Not sure which film that’s from but it is a phrase to heed. Fun as talking may be, just talking doesn’t make things happen.
Ideas are meant to change or influence something. They make a difference and innovate. It’s great talking to others who share your passion and who also want to talk but at some point you have to move from ‘that’s a great idea’ to ‘here’s what we’re going to do’ – from TALKING to DOING.
Having a meetings about what you do can seem exciting but you should appreciate that you are meeting for a reason. A reason which could turn a cosy, optimistic chat into an awkward discussion about timetables, deadlines and investing.
So here is an aid to help ease those conversation.
At the stage you feel both parties are equally engaged in making something happen (if they’ve mentioned it more than twice it’s safe to assume interest) get to the MEAT.
I’m not a fan of acronyms but in this case I’ll make an exception (as I’m equally not a fan of awkward conversations).
Discussing the MEAT means:
MOTIVATION. What’s in it for both of you? Is it something that could strategically move your businesses forward? An expertise that could be exploited by the idea? Or simply an interest. Finding out what will motivate either person in a deal is vital to their commitment. If it’s not that important to either of you then feel free to enjoy your cosy chats without the pressure of taking it further.
EVALUATE. Now if that both parties are committed, the next discussion is about the market, potential customers, how long it could take to make it work, who the competitors are, etc. These are all the things you would need to put into a business plan. At this stage it’s still a discussion. You may also find that there are a few unknowns that need further investigation. That’s when you move on to A…
ACTIONS. You can start scribbling now. Decide who will compile the proof of the EVALUATE questions you’ve discussed or do the research on the ones that couldn’t be answered. At this point you may discover that one party has more to do than the other. This might be a clue to how you manage the relationship going forward.
TIMESCALE. Having worked out WHAT has to be done and by WHOM, discuss WHEN it can be done. Be realistic. Have you got a deadline looming which could tie you up for months? Share that now. If you’re both going to put your weight behind it make sure you’re both free to. Again this might be a clue to how you could be working on the project; one of you may have more time to commit to the idea on a day-to-day basis than the other.
By now you should be fairly confident about moving from talking to doing… or not. The next post deals with getting it down on paper.
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