Monday, December 1, 2008

Overcome procrastination with Teamness

Regarding procrastination, I think there are two types of people: those who procrastinate and those who declare they don't.

Putting off things needlessly is a common thing most of us do. How many times did you postpone making an appointment for the dentist, even if you knew you're going to do it eventually? And how many times did you start working on different things, just to delay a burdensome task?

Image by celie

All of us have good business ideas. Most of the time we reject from the start and I think one of the reasons is that we procrastinate on thinking about a roadmap. When thinking about it, the path seems complicated and we tend to see mainly the obstacles.

In this post I'll present a simple way on how using Teamness and mind mapping one can get a better grip on how to pursue a new opportunity.

It all starts with an idea

For the sake of the example let's consider a guy Robert, which was on a holiday in France and bought a funny hat. At least he considered it to be funny, but he was asked a couple of times on the street where he got it from.

One day he asked himself what if he started to bring those hats from France and sell them. When he was about to let go, due to unanswered questions in his mind about the manufacturer, target market, shipping issues and so on, he makes a last effort and decides to give it try.

Turn the idea into a project

One of his friends recommends Teamness to Robert. "But I have no project to run, it's just an idea", was Robert's answer. That's exactly the point. Turn the idea into a project.

Robert creates a project in Teamness and calls it The funny hat. The purpose of the project is to investigate this business idea.

Brainstorming is the first step

He creates a new whiteboard in the project and starts writing all the things that comes into his mind regarding the process: existing products on the market, prices, target demographic, manufacturer, producing prices, shipping costs, storage and all other things that pop into his mind. Using mind mapping is really helpful in this process.

Time for tasks

Robert starts now to formulate questions based on the things he brainstormed about, like "What are the existing products on the market?". This question easily becomes a task: "Make a list with similar products on the market and their retail cost".

One by one, almost all of the other issues start to take the form of a task: "Call the manufacturer and ask for the price; try to get a discount for multiple purchases", "Identify areas for advertising for this kind of product and the target demographic", "Make a plan to microtest the product with PPC advertising" and so on.

Make the roadmap

Now Robert creates milestones. He makes one called "Target market analysis" and assigns the tasks related to his market to it. He sets this milestone to be due one week from now, based on some rough estimations on his free time.

As the project rolls on, information is collected in The funny hat project. Links, lists of prices, contacts, scans after brochures, screenshots made on some websites and so on are now all in one place and the idea turned into something more consistent. It's more clearly now what the good direction might be, based on real investigation rather than fuzzy assumptions.

Having a clear picture on how to continue, it's possible now for Robert to even delegate some of the tasks to a virtual assistant, which can help with some time consuming chores, understandably defined.

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