Clarifying Faith in the Workplace

March 13th, 2014

Planting Seeds Of Faith in the WorkplaceRecently, I have seen a resurgence in the topic of Faith in the Workplace. Just this week I participated in a training session with Sandi Krakowski, social media guru, and founder of A Real Change International, Inc. Over the past year or so, I have watched Sandi bring her faith to the forefront of her business.

Entrepreneur Magazine recently invited Sandi to become a columnist for the online edition of their publication and address the idea of faith in the workplace.

Related: Why Faith Belongs In Your Workplace

Another business guru, Mia Davies, recently shared in a video broadcast how she “Gave her business away”. In the YouTube video (no longer available), she describes how she changed the focus of her business to be more in line with what God wants for her.

Typically, when someone mentions the term faith in the workplace, it is generally understood that they mean “Faith in God”. (In full disclosure, I have complete faith in the existence of God. Though I do have a Judeo-Christian background, my understanding of God and spiritual concepts continues to grow with age.)

Could it be that by corralling “faith” into the “faith in God” understanding alone, we could be missing out on a much broader experience of this amazing power? Whoa, hold up. I’m not suggesting a diminished value of faith in God; by no means. In all fairness, the concept of faith does seem to originate in the Judeo-Christian religions. But is faith a purely religious concept?

Could faith in the workplace have additional value and meaning? I believe in the power of faith as taught in the Judeo-Christian teachings, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the substance of your idea, invention, unrealized business, book, or whatever you want to create. It begins as faith. In faith, you act. You act with the conviction of one who knows the imagined will be made real.

This well known Biblical quote does not attach the definition of faith to faith in any particular thing or person, God or otherwise. So is faith a religious concept or a power that is available to everyone to be used in all areas of their life? Yes.

Faith in the workplace can include our faith in God, and includes much, much more:

  • Faith in the power of God to bless and multiply your business.
  • Faith in your ideas, that they will become a reality.
  • Faith in your employees, that they will live up to your expectations.
  • Even faith that our clients will continue to pay us on time so we can continue to build our business.

Remember, faith is based on things we can not see. The idea in your head for a new product or service requires faith to bring it to fruition. Creating a team that will take your business into the future requires faith. Where there was no team, faith built it and built it.

While I believe that faith has its origins in God, its power expands beyond the religious or spiritual avenues. It is a power that can be applied in all areas of our life. When we need the power to move toward the unseen, toward the intangible, faith provides this power.

So the next time someone starts to talk about faith in the workplace, ask yourself, “How am I already exhibiting faith in the workplace and how can I foster more faith?”

“Faith is the head chemist of the mind.” Napoleon Hill

4 Easy Steps to Writing Faster and In Less Time

March 12th, 2014

Image of ideas for writing faster and in less timeAt the beginning of the year, 2014, I joined the ranks of New Year’s Resolutioners and committed myself headlong into writing as I’ve never written before, consistently, persistently, and voluminously.

I, like many other writers, have found that consistent, worthwhile production is the holy grail, hidden in some faraway land where only a lucky few seem to find it.

Some time ago I encountered the idea of building a regular habit of writing 1000 words a day. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the name of the author, or her book that recommended this practice, but thanks to her, and some new year’s determination, I was able to consistently practice this habit for 22 days, and in the process, write over 39,000 words.

Now I didn’t do it to impress you. However, I did end up impressing myself with how easy it is to produce when I commit myself to a specific and attainable, daily goal.

So how did I start writing faster? What did I learn? Why did I stop (Yes, I stopped)? And, will I start again? Well, as you can see from this article, I’ve started again on March 5, 2014.

How You Can Start Writing Faster Today

  1. Picked a topic of interest.
  2. Chose a time with no interruptions.
  3. Set a timer. (More on this later.)
  4. Keep a spreadsheet of daily words written with a running total.

What did I learn from my New Year’s experience?

Creating a habit produces great results. Had I continued my daily habit, by the date of this blog post, I would have written 150,890 words, enough by most standards to be a book.

Production begets production. In other words, I learned that the more I wrote, the easier it was to write. A 1000 words turned out to be not a difficult goal to reach. In fact, over the first 22 days of this New Year’s resolution, I actually averaged over 1700 words, even after missing several days.

Writing is easy. That’s right. It’s easier and easier to write when I actually write and keep writing.

Write a thousand words a day… and in three years you’ll become a writer.” Ray Bradbury

Writing faster is easier than you think. In earlier attempts to build the writing habit, I had discovered that I could write 1000 words in an hour or two. In January, I wondered if I could do it faster. I read somewhere that you can increase the speed at which you do things simply by timing yourself. After timing myself for several days, I discovered that I could crank out 1000 words in about 40 minutes. I also discovered that it helped to turn off the spell check on my computer. Those darned squiggly red lines always make me at least pause in my writing flow, but most often make me stop and edit myself in real-time. Speed comes from writing un-distracted, as quickly as you can. Editing can come later in your off time.

Keep a daily record of your progress. Secret results are not motivating. From my days in sales, I learned that keeping a record of my daily progress, with a historical total, can be very motivating, as long as you are actually active. Seeing the running total of words written continued to inspire me as I passed 10,000 words, then 20,000, then 30,000. As I approached 40,000 words I began to realize I was well on my way to writing a small book.

So, why did I stop, you may be asking, after such a productive run? This is a great question and one that is not simply answered. Suffice it to say at this time, the creative bug went a few hard rings in a not so professional wrestling ring.

If I can do it, you can too. I believe if you have the desire to do something, such as write, you can do it.

