Getting ideas off the ground

Published:  November 1, 2012
Lesley Sheddon
Getting ideas off the ground

Nowadays there is an ever-growing and evolving collection of online resources that can assist you in achieving real world outcomes by connecting you with the right community (for instance, Kickstarter, PlanBig and Pozible are a few popular options). Anyone with a plan, project, idea or dream can find the resources, expertise and support to make their plan a reality.


Here are a few tips to make the journey that little bit smoother:

Create a name for your idea
This helps you summarise your concept in a couple of words that you can use repeatedly to build recognition and talkability for your project. Your idea name acts like a brand and is a compelling way to start describing your idea. Examples of catchy plan names include ‘Bendigo for Homeless Youth’ or ‘Coin Laundry Clothes Swap’.

Clearly articulate what you’re trying to achieve
If you can’t describe your goal in one sentence, chances are people won’t understand your idea and will move on. You need to grab their attention quickly and part of that is helping them understand what the end game is so that they know why they should invest their time in helping you.

Be clear about what help you’re asking for
The more specific your requests for help are, the greater response you will get from the community. Ask for assistance that is realistic and achievable. If you need a graphic designer or someone to help you create a website, be specific, so that people with those skills can easily take an interest and lend a hand.

Ask for feedback from your community
Successful planner, Sarah Allen, did this with her plan (via PlanBig) to help her husband, Chris Allen, publish his first novel, Defender of the Faith. Allen worked with a graphic designer to develop 10 potential covers for the book, uploaded them and asked the community for feedback. The responses helped the couple choose their book cover with confidence, knowing it resonated with their target audience.

Involving the community in the decision-making process for the book also built a strong fan base, which impressed the book’s publisher Momentum Books (part of Pan Macmillan) so much that it ended up signing him for a two-book deal. Allen is now transitioning to become a full-time author and there is interest in turning his book into a film. Success.

Keep the enthusiasm going with regular updates
People who help you reach your goal are just as interested in the outcome of the project as you are, so don’t forget them when things start taking off. Sarah Allen (see above) kept her community up-to-date throughout the process, sharing the highs and lows. When the book was first published in electronic format, Allen let her community know they could download the book free of charge, which created a lot of buzz and free publicity online. She also invited the community to celebrate the official book launch to say ‘thanks’ for all their help.

Thumbnail: Varut Rintanalert, from The Noun Project.

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