So you have a good idea. Maybe it’s even a great idea. Now what?

I am very happy for you. Chances are likely, though, that one of three things will happen.

1. You will tell nobody about your idea for fear of it being stolen.

2. You will think that your idea, in and of itself, has value and won’t take any action on it.

3. You will discover that someone is already doing something similar to what you thought of, so you’ll toss your idea into the waste bin.

Your idea may be good. It may even be great. But without action on that idea or access to people who can make that idea happen, your idea is about as worthless as chit-chat.

If you are afraid that by sharing your idea others will steal it, then please put that notion to rest, for the most part. After being in business for quite a while and after studying business even longer, I’ve developed a rule that in my experience has stood the test of time.

If you truly have a great idea, then not only will no one try to steal it, but you’ll have to force it down peoples’ throats to even have them look at it, let alone buy it or invest in it.

People laughed at Henry Ford. The executives at IBM wanted nothing to do with Bill Gates’ computer operating system. Politicians and citizens alike called the purchase of Alaska “Seward’s Folly.” Walt Disney was refused financing by too many banks to count. The list is endless.

A few years ago, Apple released the first iPod, with which I am certain many of you are familiar. What did the Mac fans think about the iPod when it was released?

To put it mildly, they hated it and thought it silly.

Even an idea that revolutionized how we listen to and enjoy music was scoffed at - and by people who were (and are) huge fans of the company and its products! That alone should tell you something.

Now, before I go any further, I am not saying to not be careful about giving away your ideas foolishly. I am saying that if you have a great idea, you will have to share it with people that can help you realize it. And if history is any indicator, you will probably have to share your idea with a lot of people.

Before going any further, you must now realize one of the most important things about ideas:

In and of themselves, ideas are worthless.

Just because you think it would be a good idea to open a pizza shop in your area doesn’t mean jack until you actually open a pizza shop! Your idea for a book is nothing until you write the damn book. Even your ideas about redecorating your house are naught but mental fancy until you take the plunge and purchase the new furniture and design the new color scheme.

Gene Simmons of KISS fame hit the nail on the head when he wrote this about the value of ideas and how to get an idea into motion:

In order to succeed and make money, you must have access - access to the people who have the power to implement … access to capital (money) to make things happen ….

So, even if it’s not your idea, if you can get to the people and the money, you own all the right cards. You can always “buy” someone’s idea for pennies, or simply come up with your own idea. Remember, an idea cannot be trademarked or copyrighted. Not unless there is a “process” … in which case, IT’S THE PROCESS, not the idea that is protected.

The reason I keep stressing “ideas mean little” is simply because it’s true. People don’t believe that. And, when they finally get to jump into the water and try swimming in the deep oceans of business, you will be shocked when the real rules of business come slamming down on you. And, you may point to all sorts of reasons why the “idiots out there” don’t recognize the genius of your idea. Oh, they may recognize the genius of your idea. But if you can’t make it happen, you are worthless to them.

Those are some tough words for many people, but if you want to succeed, then you must take them to heart. More times than I can count, a person says to me, “Hey! Here’s a great idea for you.” I generally appreciate their enthusiasm, but I eventually have to tell them that I have a surfeit of ideas here and that the real problem I have is having the time and access to get most of them into motion.

To paraphrase that credit card commercial:

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Making them happen in priceless!

What if you have an idea and then you discover that someone (or many people!) already are doing what you thought? That can actually be a good thing, believe it or not. In essence, someone else is doing your market research!

Returning to our pizza shop example, just because there’s already a pizza shop in your area, doesn’t mean that they are satisfying everyone. Keep your ears and eyes open. Perhaps they don’t deliver. Maybe they’re a little pricey. Whatever the case, just because they have the same idea as you doesn’t mean that you can’t copy it and do it your own way.

McDonald’s was the first fast food burger joint; then there was Burger King and Wendy’s. Apple made the first GUI computer operating system; Microsoft was second. Coke and Pepsi. Hershey and Nestle.

Much of our economic system is based on that - copying - happening. It’s called competition - and you shouldn’t be afraid to engage in it. Some would even argue that merely by throwing your hat in the ring you are succeeding. And I would more often than not agree whole-heartedly.

So, is your idea the one that will make you millions and change the world in the process?


If you do one of the three things I listed, then it definitely won’t be. But, if you

1. Take action on your idea,

2. Find the people who can help you with your idea,

3. Execute your idea properly,

then maybe, just maybe, you’ll make the millions.

Listen, ideas are important. But they are not the be-all end-all. They are the seeds from which action must sprout. Don’t you find it funny (or annoying) that people who haven’t ever had an original idea are making millions, while you (or some people you know) are wallowing in nowheres-ville?

Guess why that is. It’s action. So forget about trying to think about that one big super-original idea that will rock the world. Instead, just take an idea - any idea - and run with it and make it happen.

As Haanel wrote in Week Twenty of The Master Key System

Thought necessarily precedes and predetermines action; action precedes and predetermines condition.

Author's Bio: 

Tony Michalski is the founder and owner of Kallisti Publishing, Inc. - "The Books You Need to Read to Succeed" - Kallisti Publishing, Inc. has been publishing books since 2000 and has successfully published the entire Charles F. Haanel library, Sterling Braswell's book CRAZY TOWN, the US National Security Commission report Road Map For National Security, David Portney's GET YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS, and many others. Tony is also the author of the Master Key Workbook. Tony writes extensively about Haanel's THE MASTER KEY SYSTEM and his articles can be found at