How Writing 1000 Words a Day Changed My Life

Related: How Writing 1000 Words a Day Changed My Life

In his blog post “How Writing 1000 Words a Day Changed My Life”, Srinivas Rao talks about the power of momentum in the habit of requiring yourself to write at least 1000 words per day. I found this power to be very real in my own experience, which is one reason I have chosen to get back on the horse.

Like Sriniva, I too found myself writing above and beyond my goal. In fact, on one day, I wrote over 4700 words. Looking at that number on my daily chart made me feel good. And for a writer, feeling good is like getting paid. Sometimes, it’s our only pay.

As I read through Srinivas article, I began to wonder what results I might have achieved had I continued with my writing. Be sure to click through to his article. I’m sure you’ll find in inspiring as I did.

Do You Have a Great Idea for a Book?

“You wouldn’t believe how many people I meet who tell me they’ve got a great idea for a novel … if only they had the time to write!” Josh Finder

Related: Just Write That Damned Book Already

So, what are you and I going to do about that book? Why not just write it, as Josh Finder recommends. Turn off the spell check, the grammar check, and just write. Like me, you may be surprised as the 10s of thousands of words add up, and your story or your book just takes you away.

I used to be in the bad habit of complaining, “I don’t have time.” Then I learned that we all have the same amount of time. We all have 24 hours each day that we can dedicate as we choose. If you get fast, like me, you may be able to write 1000 words in 40 minutes or even less. Just sit down every day and set the timer.

Now, I no longer allow myself to use the words, “I don’t have time.” By carving out 40-60 minutes a day to write 1000 words, by the end of the year, you’ll have 365,000 words written, enough for more than one good book.

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
― Ray Bradbury

5 Ways to Boost the Value of Your Company Blog

February 17th, 2014

5 ways to to boost the value of your company blog.If you write it, will they read it? Not necessarily. Many companies approach their website content strategy with the idea that all they have to do is simply creating a few posts every once in a while, and their site will get traffic.

Increasing traffic with content is much more complex, yet not difficult to accomplish. Developing an effective content management strategy is simple to begin and easy to expand over time. Below are 5 ways you can boost the value of your company blog.

Have Multiple Company Experts Contribute to Your Company Blog.

Instead of outsourcing your content to copy brokers or ghostwriters, take a look at your own team. You may very well have experts within your own company that can contribute valuable content on a consistent basis.

Even if each team member contributes only one article each month, their articles will likely be more valuable than any content purchased from a broker ghostwriter.

Your Marketing Coordinator can help by creating a keyword-rich idealist and publishing calendar for each expert. Over time, your team members may come to appreciate their newfound recognition as published authors.

Make Each Contributor a Google+ Account and Link Them as an Author.

Google+ is emerging as a major player in the Social Media industry. Although companies and individuals are still trying to figure out how to best use Google+, this platform shouldn’t be ignored.

Make sure each of your blog’s contributors has a Google+ account that links them to your website as an author. As readers +1 their articles it will increase the page rank of the post and website.

Your Marketing Coordinator should be able to connect your author’s Google+ page to your website. If you have a WordPress site, this is easy to do with plugins or your admin panel.

Syndicate Your Content on Relevant Websites.

Other websites in your industry are looking for valuable content. You may be part of an industry association that is looking for regular articles for their website.

Create a list of industry-related websites and contact them about syndicating your articles. Syndication can create valuable traffic back to your site and increase the authority of your in house experts.

Share Your Content Across the Main Social Platforms.

Leverage your new content by sharing it across the major Social Media platforms. If you are a B2B company, you may want to focus on LinkedIn. If you are B2C, your choice may be Facebook.

Take time to identify the best platforms for your particular business. This will save you time and money when it comes time to publish your content. Don’t feel that you need to be on every platform. Attempting this can reduce the ROI on your marketing efforts.

You can also save time by using publishing tools like HootSuite. HootSuite allows you to schedule publication across multiple platforms at once.

Make it Easy to Read Your Content With an Email Newsletter.

Try to identify how your market prefers to receive their content. Many people still prefer to have valuable information come to them in their email inbox. Creating a simple email newsletter that links readers back to your website may increase the readership of your content.

Having an email newsletter also gives you the opportunity to make special offers and promotions that may not have been included in the most recent posts.

If your company doesn’t have an email database of customers and prospects, this task should go to the very top of your marketing list. Your contact database can become one of your most valuable assets.

8 Ways You Can Become a Copycat Success

January 23rd, 2014

Image of a copycat thinking outside the box.The great and wise Solomon once said, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” and he meant nothing, not even new ideas.

“What do you mean?” you might say. “That can’t be right. I see new ideas around me all the time. On top of that, I’ve got to make my own new ideas if I want to be a success. You mean my ideas aren’t new? What am I going to do now?”

You Can Become a Copycat Success

I know, I know, your mom, your dad, your teachers, all told you as a child, not to copy someone else’s work. They told you it was bad to copy, right? And you believed them? I know I did. In fact for years, as a young artist, I struggled to come up with new art ideas.

Then one day I learned it’s OK to be a copycat. That’s right. I discovered that even the best artists use copied images, photos, and many other bits and pieces from other people. They then modify, adjust, and massage these elements into their own product.

Need another example? The self-improvement industry is a good one. Do you think that all the contemporary self-improvement gurus are coming up with all new ideas, methods, systems? I used to think that.

Then I started reading authors from the early 20th century. Authors like Napoleon Hill, one of the founding fathers of success philosophy, Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, and more.

