How long do you let an idea sit on a piece of paper, whiteboard, or some kind of vision or dream board without actively engaging with it?
There have been some stimulating discussions in the community this week, about how to execute our ideas and how to turn them into a product, business or patent.
As the video introduction of Academy member Tori West shows, her great idea is to build an international and luxury tea brand, but she is now eager to dive into the details of how to give the idea some real utility. Here is her video.
For me, the video addresses two key questions: What are you going to do? Why are you doing this?
As the SMART goal setting goes here in the Academy, when you want to build an initial strategy, you also have to focus on How are you going to do this?
Take a look at Academy member Melissa Yap. Melissa shows how she allows her creativity to flow through the concept of community. Below is her post which tells us how her startup in the food and health industry is taking form.
Having a community around you helps clarify how you can take action on an idea. Here is the full post and comments Melissa received from her post.
In my Tribe Talk interview this week, Aris Avanessian explains how he is transitioning from an engineer to entrepreneur and what it took to create his first ever startup in just six months.
I hope that this interview will highlight your need for action. As Aris reminds us, the faster we take action and execute our ideas, the quicker we will be at discovering the real challenges.
Member Interview with Aris Avanessian
Tell us about you
“I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago to Armenian parents. I have been living and working here for the past 5 years as a licensed Mechanical Engineer. People usually ask me what an HVAC engineer does and the simplest way I can think to put it is I design the systems in buildings that make them comfortable. Ever since I was young I had always wanted to be a businessman. Yes, I was general about it. I suppose I watched too much batman on television, but they were the ones with the power and money and it never seemed like they had any problems. So, I figured when I grow up I’ll start a business and get really rich and I can take care of everyone. Now I understand that money isn’t going to solve all our problems but I do understand it can help simplify a lot of things and give you a lot more options. I can’t say I ever had a true passion as an engineer, but becoming an entrepreneur has ignited something inside me that I haven’t felt in a lot of years. Something that was suppressed for a while from all the emotional baggage of life building up on me. “
What is Elevate Nutrition?
“More and more people are concerned with what they are putting into their bodies and the health and fitness industry has really taken off. With that in mind, my goal was to create a nutrition store where not only can you find quality products but also receive knowledgeable advice. It took a total of roughly six months to take the idea from concept to reality and we are now currently open in Mount Prospect IL, in a sports facility.”
“The name of my startup is ‘Elevate Nutrition’. The purpose is to help people reach their goals, to essentially help elevate them to new levels through proper nutrition and supplementation. That is the idea behind the name. In the process, I have started to pay attention to what I am ingesting and how I can optimise my body’s performance, whether it be mentally or physically.”
This is Aris giving a speech at his big opening in December!
How did you build a startup within six months?
“In short, with a lot of focus. I was still working my job while trying to figure things out and get things done, needless to say I did take a few sick and vacation days. I did use some “work time” to do research but I would give myself weekly goals and make sure I got certain things done. Really I had no idea where to start at first, so I just started calling some manufacturers and asking how I could get their products. Then I found out I needed an EIN or FEIN which stands for Federal Employment Identification Number also shortened to Employment Identification Number. You need this for tax purposes and just to operate as a business. I researched it and got one. Then I found out I needed a state re-sale number so I researched what that was and how to get one, so I did. I basically started at a point and would do what I thought was the right step and when I realised it wasn’t and I had missed something, I would re-evaluate and do what needed to be done next. Focusing on one thing at a time rather then trying to figure it out all at once was what helped me keep my focus and not get overwhelmed by all the details. My engineering skills have been invaluable just because of how I approach problems now and it’s different than most engineers, at least how I understand it, because in HVAC you don’t have to be precise all the time, there are a lot of rules of thumb and “preferences” when it comes to design so you need to make some assumptions and move on. Which is what I did when starting up. I know Dan Peña tells us not to waste our time with a business plan, but if you are entering an industry you know little to nothing about, a business plan is a good place to start only because it forces you to start researching and putting your numbers together so you can understand your model better. So you’re really doing it for yourself and not anyone else. So in short it’s always been something I wanted to do, and I found a growing industry that I have taken up a passion for so it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. And I gotta say, if I had never discovered London Real and Dan Peña, I don’t think I would have done all this, especially all within 6 months!”
What 3 things help you focus?
- “Remind yourself of who or what keeps you accountable.”
- “Exercise, just the extra blood flow will help you think clearly.”
- “Having a clean work environment will help keep your mind clear.”
How did you make your idea happen?
- “Watch Dan Peña.”
- “Don’t worry too much about the details, just get things done. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”
- “Create a team of like minded individuals to either assist you or give you ideas. Doing anything alone is hard. If you have smart motivated people around you it will only aid you.”
- “Don’t be afraid of failure. Setbacks should not discourage you. I was over a month in on securing our first location and had put in a lot of time and work on it and had to call in a few favours only for us to not get the location. It was probably the biggest setback but I made myself get over it and move on and before I knew it another opportunity came through from a contact from my team members.”
- “Positive affirmations. Starting anything can be stressful and positive affirmations will not only help keep you positive but focused on succeeding on your ultimate goal. The difficult part is maintaining the same level of excitement you had during those first few days or weeks of your vision.”
Below is Aris and some of his team at his new business premise
What did you learn about money and investment?
“Do whatever it takes to get the money, whether that is taking out personal loans loading up credit cards, finding investors, just get it and make sure you have a plan of attack when you do. I know this doesn’t sound like good financial advice but if you are not trying to live a regular 9-5 life then you need to do whatever it takes. You will definitely be frowned upon doing such risky things but you won’t get far if you don’t take risks. I originally had a few personal loans lined up and building up my credit through the years allowed me to open up some credit cards with a fairly decent amount of credit. I also had my own cash saved up through the years. In addition to that I also had a number of people offer to invest with me just from talking to friends and acquaintances I knew. I didn’t even ask them and they could see how excited I was about the idea and wanted to give me money. So if you talk to enough people you will find a way.”
Where should we break the rules?
“You should break the rules when your gut tells you to.”
What goals have you set this year?
“My top two goals for 2016 are to have another location open and roll out our very own branded product line. My goal by August 2015 was to have my shop open by the end of the year, and I could tell a lot of people seemed skeptical at first when I would tell them, but I pushed through and made it a reality. For me, I always try to set goals that may seem just out of reach but still possible. It’s not as hard as some people may think to roll out your own product line, there are plenty of companies that we can work with. To start I would like to roll out a basic workout stack that includes a protein, pre and intra workout supplement. My vision is to make a trusted brand and while doing that either overtake or buy out my competition and grow it into a global brand. In doing so I can bring more awareness of health and nutrition forward.”
If someone is spending time thinking about starting something, what would you say?
“Figure out what the first step is and just do it. If you don’t know what the first step is, make your best guess and just do it.”
The next step for Aris is to bring about awareness of his opening and increase traffic. If you can help by sharing some strategic or marketing advice, please get in touch here.
Do you have any tips for managing new ideas through to completion? Let us know in the comments below this post!
Join us for:
- The Meditation and Morning Coffee Tribe Meetup
- Tribe Run In Central London
- Our second Meetup up North in Manchester
- Our Meetup Toronto
Until next week’s Tribe Talk, have a great week, and if you’d like to get in touch with me, message me @noorahnaker – I’d love to hear from you!