The power of a new idea can take you and your business to new levels. It seems that as soon as an idea sparks, it sets a fire of momentum through out your business to not only inspire people but to make your business seem innovative. It’s great, but it can lead to a potential crash that can shake you and your business to its foundation. Don't Panic! It is not as doom and gloom as you may think. I have fallen prey to the excitement of a new idea and pushed to far. Too often we push so hard on an idea that we forget the perspective we need to have in order to make accurate and informed decisions. Essentially, you do not want to be making business decisions with new idea goggles.
Make Sure To Dream Big
I thought you said not to go too far?
Dreaming big has nothing to do with going too far. I often encourage my clients to go further what they think is possible, hell, sometimes I force them to go beyond when they do not even realize it. Dreaming big can inspire you to discover new features, ways to expand your audience, ways to satisfy your current audience, and even ways to generate more profit. Dreaming is good, but there needs to be some bounds on your dreaming. When first conceptualizing your idea, you need to let the creative juices flow. However, set a time limit on that dreaming. I usually limit my clients between one to three days depending on the size of the idea and project. This allows them the ability to get all that excitement down on paper so that they can have a reference for moving forward.
After dreaming big you need to do a reality check on what ideas you came up with during your dreaming big session. I advise my clients to start working backwards from their big picture ideas. You need to get to the foundation of the product in order to know where to start building. I like to challenge clients by asking them every step of the way if that feature requires something else to happen first; If they answer yes, they haven’t found their foundation yet. Take for example: lets say you want a feature that your users should be able to make a social media post, in order for a user to make a post they actually need to be a registered user. Thus, you have to step backwards more and highlight the user registering as a starting point. One might find that process to be very cumbersome, but it often yields multiple paths of execution for your idea as well as helping you establish a realistic perspective.
So, dream big, but limit your self so that you can actually execute on your idea rather than constantly dreaming and never getting anywhere.
One of the biggest problems I often see is that after the dreaming phase most clients do not do any feature trimming. It may seem important to give your product as many features as possible in order to achieve more and capture more of the your audience. However, this is exactly what causes feature shock. Feature shock is essentially that moment when a new user comes to your product and they are immediately turned off by the fact that there is too much to learn or their is too much that can be done. Your audience has to be able to quickly adopt your product or at least be already familiar with the product that you are offering. If you start your product with all the features you dreamed about, you will not only feature shock your audience, but also you limit your room for expansion and improvement. Most audiences have an appreciation for small changes and updates as it shows the product is ever adapting to the needs of the audience. A stagnated, feature bloated product can essentially set you up for failure before you even get started.
So how do you prevent feature shock? Well, that answer can encompass many touch points, but there is a very simple starting point to prevent feature shock. You need to ask yourself one thing, what is the one thing that I want my audience to be able to do if they could do nothing else in my product? That answer will give you your MVP (most viable product). A MVP is essentially the core that makes your product valuable to your audience. You want to use your MVP to introduce your audience to your product. This allows your audience to not only to become aquatinted with your product at an introductory level, but to also allow you to receive feed back before you invest too much time into features that may not be desired by your audience. In short, build the starting point and let your dreams and your audience needs fuel the changes and updates to your product.
The big picture here is not to hinder your creativity and dreaming, but to structure it so that you can have an impact on your product. Dreaming big is essential to giving you guidance and an end goal for your product, just do not get too lost in it. Take the time and steps necessary to prevent feature shock, you do not want to intimidate your audience with your product before it has a chance to succeed. Either way, as long as you stay aware of your product and realistic limitations and outcomes you will hardly ever suffer from doing too much too fast.