These words spoken by Cathie Black, former Chairman of Hearst Magazines in her 2007 book, Basic Black are wise ones to remember when beginning any project, career or setting any type of short or long term goals.
1. ‘Is this a great idea?’
It’s important to remember that it’s not enough just to like something. Don’t go for flash over substance. While it’s tempting to make decisions based on an idea’s hype, not doing the proper homework can result in wasted time, effort and energy.
‘Let me be clear: hype is not always bad. Having an air of excitement and buzz surrounding your project can be hugely helpful–buzz means attention, and attention usually means increased sales. Just don’t allow the siren song of the buzz to keep you from paying sufficient attention to the basics.’
For instance, if you hire the big name consultant just for her name, rather than the smaller one with the better proposal–you’ll be sorry in the end.
2. ‘Can it succeed?’
‘No matter how sexy a new idea is, no matter how many celebrities are involved, and no matter how much the media may fawn over it, none of these things guarantees its ultimate success.’
Again, quoting Ms. Black, she points out that it’s important to not ignore the most critical rule in developing new projects:
‘Be discerning, not dazzled.’
3. ‘How soon can it succeed?’
Always try to go into a project with eyes open. Some projects and ideas never succeed at all. But what are the warning signs that it’s in trouble?
For one, if not enough people buy it (see it), not enough people share it (promote it) there won’t be enough buzz to sustain it. Translation: It won’t make money.
Woody Allen once said…
‘90 percent of life is just showing up. The other 10 percent might be knowing when to leave.’
After the initial smashing success of a project, if it begins to stall then sink it’s better to get out. Cut your losses–so to speak. Trust your instincts and…
‘Make hard decisions sooner rather than later.’
While it’s easy to get caught up with the emotional, ‘Wow’ factor when starting a new project, just remember to consider these three, important questions and to make sure, that while your head is in the clouds your feet are on the ground!