What’s the Big Idea – Part 1

the three stooges

Whatsthe big idea? The question is both a challenge and one that demands an answer.

Want to know the fastest way from zero to awesome in your business? The journey begins, not with reading every new management book, not with passion and devotion to your work, and not with hiring all the right people, though those things are all great in themselves. Awesome begins with the power of an idea. Ideas have the power to connect people, and change the world.

So whats the big idea in your company? Your Big Idea tells the story of how you will make the world a better place. If your company does not have a strong, guiding-light idea such as this, where could you find one?

Brainstorming your Big Idea requires piercing insight into your customer’s world. It requires deep empathy for the problems they face on a daily basis. It requires a deep understanding of the things they need and want most. The better you can identify and understand these needs and wants, the better you will serve them, and the more your customer will see you as the hero rushing in to bop, wham, and otherwise smash the problem into oblivion, while they stand there and watch, mouth agape. 

Successful businesses know that every effort the company makes must serve The Big Idea.

Once a small business is on a roll, it is all too easy, even for the most successful businesses, to get distracted and focus on anything but The Big Idea. That is where marketing comes in:

Too many ideas plague the true entrepreneur. Sometimes these extraneous ideas have good potential. Even if closely related to The Big Idea, they are rabbit trails nonetheless.  It can become a big shiny distraction, making it hard to get back to work on The Big Idea. It is marketing’s job to cage the rabbit, and hold that extraneous idea till later, when you have time to let it out to hop around a bit. 

Investors get distracted with getting the product to market and meeting the ROI within the defined time frame. It always takes longer and costs more. They must get the cash flowing, and sooner is more acceptable than later. So they push everyone along, sometimes at the expense of The Big Idea. We are not talking about achieving perfection here. We are talking about creating a product with the Occam’s razor principle, as simple as possible, yet no simpler, to meet the customer’s needs and give them something to talk about. It is marketing’s job to ensure the product meets the objectives of The Big Idea.

R&D loves to solve problems. They can get distracted solving problems. They may not stop to ask if solving the problem serves the Big Idea or not. Solving the problem may become the disease of perfectionism. After production spins into high gear, there are more problems still, and management jumps in, distracted by putting out fires. While everyone is so busy zigging, no one notices that the customer has zagged. It is marketing’s job to harness all efforts in service of The Big Idea, and keep their eye on solving the customer’s problems.

It is Marketing’s job to redeem all the distractions. That is just one reason I believe marketing is your most important system. Marketing ensures the product is optimally created for its intended purpose: to serve The Big Idea. When all the efforts serve The Big Idea, all departments work together for good. The Big Idea connects people, both inside and outside the company.

Do you need more of this connection? It may not seem that you are doing important work when you are just sitting there, staring out the window, and brainstorming about how you might insert your product into your customer’s daydream. But it is your most important work. The Big Idea will help you bring your product into context with your customer’s world.

You will connect with your customer to the degree that you understand them. You will connect with your customer to the degree that you empathize with their experience. You will connect with your customer to the degree that you have entered into their world. The Big Idea should rock their world, and it will turn yours to awesome.

Join us all this month for What’s The Big Idea? We will challenge you to pull your entire company into orbit around your own Big Idea.

PS- Take a minute to enjoy the visual of this week’s post. Guaranteed to make you smile.


Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies?  Because no matter how beautiful we make your visuals, your graphics will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your target, the more lucid your marketing will be, and the better connection your visual graphics will make with your target customer. We want to help you become the best you can be. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.