The High Price of Gas: Four Ways the "Idea" of Your Business Can Cost You Everything

by Kim Castle, BrandU™

Last week I was exercising in the canyons of Southern California by climbing hundreds of stairs. I love being away from my business because I’m free to expand for at least 60 minutes.

Out of the blue an idea for a completely new product came into my mind and it wouldn’t leave. It grew so strong that it drowned out the Black Eyed Peas blaring from my IPod.

It started out soft like a tickle and before I knew it my thoughts weren’t my own.

I started seeing the product and how it was constructed; all the way down to what color the stitching was and where the logo would go.

I got excited about how there wasn’t a product like this on the market and how it would radically change the way people did things.

My heart soared with the charity that would benefit from the overflow of the millions of dollars it would generate. In my mind, I even started contacting people that could connect me to manufacturers in China.

Before I knew it, I wasn’t climbing stairs... I was soaring. I was high off an idea — like the fumes of a gas.

If you’re an entrepreneur you know the high I’m talking about. You may even be an “idea junkie”. You know who you are. It’s okay — awareness is the first step.

You also know the pain that often comes along with it; especially the pain of not making it fast enough and getting people to buy it as quickly as possible before the next idea comes.

When speaking to entrepreneurs around the world about branding, I often refer to the “idea” of a business like a gas — like air. It’s “there” in feeling, but it doesn’t have form. It’s the translation from the idea into tangible form that traps so many and prevents them from ever getting beyond the high.

Here are four ways that just the “idea” of your business could cost you everything and what you can do about it.

• It’s not real — until you make it real. Without getting your idea out of your mind and into a tangible form, it’s just a possibility, only serving you in the moment that you think of it. There are many ways to make it tangible even at the beginning.

Example: One client of mine, before she worked with me, would pay thousands of dollars to have her book jackets designed BEFORE she even wrote the book. Just beware, while this does get the idea out of your head and into a form you can touch, it’s done so with great risk.

Without first establishing the core of your idea from the inside, that outside influence could take you away from what the business or product really is. That’s why the way we approach branding is vital in the beginning of a business or product development.

• It’s so flexible — there's nothing there. Without putting up walls (or mental blinders) by establishing what an idea for a business really is and what it is not, you are at the mercy of the hundreds of potential business ideas that your brain is feeding you daily (each one is more exciting than the last). Trust that each idea carries with it a great potential. But they are just ideas until they impact a customer’s life.

This is why the entire first half of our brand creation process doesn’t even involve the customer. We focus on creating the house with a door that they will walk through and want to stay. Your idea is a solid half of the relationship you have with your customer.

• It’s worth nothing — until you add interest. While you have experienced the idea, just having it is not unique. At the same exact time, someone else could be having the same exact thought. After all, we all feed from the same pond.

What makes it unique is what drives your need to create it. People don’t just buy because they have nothing else to do. They need a reason to choose one thing over another. It’s that same reason which drives you to take action on just a thought.

• It means nothing — until it means something to someone else. People can’t buy your idea unless they can connect to it in a way that impacts their life.

Think about what it would be like trying to sell someone air. It’s the same as selling them your idea. It needs to be clearly translated into a tangible and emotional experience if you truly want to move beyond the feeling it gives you.

That said, your ideas do have great value at the start of a business. Without ideas, you’d have nothing to act on. But ideas are just the spark to get you started. They feel so great because it takes a lot of fuel to create something out of nothing. That fuel is excitement.

By harnessing that excitement with form, foundation, reason and connection, you’ll have what it takes to share your idea “high” with the world. And they’ll gladly pay for it.

© 2007-2009 Castle, Montone, Limited.

BrandU™, co-creator, W. Vito Montone teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to turn their business ideas into a mo*ney-making marketable brand — from idea, to brand, to market. If you want to experience clarity all the way to the bank™, get your FR*EE branding tips now at

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