Today, when you read most any modern self-improvement author, trainer, or speaker, you’ll likely recognize seeds of Hill’s writings in their own work. What teachers like Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield do is gather wisdom from the ages and from around the world, organize it into books, package it, and present the ideas to a contemporary audience.

What does this mean to you and me? It means there’s nothing new. It means we don’t have to stress and strain to come up with that are 100% new.

Creating Something Meaningful By Copying

You don’t have to make something new, to make something meaningful and valuable. You can take an old idea, dress it up with your own experience, knowledge, wisdom, and share it with the world, and they’ll buy it. Why? Because an idea that seems new today is simply new to the people in this generation, people who are encountering things that they haven’t previously encountered. Each generation has new people looking for help solving their problems.

So how do you become a good copycat? How do you overcome that childhood law not to copy? To copy or not to copy, that is the question.

OK. Before we go on any further, let me say, I support copyright laws.

I am a staunch supporter of copyright, patent, and trademark laws. I don’t like, nor condone piracy for any reason, unless it’s Johnny Depp, in The Pirates of the Caribbean.

In fact, I was glad to see the Google Books attempt to copy books without permission to remain unsuccessful. I know how much work goes into the creation of a book.

I believe if you work hard to create something, you have a right to protect it or give it away for free, it’s completely your choice. I’m not suggesting taking someone’s book, changing the author’s name, and saying you wrote the book. I’m not saying copy someone’s programming code, repackage it, and sell it as your own. I believe that’s a crime, and always should be, unless you (Google Books) have paid for the license or right to do so.

8 Secrets to Becoming a Successful Copycat

  1. Keep track of what inspires you. A good copycat will always have a scrapbook full of images, sketches, stories, and other ideas.
  2. Let the good in and good will come out. Look at the masters in your area of interest. Their execution of ideas will inspire your own ideas. Your own ideas may come out as a combination of multiple ideas, which in their bits and pieces, were created by others.
  3. Avoid recreating the wheel. If you like the packaging design of a product, why struggle to create your own? If you like the cover of a book, its colors, font style, image placement, why struggle to create something without inspiration.
  4. Follow the experts. This is similar to number two. But, back to books. If you need to design a book cover for your latest novel or non-fiction, and you can’t afford to hire a designer, check out the bestseller list. It’s likely books on that list were designed by professional designers. You’ll find plenty of ideas for your own book cover.
  5. When possible, hire an expert. I’m in the process of publishing the fourth book in a series for an author. The previous publisher used the same artist on the first three books. Now, I’d like to save some money and not have to hire an artist, however, saving the money is not worth breaking the integrity of the series. Sometimes an expert is worth the price.
  6. Copy ideas, not words. The wonderful thing about the current copyright laws is that they don’t protect ideas. For example; you can’t copy the idea of a book about Google Glass. You can only copyright the compilation of the author’s words. You can’t copyright or protect the idea of writing a book, then creating an audio version, then turning it into a speech, and so on. If you need ideas that can help you grow your business, look at what other businesses are successfully doing to grow. Then, copy like crazy.
  7. Be respectful and follow the current laws. As a copycat, always follow the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Be respectful, give credit where credit is due, and always follow the law.
  8. Form a partnership. Do you see a product you’d like to have in your business? Contact the creator of that product and pursue a partnership. Forming a win-win partnership may save you a lot of time, money, and frustration trying to duplicate their system, process, or idea.

Look around. Everywhere you look, you’ll see copycaters big and small. FedEx just copied the US Postal Service and is now offering their own Flat Rate Shipping. Not a new idea.

Blockbuster tried to copy Netflix and get into the DVD by mail, but, too late to the game, they failed. It wasn’t a new idea for them. Redbox is copied by Imozi in offering movies from vending machines. There are currently multiple players in the vending space. Not a new idea.

Water from a machine. Not a new idea. Discount shopping warehouses. Not a new idea. These ideas have multiple players in the space. Each player is putting their own little spin on the idea. Each one is looking at the other saying, “How can we copy them? How can we do it better? How can we capture market share?”

In fact, according to the CNBC special program, The Costco Craze, Inside the Warehouse Giant, Costco has employees that go into competitor’s stores to track and send real-time pricing and product information back to the home office. They call it market research. I call it copycatting.

Don’t wait for a new idea to spring to mind. Go out and look for an idea to copy. Write a different book on the same topic with a unique spin. Make your own hamburger with a unique sauce. Make ribs without the bone.

Good Copycats Make Better Ribs

On a recent Shark Tank, “Bubbas Q Boneless Baby Back Ribs” entrepreneur, Al “Bubba” Davis presented his boneless rib idea.

Bar-B-Que ribs are not a new idea. Many people restaurants make and serve great Bar-B-Que ribs. Other restaurants in Bubba’s area serve ribs. But, one day Bubba said to himself, “What if we do something different with our ribs?” So he did. He took the bones out of the ribs and had a hit. Just a little twist to an old idea and you have a “Why didn’t I think of that moment?”

When you’re a good copycat, your big idea may come from simply adding a twist to the product or service that is already available.


This article is presented solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this article, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness of use for a particular purpose. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information or programs contained herein. You should seek the services of a competent professional before beginning any copycat program.

The Choice Is Yours

January 20th, 2014

Image of man leaping across a gap.Are you ready to get it? Ready to go get your dream? Ready to rip it down from the sky, to make it your own?

Or, are you losing faith, losing ground? Are you at the end of your rope, out of hope?

Are you trying to go it alone? Does anyone get your dream, your big idea? What you put into your mind will impact what you put out, how you get up, how you fall, and how you rise.

