Ideas are not enough!

One of the points I make in my training workshop ‘How to Make Money While You Sleep’ is that ‘Ideas Don’t Make You Rich”. I quote multimillionaire Felix Dennis, publisher and poet, who wrote in his book ‘How to Get Rich’: “Ideas don’t make you rich, the correct execution of ideas does.” In other words, ideas are necessary but not sufficient. So my workshop is about business models based on intellectual property, its creatiion, protection and commercialisation.

In terms of intellectual property rights, you cannot protect an idea, only its expression in a tangible format. These intellectual property rights can then be sold (or often even better) licensed or ‘rented’ to make money while you sleep. My ‘Ideas in Action’ article about Brazilian creative entrepreneur Guilherme Marconi, ‘Don’t Sell It; Rent It’ is one example of this.

However, what’s crucial, is a feasible business model, in other words a system for turning a great idea into sustainable income streams. This system can also be called a Profit Model, a Revenue Strategy or other name. It involves creating your own ‘Business Formula’, developed into a workable strategy, plus lots of hard work, resilience, and luck. This is the hard part!

Thanks to creative entrepreneur and workshop participant Hua Jing Li for sending me this link to Peter Shallard’s article ‘Your Ideas Suck – A rant on Startups, Investors & Profit’. I agree with him wholeheartedly that “A Great Idea is only great if it has a profit model to match.”

Many times I’ve heard people say “I’m an ‘Ideas Person'” and my heart sinks because what they are really saying is that they want to spend all their time thinking up cool ideas and get paid for it without doing all the hard work. They want someone else to do that for them, usually with yet someone else’s money. Felix Dennis points out that you can take someone else’s idea and make yoursefl rich if you can execute it correctly: “They do not have to be your ideas — execution is all”. And conversely, you don’t achieve success just by having the ideas. (And of couirse it’s not just about getting rich, this also applies to social impact, changing the world and making great things actually happen.)

That’s why my workshops and management consultancy help creative people to use smart business thinking with better knowedge of intellectual property rights, marketing, finance, leadership etc. Using this ‘T-Shirts and Suits’ approach, we can combine ideas and execution into business models that achieve business success consistent with our creativity, values and objectives.


Discuss this on the T-Shirts and Suits Creative Enterprise Network, a free online network for creative entrepreneurs world-wide.


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