The simple act of writing, sharing and talking about your idea is the magic of the launch. This may seem trivial or “too easy” but until you’ve done these steps you won’t know what you’ve accomplished.
By Sumaya Kazi (Founder & CEO, Sumazi)
I’ve been fortunate to have founded two companies. My first, a media publishing company dedicated to young professionals, won me the recognition by BusinessWeek Magazine as one of “America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.” My second and current startup, Sumazi, was recognized by the Omidyar Network as the “Startup Most Likely to Change the World,” among other accolades.
Both ideas were launched in fewer than five minutes.
To be clear, there’s a very big difference between launching an idea and launching a startup. But I find the first five minutes is infinitely more difficult than the latter, and here’s why: the hardest part is not the dreaming up of the idea. The hardest part is the acting, the doing something about the idea. More often than not, I find that people sit on great ideas and don’t know how to get started. Here’s what I did to launch my ideas:
Step 1: Get it out of your head
What you’ll need: Napkin, pen and two minutes.
Take action: Draw (or write) your idea, a few things you think you’ll need (regardless of if you know for sure or not) and what you think success would look like if you could achieve it.
What you’ve accomplished: Your idea is no longer in your head. It’s physical, written down, and was thought about out loud. If you’re truly excited about your idea, your napkin will most likely get filled up with more and more notes.
Step 2: Cultivate accountability
What you’ll need: Computer, email addresses of at least 10 close people in your network, guts and two minutes.
Take action: Send an email to 10 of the closest people in your network that asks for their thoughts on your idea. Be sure to include siblings, parents, roommates, close friends and mentors. You do not need to send them a business plan or anything formal. Keep the email short, in your own words and positive.
What you’ve accomplished: You’ve told the world (at least the people who matter to you most) and you now have some level of accountability. They now know you have an idea and will most likely ask you questions, give you advice and criticism — all of which are necessary to accelerate momentum around your idea.
Step 3: Create a support network
What you’ll need: Phone, the phone number for the person who can be your biggest supporter and one minute (but maybe more depending on who you call).
Take action: Call someone who’s a valuable member of your support network and let her/him know you have an idea you are going to be working on. Some people may end up being in both your accountability and support networks. Be strategic about who you reach out to for what role. Calling my mom was probably the hardest part in all of this. Luckily, I had her support early on, and she continues to follow up on the idea every time we catch up on the phone.
What you’ve accomplished by doing this and the steps above: The simple act of writing, sharing and talking about your idea is the magic of the launch. This may seem trivial or “too easy” but until you’ve done these steps you won’t know what you’ve accomplished.
These three steps helps you put your ideas in motion. It’s that motion that is literally the life force of any startup — big or small.
If you’re interested in having a stranger (me) be included in your email in Step 2, add me to your idea launch list: firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck with your launch!
Sumaya Kazi will be speaking at the 2012 Bay Area Pipeline Fellowship Conference.
This post was originally posted at Pipeline Fellowship’s blog.
About the guest blogger: Sumaya Kazi is the Founder and CEO of Sumazi, an intelligent recommendation engine and network that connects you to a powerful global network of people you don’t know but should. Previously, Sumaya served as a Senior Social Media Manager at Sun Microsystems. While at Sun, Sumaya founded The CulturalConnect. Follow her on Twitter at @sumaya.