You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

I Could Have Started Uber

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 4/11/2015 Shawn Porat
DEPRESSION HELP © Blend Images/Jetta Productions via Getty Images DEPRESSION HELP

People who think of themselves as creative and intelligent often say things like, "If I had started Uber 6 years ago, now I'd be worth billions." Such people often remark that they've had ideas similar to Uber, Twitter, Facebook or some other brilliant concept that turned into an industry giant. The people who say these things come from all walks of life; many have no business experience whatsoever. They naively believe that all it takes to get rich is an original idea.
It's quite common for someone to have a promising idea only to see someone else profit from it later on. Such a person might feel similar to someone who "just missed" picking the winning lottery number. Yet there is a huge difference between playing the lottery and starting a business. Lotteries are about luck; starting a business requires a long series of steps, where the brilliant idea is only the beginning.
Great Ideas: Why They Aren't Enough
"Good ideas are common -what's uncommon are people who'll work hard enough to bring them about." -Ashleigh Brilliant, English author and cartoonist.
Many people have ideas for a new invention, product, service, book or movie. From bars to college dorms to coffee shops, you can hear people talking about an idea that could change the world and make them millionaires at the very least.
The fact is, most reasonably intelligent people have their share of original ideas. By itself, however, an idea has limited value. As the above quotation points out, hard work is also essential. Yet those who truly profit from their ideas and change the world must have additional qualities as well.
What Does It Take to Put an Idea Into Action?
To simplify, a successful business or invention consists of an idea and its execution. It would be accurate to say that the idea is 1% of this formula and the execution is 99%. Yet what exactly does the execution of an idea entail? We might say, along with Ashleigh Brilliant, that it's all about hard work. This, however, is incomplete. A person with an idea needs a plan, so he knows exactly what actions to take.
Anyone who starts a business is advised to form a business plan. This is a document that's used to secure loans or funding, but it's also important for keeping you, the business owner, on track and ensuring that no steps are overlooked.
A business plan contains elements such as a vision statement, market research, cash flow assessment and plans for adapting when the business faces hardship. So, while an idea like Uber may require a flash of brilliance to conceive, the founders also had to do thorough research to determine how many people in multiple cities were seeking an alternative to taxis, how much could be charged for this service, how to recruit drivers, how to deal with government regulations and a myriad of other details.
If you have an idea for an invention, you must build a prototype. With 3D printing and the ability to outsource production at low costs in different locations, this is easier than ever before. However, it still takes plenty of research and a solid plan.
The Need to Persist and Adapt
Still another essential quality you need to bring your idea to fruition is the willingness to persevere and try new approaches. The most famous example of this is probably Thomas Edison, who reputedly tried at least 3,000 ways to make a light bulb before he finally succeeded. Your idea may not require this many tweaks, but it's rare that any idea works out exactly the way you first conceive it.
Even hard working people can be discouraged if they find that their original idea must be altered in some significant way for it to be viable. Yet being adaptable is an essential quality if you want to have a successful business, invention or creative project.
An Original Idea: Only the Beginning
None of this is meant to downplay the value of ideas. Without original ideas, nothing new would ever be created. Yet, an idea on its own is only a potential reality. If you want to be one of the small minority of people whose ideas actually turn into something tangible, you have to recognize that you'll need much more - a plan, a willingness to work hard, plenty of tenacity and the ability to change course when necessary. These are the qualities that turn great ideas into actual realities.

More from Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon