There’s a gap between conception and reality that is often hard to bridge: great ideas are fine, but when push comes to shove they usually require hard work to make anything happen from them. There’s no two ways about it, you need both creativity and a spark of inspiration, but also a lot of spadework to make it real.
I was working yesterday with a couple of entrepreneurs on some business planning: we came together as people facing common challenges, albeit in different areas, to share experiences, offer challenge and identify a methodology to move us forward.
We used the Business Model Generation methodology to give us a structure. It’s a simple matrix that allows you to model pretty much any venture with clarity and develop your initial unstructured ideas into something more solid. It does at least let you identify where the hard work will lie.
It’s odd really to use something so formal in what should be such a creative venture, but there are benefits to formality, just as there are benefits to abandoning it sometimes. Too much creative freedom leads to energy with no focus, whilst too little leads to process with no meaningful output. The balance is everything.
I guess the main benefit i feel from working with others, from sharing the learning, is a sense of progress, a sense of moving forward from one session to the next. Although our businesses are not aligned in subject matter, many of our challenges are common and, although we tackle them in different ways, there is much to learn from the experience of others.
These types of highly focussed micro communities of learning are a valuable asset in our personal and professional development, giving us the chance to work in depth with a few key individuals outside of any formal development path.
It’s funny how i take about the most structured approach to a subject that really should be the most creative. But i guess that’s because i’ve tried it without structure and it’s hard work! A formal methodology allows us not just to do the things we know we need to do, but also it reminds us to do the things we avoid.