Big-money ideas are almost always new and different. As such, they are often only vaguely articulated, and therefore difficult to implement in a methodical way.
You need a plan that includes specific objectives you’ve already identified… along with deadlines and designees. Above all, you need persistence. Because, despite whatever plan you devise, there will be switchbacks and obstacles along the way.
Here’s what I do:
Step #1 – Start with a short — but relatively complete — statement of your objective
I like to begin with a one-page statement that explains the big idea and identifies the business objective (i.e., bringing in 10,000 new customers). I include some time reference (i.e., in the next 90 days), the particular strategy (i.e., through a pay-per-click marketing campaign), a budget (i.e., to not exceed $50,000 in total costs), and finally, the customer-value objective (i.e., to introduce customers to our expanded product line).
Step #2 – Revise the statement after getting feedback
The next step is to distribute that one-page document to all possible participants… as well as to any trusted advisors. The goal is to solicit comments. After comments, create a second draft. That will become the working plan.
Step #3 – Follow up with a timetable of specific tasks
Next, sit down with a few key people and figure out what specific tasks have to be completed to get the job done. This can first be done with a simple list. But afterward, that list needs to be integrated into a workflow document that shows a deadline for each specific task.
Step #4 – Identify responsible taskmasters
The next step is to identify who among the group is willing and able to head up each individual task. Willingness is an important part of this process. Unless you get active commitment from each taskmaster, the process can break down quickly and—in some cases—permanently.
Step #5 – Manage the process
At this point, you might think that the process will pretty much manage itself. After all, the tasks have been identified and there are responsible people in place who have agreed to see that these tasks are done well and on time. But you should assume that they will all fail at some point. What I like to do is mark my calendar with the deadlines—actually, a few days before the deadlines—and then call the taskmaster to make sure things are going as planned.
Step #6 – Be prepared to make adjustments
Big ideas are never easy, and implementing them is never a straightforward process. Expect problems and obstacles, and make adjustments as they arise. In some cases, you may have to change certain deadlines. Knowing (and communicating) this beforehand will reduce stress for everyone.
Step #7 – Celebrate and reward
The completion of a big-money idea is a cause for celebration. Don’t forget to celebrate. It signals to the group that they have done something important, something that has value both to the business and to its customers. And don’t think for a moment that a simple office party is sufficient. If the idea is big enough, be sure to reward the key players by thanking them personally and, where appropriate, financially.
A final tip: Big-, quick-, long-money ideas require your best efforts. To make sure that you and your team give them your full attention, you have to schedule your time in a way that takes advantage of your most productive hours. (I have my own system for doing that, which I explain in The Pledge.)
Studies show that most people are at their maximum productivity two hours after they wake up. But they usually spend those hours drinking coffee and answering email. (And email is almost always low-priority stuff.)
By developing the habit of spending the two most productive hours of your day on your top-priority ideas, you will easily overcome the obstacles that make these ideas so challenging. And before you know it, you will have put into action many outstanding ideas that will continue to make you richer and your customers happier.