You Are Not Alone

You are not alone. Someone has gone before you. Someone has conquered that mountain. Someone has scored that impossible hit. Someone has changed the world.

Are you ready to be next? Are you ready to kick it, hit it, launch it, leap off it? Are you ready to fly over it, around it?

There’s a fire burning in each one of us. For some, it’s only a flicker, threatened by every passing trial. For others it’s a raging inferno, threatening to blaze a trail across time and space.

Are You Ready to Burn?

Every inferno begins with a spark, every flame can be fanned into a blaze. Are you ready to burn? You can. It’s entirely up to you. It’s your choice. You can fan the flame or cast the blame. You can get in the game or sit it out in shame. It’s entirely up to you.

Your dream is real. Your dream deserves to be brought into the light. You deserve to reach your peak.

What is in your way? What is bigger than your faith? What is stronger than your courage?

The Creator said, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.” The Creator said, “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of courage.”

Gather up your courage, act on your faith. Your life will never be the same. Are you ready? Ready to get back in the game?

Take Action Now To Get Your Dream

If you haven’t watched this short film above, do so now. It’s like lighter fluid to the flame. Bookmark it and watch it again and again. I know you’ll feel the burn, the heat, the drive, the determination to get up, cast of, put to sea, go all in, give it your best and forget all the rest. You can and you will, when you choose.

The choice is up to you and me.

10 Myths About Big Ideas

January 17th, 2014

Image about the 10 myths of big ideas.What is it that allows some people to seem to have a steady flow of Big Ideas while others seem to live in a desert devoid of creativity? It is the way men and women think. There are those that think they can, and those that think they can not. Both end up being right in the outcome. Do you want to break the chains that may be keeping you from Big Ideas? Then begin by casting off these 10 Myths About Big Ideas.

The Dime Myth About Big Ideas

How many times have you heard or even said to yourself or someone else, “Ideas are a dime a dozen.” I myself have made this statement entirely too many times. Even as someone who values ideas, and prides himself as being able to come up with great Big Ideas, I’ve used this statement.

But it’s a myth. Ideas are not cheap. Good ideas, even when they seem to just pop out of the air, can not be had for a dime a dozen. The problem with this myth is that it lessens the value of a good idea. It immediately decreases the potential of the imaginator and his idea.

People have a tendency to devalue things that aren’t paid for with cold, hard cash or blood, sweat, and tears. When the farmer stands at the edge of his furrowed field, a bag of seed at his feet, the value of that bag is equal to the value of his harvest. Without the seed of an idea, there is no harvest.

Begin to cherish and protect your ideas. Most importantly, plant them in fertile earth and prepare for the harvest.

The Harebrained Myth About Big Ideas

“Here comes another harebrained idea.” You’ve heard it before. You’ve probably used the term yourself when referring to a friend’s or colleague’s idea. Merriam-Webster defines harebrained as foolish, absurd, or ridiculous.

Many Big Ideas initially appear harebrained, at first glance. We’ve all heard of the Pet Rock, Tupperware, Post-It Notes, and Velcro. Big Ideas that weren’t initially seen as brilliant, that later became runaway best sellers or household names.

In order to overcome this myth, which is responsible for killing many good ideas, we need to embrace the brilliance of every idea. Only when ideas are welcomed with open arms can they turn into Big Ideas. By labeling an idea or an imaginator as harebrained, we can shut down the benefits embodied within the seed of the idea.

The Lack Myth About Big Ideas

Many people believe there is a limited supply of ideas. You may have heard of the statement made by Charles H. Duell, who was the Commissioner of the US patent office in 1899, “everything that can be invented has been invented.” Though this statement itself turns out to be a myth, according to, it shows up regularly in the conversation surrounding ideas and the promotion of creative thinking.

I’ve heard many times, “I can’t think of any Big Ideas.” “I’m not an idea person.” Statements like this suggest a limited quantity of available ideas, and that only other people can come up with good ideas. Personally, I don’t believe there is any shortage of good ideas, only of people willing to take a chance on an idea and bring it to life. All you have to do is spend some time online to see a continuous flow of ideas that will change the world. Some of these Big Ideas, like 3D printing, will change how we all do things on an everyday level.

The Uniqueness Myth About Big Ideas

Many imaginators think that their idea is unique, that they can safely put it away to bring to life at a later date. I’ve learned that this is not true. I’ve learned that hard way that an idea not acted upon will fly on-and-on until someone takes action upon it.

Two personal examples include an idea I had for a round refrigerator that would be a boon to men who don’t want to reach into the back of the refrigerator to find out what there is to eat. My idea would turn the refrigerator shelving into organized Lazy Susans, making it easy to access every item in the refrigerator.

Years later, while thumbing through a magazine, I saw my idea in full color. Someone else had created it.

Another example is connected to the iPhone. I owned one of the first iPhones on the market. At the time, I often listened to music using the phone’s built-in speaker. One day, while listening to music, I noticed that if I held my hand in the right positing the volume seemed to increase. I got in the habit of holding the phone in my open palm with a portion of my hand curved, allowing the sound to bounce back toward me instead of away from me.

Sometime later, I discovered a new project on Kickstarter run by a couple of guys who had discovered the same thing and actually created a solution with the same Big Idea. This confirmed to me that you can’t sit on an idea. They don’t like it. Eventually, they’ll get up and move to someone who will take them seriously.

The Good as It Gets Myth About Big Ideas

Picture of man with big ideas.Unfortunately, This is a myth by which many creative people and businesses live. It’s in the same family as “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This myth has actually been the death of many a once-thriving business.

