and stories of a world without your idea.  How many employees will leave to work for companies that take the next step? How many customers will defect to competitors that offer this ability?  How many dollars will your company lose each day you wait to get started?  Now multiply to see the dollars over a month, quarter, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.  Can your company truly afford to risk not to respond and allocate the required resources?  Make sure the answer is a loud and confident no, to get to your executive team’s YES. Steve Cody, a weekly columnist for, wrote about the backburner precept back in 2008 on his blog RepMan.  In his observation, companies like Smith-Corona, PanAm, and the auto manufacturers out of Detroit all suffered from what he called the ossified thinking that kills businesses.  The best, most successful organizations encourage and challenge their employees to be innovative in their thinking.  Consider a company like Virgin Airlines that was imagined to go beyond an ordinary passenger transportation company, while other airlines withered and died on the vine. Change how you think about those backburner ideas, and change how your company and your customers do business. It might just be the key differentiator from the competition to close more deals, generate more business, and gain more marketshare. Happy thinking and happy selling! [button size='' style='' text='Learn More' icon='' icon_color='' link='' target='_self' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='']