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Falling in Love Too Soon

Posted By Ron Sidman, Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Coming up with a great idea for a new business or new product is an exhilarating experience. It's not unlike romantic love - captivating, exciting, and very pleasurable. Unfortunately, just like love it can blind you to reality. You can be so carried away by the emotional aspects of the experience that you may not only lose the ability to be objective but may even purposely avoid exposing yourself to the truth. When you're in love, the last thing you want is to expose yourself to anything that could burst your bubble. 


This phenomenon may be fine and even beneficial in personal relationships, but it can be a disaster in business. Anyone who has created a successful company or new product can tell you that thoroughness and objectivity are critical throughout the process. Generating new ideas is fun, positive, and free-wheeling. But, assessing those ideas needs to be serious, critical, and disciplined. You literally can't afford to fall in love with your idea. Excited and optimistic, yes. In love, no.   


Startup Blindness

I see this phenomenon a lot with the entrepreneurship students I mentor at Florida Gulf Coast University. Having never actually run a business, they don't yet realize how fierce competition in the real world can be. When they come up with a plausible business idea, the last thing they want to hear about are the potential flaws in their concept. They even avoid searching for competitors lest they discover some company that's already doing what they had in mind. Surprisingly, this is not just a problem for students. Even experienced business managers fall into this trap.  I see it with some of my consulting clients and it's happened to me in my career. At times, I was so convinced a new product would be successful that I ignored the danger signs.


The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The cure is cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. Successful creativity is not about just coming up with a brilliant idea and hoping that your first shot out of the box will work. In fact, Thomas Edison once commented, "I was always afraid of things that worked the first time." Entrepreneurs and innovators know that almost nothing really new works the first time you try it. What's needed is the patience to follow an iterative process of systematically coming up with many viable ideas and then subjecting them to rigorous critical analysis to narrow the choices down to the most promising options. And that's when the real testing of simulations or prototypes with customers begin. 


Not the Only One - Just a Better One

Whether it's a new product or a totally new business venture, you don't have to be totally unique to be successful. So, don't be afraid to search for and study every past and current, direct and indirect competitor you can uncover. If someone's tried something similar in the past and failed, find out why. If a certain competitor's business model or product feature is adored by customers, you may have to consider including something similar. Where you can find competitive weaknesses, exploit them. Google didn't invent search and Apple didn't invent the mobile phone. They just built upon their predecessors' accomplishments and raised the bar. 


Next Steps

Take a look at your current new business or new product development activities. Are there any instances where you're being guided too much by emotion? Do you find yourself irritated by or avoiding criticism of the idea? If so, you might want to modify your mindset to welcome and even seek out the critical analysis that can lead to better results. 


As always, if you’d like more information or assistance regarding achieving your business and life goals or you just want someone to brainstorm, vent, or commiserate with, consider taking advantage of JPMA’s Executive Mentor Program by scheduling a Skype or Face Time session with me. I’d enjoy meeting you and helping you any way I can. Check the JPMA web site for more information or contact Reta Adler at


Ron Sidman was the founder and CEO of The First Years, Inc. and former Vice Chairman of the JPMA Board of Directors. He is currently a business consulting resource for JPMA members and serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Institute for Entrepreneurship and the Dean of the College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast University. Ron is also the President of Evolutionary Success, LLC, a life and business coaching company.




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