Take Blockbuster, for example. They had a chain of video rental stores that was unbeatable in selection. They put many small video stores out of business. Their idea was to “make physical recordings of movies and games available for people to rent in our store.” Blockbuster saw the store idea and said we can do it bigger and better. They got into the “come into our store” rental business. And stopped there.

When DVDs became popular, Blockbuster stayed with the store idea. “Let’s make our customers come to us.” Then someone said, “We can do better. We can take our store to them.” Netflix was born. When Netflix was created, Blockbuster could have taken advantage of the same services, the internet, and the US Postal Service. But they didn’t. They stuck with their good idea. In the end, the belief that their idea was as good as it was going to get killed the giant retailer.

The Do It Later Myth About Big Ideas

This myth is the brother of The Uniqueness Myth. Putting off a good idea until later can cost an individual or business millions in lost revenue. Many ideas are good for only a short time. If not acted upon right away, new technology can come along and make them obsolete.

Kodak is an example of “The Do It Later Myth”. Kodak said “We’ll get into digital later if it proves valuable. People have been using film for decades. They won’t change. Film is so much better than digital.” Where is Kodak today? They tried to get in later, but it was too difficult. Other companies had already invested in the new digital technology for years and their costs were down as a result. Kodak came in with inferior products at a higher cost.

Beware, many ideas have a limited lifespan. If you wait too long, their value dissipates and even disappears.

The Simplicity Myth About Big Ideas

This myth says, “Ideas are easy to come up with. Anybody can do it. Why even try.” True, some very good ideas have seemed to come out of nowhere. But many ideas have been developed with hard, focused effort. At first sight, the ideas we see around us seem very simple. Have you ever said, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

This myth also devalues the creative person. While creativity is a gift all have received, it is still of great value. Some people seem to be more able to come up with good ideas. Some see more inclined to turn the ideas into reality. Thomas Edison, for example, came up with a great many ideas. Some of his inventions originated in his mind, others came from colleagues and other sources. It was through hard work, collaboration, and persistence that Thomas Edison became one of the world’s greatest imaginators.

The Thief Myth About Big Ideas

This myth is not all make-believe. Piracy is alive and well today. China continues to knockoff ideas left and right despite patents. This is very discouraging to inventors. It can be very deadly to a business to have the market flooded with imitations. But the real danger of this myth is that thinking that “Someone will steal my idea” has kept many ideas from even being attempted.

I’ve met authors who didn’t write because they didn’t want someone to steal their book idea. Screenwriters that didn’t write the screenplay because someone would steal their movie idea. People who live by this myth are actually stealing from themselves. They steal the opportunity the might have benefited from had they brought their idea to fruition.

Someone may be able to steal some of your ideas, but they can’t steal your passion. They can’t steal your knowledge. No one can steal your level of commitment.

The Someone Else’s Idea Myth About Big Ideas

“Somebody already thought of that. There’s nothing I can do to make it better.” Many of the products we use today were originally conceptualized first by a different inventor. This myth is the opposite of the “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.”

While the mousetrap analogy is a bit oversimplified, many inventors have been successful by reinventing ideas in a better way. Google wasn’t the first search engine. But they did it better, and the world beats a path to their door every day. Apple wasn’t the first personal computer. But they did it better, and the world beats a path to their door.

If you know you can do it better, you probably can. If your idea is just to do it differently, you may not succeed unless your “difference” makes your idea more cost-efficient. The Japanese didn’t originally make better cars, their ideas weren’t better, but they became competitive because they learned how to do it differently.

These ideas at first seemed simple. “Let’s make a computer, too.” “Let’s make cars to sell to America.” The development of these better ideas requires many more difficult ideas to be created. Within the tiny acorn lies the mighty oak.

The Can’t Be Done Myth About Big Ideas

This is probably one of the most encountered myths of all. “Great idea, but it can’t be done.” “We’d like to do that, but it can’t be done.” How many times have you said, “It can’t be done”? This myth has been busted so many times, I’m amazed we still use these words.

Can’t sail around the world. Done. Can’t go to the moon. Done. Can’t jump across the Grand Canyon. Done. Can’t go to Mars. I imagine they’ll get that done too. (This article was written before Elon Musk came onto the scene with his mission to Mars idea.)

Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Which one do you want to be right about? Do you think you can write a best selling novel? You can. Do you think you can turn your idea into the Next Big Idea? You can. Do you think you can go into space as a space tourist? You can do that too.

Napoleon Hill said, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” For all the ideas that people have had and said “can’t be done”, there have been others who have said, “How can it be done?” Which one will you choose to be?

Make Your Own Book Cover Design

January 14th, 2014

bigstock-Think-Outside-The-Box-Iii-41249215Think your book cover design isn’t important? Think again. Book covers sell books. Whether you are a self-published author, or a traditionally published author, your book’s cover is the first thing your prospective readers will see. Here’s how to make your own book cover design whether you are using it to share with family and friend, sell it on Amazon and in bookstores, or offer it as an e-book.

This article will show you how to:

  1. How to Make Your Own Book Cover Design for Personal Use
  2. How to Make Your Own Book Cover Design for Publication
  3. How to Make Your Own Book Cover Design for e-Books

How Buyers Make Book Buying Decisions

Step One: The buyer sees the front cover of your book, likes the color, image, and title. The buyer goes to Step Two.

Step Two: The buyer clicks on your book to read the book summary or picks it up a bookstore and flips it over to read the Back Cover Copy. The buyer likes the summary or back copy and moves to Step Three.

Step Three: The buyer opens the book to look inside, reads the first page of Chapter One, likes it, and moves to Step Four.

