Are You A Magpie, Too?
Free-spirited small business owners remind me of crows — magpies. They’re intelligent, quick, flexible, and, yeah, sometimes a little flighty. No judgment, I’m a magpie, too!
Both also share a love of sparkly things.
Tales often tell us of the magpie’s obsession with newfound gems. In Ireland, magpies steal the shiny stones placed atop gravestones to let spirits know their loved ones have visited.
Free spirits who own small businesses tend to be magpies. We collect shiny, bright business ideas, tucking them away in our brains and regularly bringing them out to turn them around and admire them. Often, one shimmering idea becomes the one all other thoughts are compared to, though she couldn’t tell you when or how that happened.
This one business idea has become your Favorite Idea.
Favorite Ideas motivate you and offer the possibility of a new direction and future success. Done right, Favorite Ideas can become your Best Business Idea.
But know this: Your Best Business Idea is NOT always your Favorite Idea.
And your Favorite Idea is too often a side effect of Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS).
What’s Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS)?
SOS is my made-up name for chasing new ideas instead of following through on the existing ones. And there’s research to back it up.
In a nutshell, your brain looks for ways to escape facing its fear of failure and imposter syndrome. It rewards you with a hit of dopamine (a feel-good chemical) when you have new ideas.
Your idea might be a brilliant idea, but ask yourself if it's a new direction you don’t HAVE to take right now.
What's Your Favorite Business Idea?
And is it your Best Business Idea?
Being able to tell the difference can make or break your success this year and into the future.
So take a moment, close your eyes, and call up your favorite business idea. It might be new, or maybe it’s been around since you started. Either way, one idea takes over when you think about your business.
Name it now and then ask yourself the following questions, keeping your Favorite Idea in mind.
Don't keep reading until you have a good grip on your Favorite Idea! Take your time.
Is it doable within the next 6-12 months?
Yeah, I want to move to Colombia and run this business as a non-profit for at-risk women….but um, but I don’t speak Spanish. Could I learn? Sure! Am I going to, starting today? No. It’s a dream goal, not a current one. (Annnnd now I have to go sign up for Duolingo Spanish! #oneday)
Is it appealing to YOUR perfect customer or someone else?
Those people might be similar, but their needs and pain points are different. If it’s a new avenue you’re exploring, that might be a new business, not your current one. Remember, Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) happens when your brain reaches for new ideas to avoid the fear of following through on your existing ones.
Does your Favorite Idea use your developed talents and skills?
Or, is it a new direction or something you’re still learning? Free-spirited entrepreneurs are ALWAYS exploring. [Read 9 Awesome Signs You're A Free-spirited Entrepreneur] But again, SOS. If the idea doesn’t use what you can talk about in your sleep, shelve it, just for now. You can always retrieve it when you’ve developed the core of your business and are ready to expand.
Is there a current market for it?
Meaning you’re solving a problem for people, not addressing a problem they don’t even know exists? Your solution can be something undiscovered, but the reason customers reach for your offering is to solve an immediate issue in their lives.
(The customer’s need could be I need flowers to bring a bit of beauty inside, but the underlying want is to feel more connected and grounded. Still, it has a definite problem and solution.)
Is it a solid core offer with an opportunity for future expansion?
Your Best Business Idea (BBI) is one that creates repeat business and referrals, along with growth opportunities. I might only need one of what you’re offering, but all my friends will need it, too. Or, once I have this perfect thing, I want the next step. Does your Favorite Idea offer this?
Your Best Business Idea Has Staying Power
Favorite Ideas often come and go.
To expand your business growth, profits, and productivity, you need free-spirited solutions to concrete problems.
Ask yourself if your Favorite Idea is:
- doable soon and appealing to your ideal customer.
- play to your strengths and skills, not relying on a new direction you’ve been exploring more recently
Make sure it’s not a Favorite Idea masquerading as a NEW business idea.
Lastly, is it a solid offering that can expand in the future? A one-time gardening seminar becomes a series of talks with an add-on subscription package to the plants discussed. Do you see how your Best Business Idea will constantly manifest itself in new ways?
Your Best Business Idea isn’t a boring one.
It’s just not as shiny and new as a Favorite One.
Remember you started this business for a reason — to turn your calling into a profitable and productive small business.
Revisiting your business plan (if you have one) and initial goals will often clue you into your Best Business Idea.
And chances are, you already have it.
Share Your Thoughts!
What do think about your BBI (Better Business Idea) vs. your FI (Favorite Idea)! I’d love to hear more. If you're struggling to figure it out, leave a comment and let's chat about it!