What if I told you the perfect idea is a myth? We all know what the myth looks like – it’s this moment of inspiration where it’s so obvious that the world will love your idea for the Double Decker Couch. You rush downstairs in your PJs and begin a montage scene going from blueprint to big sale to furniture tycoon by the time the theme song is over.
Perfect ideas don’t exist because—until you put them into the real world—they’re just concepts. In the real world your idea will get beat up a thousand times until it barely resembles whatever is in your head right now.
We get caught up in the notion that if the idea in our head doesn’t check all the right boxes, then there must be a good reason to hold back. This leads us to the worst place—because actually getting started is what leads you to the right variation of your idea—not the mental exercise of just thinking about it.
A common misconception that many believe is that ideas are complete from the outset. Like, when it dawned on you that just one level of a couch isn’t enough and everyone needs two. So, you go to market, and everyone loves it—and then you start making rap video money.
The painful truth is that ideas require lots of iterations. At best, all you’re going to start with today is the first iteration. You’re going to improve and modify the product so many times that by the time it becomes the “perfect product”—it will barely resemble what you have in your mind now.
Think of your idea right now as a starting point. That’s it. Use it to get the ball rolling and worry less about how close to that idea you wind up so long as you’re getting closer to a product people love.
Just because your idea doesn’t seem novel enough doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea. Most great ideas are simply iterations of an earlier idea. It’s not novelty that wins, it’s how you execute on the version you care about.
While we tend to get enamored with perfect ideas that are totally original—the truth is that there are so many good ideas out there, dying to be improved upon. This includes your own.
The more time you spend chasing the “perfect idea” the less time you spend refining the idea until it really is perfect. Think of your idea as simply a seed.
Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes Bizplan, Clarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.