I didn’t know what to expect when a client asked me to meet him for happy hour to share an idea with me. It was a typical rainy evening, and he had already arrived when I entered the cozy restaurant in NW Portland. He was a bit nervous and hesitant to share, so he launched into small talk. I finally told him I couldn’t help him if he wouldn’t share his idea with me.
His idea was to create a mobile fitness concept. He had done tons of research and analysis about what keeps people from moving and what barriers prevent them from working out. His analysis revealed the problem, and he had created a business idea based on it.
A fitness van or trailer would arrive at participants’ homes where they could work out with friends or neighbors. Once everyone completed their workouts, the trailer would depart and leave them to socialize and feel good about their accomplishments. He also had conceptualized the mobile gym for businesses and offices that don’t have space for a gym on the premises but wanted to provide fitness opportunities for their employees. A third potential would be for the trailer to stop by all the many parks in Portland and give folks the opportunity to exercise outside by combining a strength workout with a run. In addition, he wanted to give back to underprivileged communities that don’t have spin studios or can’t afford to pay expensive gym memberships.
He had researched the competition and found none in the marketplace and was willing to invest his own money. He went on further to explain that he had already contacted an attorney and had a good friend who runs a well-known design agency to create a logo.
It appeared he had checked off every box necessary to begin a start-up business.
After ordering more snacks and drinks, we began brainstorming and taking the idea in multiple directions. Of course, he wanted my involvement, and during this process, many questions came into play.
- Would people really like this concept?
- Does the world really need mobile fitness?
- What colors should the logo contain?
- How much time should be allowed for workouts?
- Where would the trailer be parked in neighborhoods, at businesses, and park areas?
- What’s the social media concept?
- What kind of permits would we need?
- How would insurance be handled?
- Is this affordable?
- What if it doesn’t work at all?
- Should either of us really do it?
- Can we just call manufactures and tell them that we’d like to build a trailer?
- What if one day we grew to have 50 trailers all over the west coast?
So many questions, so many good thoughts, so much could, would, should, maybe, if, and when. But, we both got really excited about the idea. Yet, his nerves started getting the better of him the longer we talked, because we both brought up so many thoughts, questions, and action items.
After almost three-hours of initial conversation, I summarized with, “You will never know if it’s a good idea until you try it.” I am an eternal optimist and go-getter. You can only think about something so much, and then you just must do it.
I also let him know that from my experiences in the event industry that planning evolves endlessly until a deadline is selected. My advice – stop overthinking it. The social media plan or wondering if he has enough time to get ready isn’t important. If we worry about the least important items someone else will run with the idea while we’re still going in circles. We’ll be sitting drinking coffee and taking notes while a fitness trailer passes by us. It involved plenty of risk and potential loss of money, but we knew if we didn’t try, the question of “what If” would always be hanging over our heads.
We decided to do it. That decision changed everything. It became real. We determined to build a fitness trailer to bring alive the concept, and #beactivpdx was born.
We immediately shifted from never-ending brainstorming to super-productive production power hours. We transitioned from having an idea to creating a plan. The business had to be founded, the “to do” list got long, we had deadlines, and owed answers to vendors.
During this process, we realized we were part of a real start up and often wondered why we hadn’t started sooner. Our energy and drive increased tenfold as we created and shaped. Once we stopped thinking about starting and began, we were happy. Yes, we had challenges, real problems to solve, but the “doing” was so much easier than the “talking about doing.” Direct feedback from advisors and others allowed us to cross off items on our list, which energized us even further.
We had done all this research about it and now we discovered it ourselves: If we moved our a**** our minds followed. As we achieved each step, our minds got ahead of us so that we could foresee the next steps. Time flew, and we embraced it and were so proud.
What’s the outcome? We learned a great deal, the product is successful, and we feel like big winners. Plus, there is so much more to come. We keep spinning more ideas already.
I’ve learned from events that the greatest plan on paper doesn’t always work. Once you start to make it happen, start building, and the event happens, you get direct feedback. The smiles of your happy and relieved clients are priceless and assure you of success. The funny thing is, this makes you want to do it all over again. And be insured, that we will do so, because it’s that easy:
DON’T OVERTHINK IT.
Be activ & see you out there!
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