3 keys to selling your big idea

Last year, we discussed the importance of shaping your environment to foster innovative thinking. But what do you do once you’ve struck idea gold?

You can get exposure to peer leaders at local entrepreneurial tech hub 1871 and other “co-working spaces,” where small businesses and freelancers share office space to cut overhead costs and encourage collaboration. Annual competitions like RedEye’s Big Idea Awards and the Chicago Innovation Awards streamline the path to bigger and brighter things by offering mentorship and other support. Crowdsourcing sites can get the ball rolling on development. Or there’s always “Shark Tank.”

No matter which path you choose for your idea, at some point, you have to get someone else’s buy-in. You have to sell it.

Selling a big, bold innovative idea is all about good decision-making. Once you have a solid business plan to sell, start executing marketing moves. Here are three steps for selling your big idea:

  1. Highlight the benefits. Anyone who is going to invest time, money or energy into your idea wants to know exactly what it’s going to do for his primary interest. Financial investors want to know the hard numbers on the return on investment. Co-developers ready to build sweat equity need to get behind how the idea is going to improve the industry, the market or people’s lives. Get messaging in place so you’re always prepared to demonstrate the logical and emotional ways your idea will connect with everyone who touches it.
  2. Feel it out. Odds are that, if you’re the one who’s pitching, your personality is going to drive the idea’s brand. Focus on how you describe the primary benefits. Find people inside and outside of the industry so you can practice explaining your idea with different levels of technical understanding. If you’re comfortable and confident, it will be a lot easier for the idea’s value to show through.
  3. Get a “look.” If you’re starting from scratch on branding, keep it simple. Develop just a few leave-behinds that keep your idea top of mind for potential supporters. A unique logo or design can help, but don’t lose your core idea in materials that don’t match the overall presentation. Once you get to the point of formal presentations, simple consistency will keep your audience focused.

Do you have a plan for when creativity crosses into innovation? Let us know in the comments below.





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