Step Four: The buyer purchases your book; or, the buyer doesn’t like it, puts the book down, and chooses another title.

When you make your own book cover design, it’s important to remember, though, that many book buyers skip Step Three if they like Step 1 and Step 2. I’ve purchased many books this way. In fact, I’ve even purchased books simply because they had a Great Book Title.

“What if my book cover isn’t facing out?” Great question. This is why a Great Book Title is so important. Most bookstores can only afford to put a few books on the shelf with the front cover facing out. This leaves the majority of books with only about an inch or less of advertising space. In this case, insert Step One-A: The buyer sees your Great Book Title, picks up the book, and turns to the front cover, continuing to Step One.

book-cover-template-images2Learning how to make your own book cover design can save you money as a self-publishing author. For many authors, it can make the difference between seeing the book printed and bound, and available for reading, or simply remain a document on their computer.

It’s not as difficult to make your own book cover as it once was. Today, you can find software and templates that will help you create an attractive and professional-looking book cover. If you have basic computer skills and can follow instructions for using software like Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop or InDesign You can make your own book covers. You can also use free software like and Gimp, to can make your own book cover design.

For years, I’ve been making book cover designs for self-published authors. I started out in self-publishing in the late 90s using WordPerfect and CorelDRAW, when they were still popular. For the self-publishing author with some design skills and a little patience, you can create attractive book covers that sell.

Before sitting down to your computer to make your own book cover design, it’s important to consider some very important factors. First of all, how will you be publishing your book and what is the market? Some authors just want an attractive cover so they can print the book and share it with friends and family. Other authors have a tight budget and have the goal of publishing their book on Amazon in print form or as an e-book.

If you are either type of author, making your own book cover design can save you money and provide an additional creative outlet for your book project.

Make Your Own Book Cover Design for Personal Use

Learning how to make your own book cover design for personal use is very easy and requires less consideration than for public publication. For this process, you may want to simply use Microsoft Word or a program like

If you are going to have your book printed in a size smaller than 8.5” x 11”, you’ll want to make sure to consider whether your cover will have a solid color that runs to the edge of the book or “bleeds”. Getting a bleed on your cover is achieved by printing your cover on paper larger than the final book and then trimming the bound book to size.

If the background color of the book will be white, it will be easier to produce without trying to set up bleeds. Just remember to keep about a .25” to .5” margin around your book images and title. This will ensure that they don’t get trimmed off during the binding.

If you want to create a full-color cover with a solid color or a complete image making up the book cover, you can easily create a bleed in your Microsoft Word cover document.

Here’s how to create a bleed in a Microsoft Word Document:

Step One: Go to Page Setup. You may find this under the Page Layout Menu, depending on your version of Word. Click on the Paper tab and add a quarter of an inch, .25” to the width and a quarter of an inch, .25, to the height.

Step Two: Go to the Margins tab or menu in Page Setup and add .125” to each of your margins. Adding this additional 1/8” inch will make sure your text and design stay where you want it to be.

Step Three: Adjust Cover Artwork. Once your page settings have been changed, adjust your cover artwork, images, or background color to the new page size.

You now have your bleed. When your book is bound and trimmed, the art will go all the way to the edge of the book.

When designing your cover, it’s important to keep in mind how many pages the book will have. This determines the size of the spine. Check with your printer. They can give you the thickness of the book based on the type of paper the book will be printed on.

Many publishers offer free book cover templates for Microsoft Word. Beginning with a template can save you a lot of time and frustration when you want to make your own book cover design.

Make Your Own Book Cover Design for Publication

Making your own book cover design for publication is a bit more involved and will require more time for your first few attempts as you learn to use your chosen software. The first covers I designed back in the 90s were created in WordPerfect using simple clip art. These designs were nothing to write home about, but they served the purpose of getting the books designed, printed, and available for sale to the authors market.

Image of book cover designs you can use do make your own book cover designs.Step One: Research. Before even beginning to make your own book cover design, you need to do some research. Whether you go to or your local book store, take some time to get a feel for book design and what you like. In my early days as a cover designer, I used to steal cover design concepts, and I still keep an eye on what designs are used for top-selling books.

Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from top paid designers. Never, I mean never, try to make a book cover design without collecting samples of books you like. This step alone will save you countless hours of frustration and multiple redesigns.

Step Two: General Layout. Once you find 3-4 book designs that you like, make your own simple mockups using your title, images, and colors. Don’t worry about spending time finalizing your image or title font, just get the size, shapes, and colors laid out. Print out several different versions and ask your family and friends to pick their favorite.

If you do have plenty of time and are really enjoying the process, you may want to make several “final” versions with the exact image, fonts, and color, etc. A picture is worth a thousand words and seeing your book cover in full color will be both motivating and inspiring.

Step Three: Finalize the Cover. If you used a program like Microsoft Word or to do your initial mockup, it’s now time to move to the final software you will be using. It is possible to use Word or for your final cover, but they are limited in the design options you will have.

I recommend using a professional program like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. One thing to keep in mind when choosing your design program is the final output of the design. When you use Adobe Photoshop, the entire output is an image. This can create a rather large file, even when saving it as a jpeg or PDF. For this reason, I have come to appreciate Adobe InDesign for its flexibility and smaller file output options.

Using professional-grade software can be daunting at first. But don’t let that put you off. If you like the creative aspect of making your own book cover designs, like saving money, have the extra time after your writing, then I think you’ll find this software the better choice for design in the long run, especially if you plan to self-publish multiple titles.

