What does it take to get a new product off the ground?
What's the story behind the zebra?
The story behind the artwork has more meaning than one could initially extract. The artwork describes how new ideas are created, refined, and brought to market. So, let's begin with the illustration breakdown…
Each business starts with an idea. Great breakthrough is often told as a lightbulb moment because there is a certain narrative thrill in the story. The switch in your head flips, and the light is on. The idea is born. Despite popular belief, ideas do not just come out of the blue. Before the idea comes to life, there has to be a process of deep involvement with the problem. Some time has to be spent in the solution space, contemplating the possibilities. After investing some time thinking about the problem, the idea will pop. What matters the most is what you’re gonna do with the newborn idea.
Having an idea just gives you the potential to succeed. You have to work for it in order to make it more than just a neuron assemblage in your head. I’ve chosen zebra to illustrate the first step of your business. Zebra crossing or a pedestrian crossing is what leads you to the other side of the road. To cross over to the other side (your personal success), you have to develop a strong vision about where you are going. You have to visualize the abundance that the other side brings to your life. If you like what you just visualized and you have a good feeling about it, a natural intention for a change will lead you on the other side. Willingness to succeed and a clear vision of the riches will guide you across the road, across the zebra.
3. Spartan helmet
This part of the artwork is a symbol of strategic thinking and discipline in your business. We all know that the Spartans had effective battle strategies. The strategic approach enabled them to win even when outnumbered, against the odds. Developing a clear strategy for your business will enable you to achieve the same. However, a good strategy alone is often not enough. You have to be disciplined and follow your strategy at all times. Strategy and discipline will provide integrity for your business. And the integrity is what made the Spartan phalanx so strong and almost indestructible.
4. Carrot and stick
The phrase “carrot and stick” is a metaphor for the use of a combination of reward and punishment to induce the desired behavior. If you want to make your business sustainable, you have to offer rewards for all stakeholders — customers, employees, brand advocated, etc. If you orchestrate the game where each player gets to win, you’re here to stay. However, an important thing is to delay the game over scenario as long as possible. Make it an infinite game. Give rewards, but keep everybody asking for more. The beauty of an infinite game is that the players win all the time and there is no disappointment when the game is put to an end.
Like it or not, money is an integral part of our lives. It is a part of our wealth, accompanied with love, health, and wisdom. Money is the fuel, and if you want your business to run, you have to focus on money. Before starting any business, one should validate the idea by investigating the monetary viability of the business model. Those who value money get to have it. So make sure to invest time in your financial assessment, cash flow planning, and price determination.
If you want to ride for a long time, you have to get yourself comfortable. Hence the high-quality leather saddle. The idea here is to pay yourself first. You should put yourself high in your priorities. If you take care of yourself, only then can you take care of the other players in your infinite game. Putting yourself in a comfortable position will make you feel good, successful and powerful. And feeling that way will influence people around you in a positive way, transferring the same emotion.
7. Fishing stick
If you ever went fishing, you know that it takes patience. The same is with business development. You have to be patient, eyes on the prize and ready to grab your take when the opportunity arises. Just to be clear, I’m not saying to sit there and wait. No. If you want to get some fish, you have to do your preparation. Which is the right spot, the right time of the day and year, which bait to use, how deep should you let your hook down, etc. Get to know the dynamics of your market, your customers, their wishes and pain points. And set the right strategy and patiently watch how your business grows, because you’ve set it on the right assumptions.
I’ve used some colors to illustrate that things are not all black and white. You should have your organization in place, with clear rules, roles and responsibilities. Order and predictable outcomes are things that make a business successful. But not all is black and white. You have to be flexible and ready to make compromises from time to time. Be flexible, not tolerant. Yeah, there is a difference between the two. Adding colors to your organization will enable creativity to flourish. Just make sure to streamline the creativity in the right direction.
The whole idea of a person riding a zebra is a symbol of a journey. Business development is a journey with its ups and downs. Important thing is that you know where you are going. Your partners should also know the destination. If you ever fall asleep on in your saddle, they will guide the caravan in the right direction, giving you much-needed sleep. You are the leader of this journey and you should steer the ship. Well, zebra in this case. Set the destination, set the pace, and go get your prize.
I’ve released my first book a couple of weeks ago. It’s called Treasure Roadmap. The book offers a set of tools emerging from lean start-up, design thinking, and agile software development that are revolutionizing how new ideas are created, refined and brought to market.
If you follow the formula which I reveal in this book, it’s very possible you can make a living by turning an idea into a successful business.