Help I Married a Survivor by David ValentinMany designers and publishers offer free book cover templates for InDesign. Beginning with a template can save you a lot of time and frustration. If you want to see some covers I’ve created using InDesign, visit my portfolio. The newer book designs were all created using InDesign.

Make Your Own Book Cover Design for e-Books

Making your own book cover design for an e-book requires some special consideration. If you are starting with an e-book, but plan on eventually going to print, make sure your initial design is optimized for viewing on e-book readers.

Take a look at the books available on your Kindle or Nook. You will see first of all that the covers are all very small or thumbnail size. This is very important because, like a print book sitting on a shelf in a book store, e-book covers sell e-books. In designing book covers for e-books sold on Kindle, Nook, or other devices, size matters. If you’re selling a download PDF version of your e-book, this is not as critical.

Because many of your readers will be making their purchasing decision right from their e-book reader, it’s very important that your final book cover design looks good as a thumbnail. Not only in color, but also as a black and white thumbnail.

On my Kindle, I make purchasing decisions based, in part, on an image that is less than .5” x .75”. Now, this is not the size of the image that you will have to create or upload to Kindle. Amazon automatically resizes your cover image. But if you want to see how your thumbnail size cover will look to your buyers, resize a color and black and white image of your front cover down to this size. Even on my Kindle, when I buy, the first thing I look at is the cover.

Step One: Research. Whether you’re making an e-book only cover, or a cover for print, still do your research. I always get great ideas for my designs by looking at what has already been created. It also helps me keep in mind what not to do, such as use fancy script fonts for the Great Book Title I create.

Step Two: Create a Mockup or Design. With an e-book only cover, all you have to do is create the front cover design. This simplifies the design work you have to do. However, if you think you’ll be using the same cover for a print version, take the extra time and create the full front and back cover of your design.

To convert the full cover to your e-book cover you’ll only need to convert it to an image, jpeg, and crop it to the front cover image. Now, when you’re ready to go to print the book, you’ll have a lot of the work already completed.

Step Three: Make sure your design looks good in the various recommended sizes for Kindle, Nook, and other e-book publishers. Once you’ve saved your cover as a jpeg, you can easily resize it to see how it looks.

Software to Make Your Own Book Cover Design

Choosing the right software for making your own book cover design depends on several factors.

Factor One: Your budget. As an author, you probably already have a copy of Microsft Word. This is the most affordable way to go, and probably the easiest.

For a bigger budget, I recommended Adobe InDesign or Photoshop. Getting access to these programs is not as expensive as it once was. With the new Adobe Creative Cloud, you can have access to Adobe’s Creative Suite programs for only $49.99 per month for an annual membership plan. If you only want one program, like InDesign, you can get access for only $19.99 per month.

Factor Two: Ease of use. Adobe programs and even free programs like Gimp, require more time for becoming familiar with the menus and other options. However, there are many YouTube videos that will show you how to do virtually anything with these programs, saving you a lot of time and frustration trying to figure it out on your own.

Take my advice. If you don’t know how to do it, just Google it.

Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of what’s involved in making your own book cover design, it’s time to decide if you’ll do it yourself, or higher a professional designer to create the cover for you.

Even if you do higher a graphic designer or freelance book cover designer to make a book cover design for your self-published book, it’s valuable to understand the process so you can clearly communicate what you want in a cover.

As a self-published author, you have the final say over your book’s cover, unlike traditionally published books. Take the time to get an idea about what you think looks good. If you’re like most authors, you buy a lot of books and you know what you like. You can make your own book cover design if you’re willing to put the time in to learn how.

3D Printing for Small Business

January 8th, 2014

Mojo 3D printer for small business.A few years ago I noticed several 3D Printer projects on the crowd funding site Kickstarter. The concept was interesting to me at the time and I could see a lot of potential for 3D printing for small business applications. Other interests soon took the place of this new technology in my mind and I forgot all about it. That is until I came across the infomercial for a well known investment publication promoting the the opportunity to invest in a new technology that is cutting edge.

After doing some research on a story mentioned in the infomercial, I discovered that this new technology is 3D printing. The infomercial went on to describe how a young man had used this techno to manufacture a fully functioning gun using blueprints found on the internet. Now this particular article is not an investment article, I’m not encouraging you to invest in 3D printing stocks. I’m just hoping to set the stage for the small business owner who may have heard of 3D printing but thinks it’s a thing of the future.

3D Printing for Small Business at UPS Stores

The future has arrived. In fact, 3D printing for small business has already arrived in your local Staples and UPS Store. While researching this article, I was dumbfounded to discover that not only is 3D printing a real, affordable and accessible technology. Today, you can have a 3D print made while you’re picking up your business mail.

According to UPS, the company has moved forward with 3D printing after polling some of its small business customers. The poll revealed significant interest among small business owners for 3D printing services.

3D Printing Can Change Your Business

When the technology first came out it was a novelty. I remember seeing people create rough figurines and game pieces. Today, that has all changed. Recently I viewed a CBS news store about how a boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3-D printer. This popular YouTube video has received over 1.5 million since being posted in October, 2013.

3D printing will be the technology that changes 2014 for individuals, investors, and small businesses, worldwide. Imagine how you to can print a hand for a loved one or a friend from a machine that costs a fraction of the price of a professionally manufactured prosthetic.

Often a new technology will be limited in access to the general public and small business owners due to the high cost of entry. I remember when DVD players, then later blu-ray players first came on the market. In 2006, consumers had to pay $1000 for the privilege of owning this new technology, just so they could watch movies. In 1997, a 42” flat screen plasma TV would set you back $15,000.

In the recent Special Issue of Make: magazine, I was stunned to see that you could purchase a 3D printer for as little as $300. This is the price of a good quality ink jet or laser printer today. I’m thinking of donating one to my local school.

Back in the early days of my publishing business, we spent over $5000 for a color laser printer for our business without thinking about it. It enabled us to self publish thousands of books before Print on Demand (POD) was even popular.

The New Print On Demand for Small Businesses

While 3D printing is still in its infancy, it doesn’t have the same barrier to entry that other game changing technology has had in the past. Imagine printing parts and products on demand as the book publishing industry has been doing. POD has changed the publishing industry. I believe that 3D POD will do the same for manufacturing.

Do you want to take your business to the next level? Do you have product ideas you’d like to bring to market but can afford the costs of making multiple prototypes? Now you can save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by making your own prototypes and even salable products.

Whether you’re in the custom vehicle industry, make one of a kind motorcycles or cars, a 3D printer can take your concepts from the drawing board straight into the shop. For the restoration business, parts once difficult or impossible to find can now be printed in your office.

Think you’ve got time to catch up? In 2009, RedEye produces the world’s first full-scale custom chopper 3D prototype using FDM. Using technology developed by Stratasys Ltd., a full-scale was easily printed. Just imagine what you can do with this technology in your business. A quick view of the Stratasys YouTube channel revealed 3D Guitars, parts for Oreck vacuum cleaners, even truck fenders.

Do you remember when you could finally purchase a desktop printer and end trips to the copy center? Well, you can do it again. Stratasys has created a desktop printer that looks and functions as easily as your laser or ink jet printer. The Mojo is a plug and play 3D printer for your small business. The Mojo 3D Printer allows you to print professional 3D models right at your desk for as little as $189 per month on a business equipment lease from Purple Platypus.

3D POD will enable companies to create new products in real time. Imagine if your client loves your product, but would like to make a small change so that it would work better with their business. Now you can customize it in your computer and print out a custom version just for them. Talk about customer service.

The Sky is Your Limit with 3D Printing for Small Business

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The small business owner can find a 3D printer to meet any need. Whether your idea is for novelty items for your online or retail business, or you want to create precision parts for manufacturing, now you can. From bringing ideas to life to full-scale production, 3D printing has changed the way things will be made from now on.

What’s in your computer that you haven’t been able to afford to bring to life? What’s in your sketch book that you’ve dreamed of making but the cost of molds and prototypes made it impossible? How can you change your business, your family, your community, the world with your imagination? If you can imagine it, you can create it with 3D printing.

Four Steps to Conquering Can’t

November 22nd, 2013

Image of man conquering can't.We are like ants. Our strength is much greater than our size. Because of this, the possibilities for what we can create, or destroy, are endless.

Despite their diminutive size, ants have held our curiosity for thousands of years. We have both battled them as pests and studied their industry. We are amazed at their ability to construct, communicate, and destroy as a unit.

The great King Solomon advised us to “go to the ant and consider her ways.” When we do this, we are amazed that such a little creature can do so much.

“Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labor, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.” Lewis Thomas

Can’t is a Four Letter Word

Over the past few years, the word can’t has made it onto my list of inappropriate four letter words. When used, this word is like a colony of ants in their destructive mode. This single word can quickly tear down all possibilities.

Why is can’t such a terrible word? It is most commonly used as a first descriptor of a given situation. When we don’t have any answer, or know how to do a certain thing, we quickly say, “I can’t do this,” or I can’t do that”.

It’s almost an auto response for many people.

On a Mission to Exterminate Can’t

I’m on a personal mission to exterminate the use of the word can’t. This tiny word is one of the most destructive words in the English language.

  • Can’t is water on the flame of innovation.
  • Can’t eliminates even the most simple possibilities.
  • Can’t is the needle to the balloon of enthusiasm.

Strong words, you say. Absolutely. When battling the destructive can’t species, I believe only the strongest pesticides will work. How do you use can’t? Are you using this little destructor in your personal relationships, in your business? Pay attention to your own speech. You may be using it more frequently then you realize.

As a child, I often heard, “We can’t do it because we don’t have the money.” In businesses I’ve worked with I’ve often heard the same thing, “We can’t do it because we don’t have the money.” Of course these may both be accurate statements at the moment they are spoken, or they may only be a perception of the situation.

I’m not apposed to identifying that at a given moment an activity may or may not be possible. “At this exact moment, I can’t purchase the item, because I don’t have the money.” However, this is where most people stop in their personal life and in business.

Instead of stopping at the moment, I encourage you to quickly move beyond what may be obvious to you and simply entertain the idea that you can, in fact, do it, simply by finding a way.

Change Can’t to See Ants

Let’s go to the ant for a moment and evaluate their ways.

  • Some ants can support up to 100 times their weight while hanging upside down on glass.
  • Ants move an estimated 50 tons of soil per year in one square mile.
  • Ants and humans are the only creatures that farm other animals.

Now let’s go to the human and just glimpse what we can do.

  • Humans can find a way to go to the moon, and now, Mars.
  • Humans can find a way to capture the sun in a tiny glass sphere.
  • Humans can take an empty void and fill it with amazing structures.

“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.” Mortimer Adler

Can’t is death to ideas. It snuffs out their life at an early stage. Throughout human history we have seen dreamers, imaginators, visionaries, describe the seemingly impossible. Everyone of them had their detractors. And yet, through their courageous vision, we have all benefited from what “can’t” be done.

Humans are superior to ants, and yet we so often forget this.

  • “We can’t go to the moon, it’s not possible.”
  • “We can’t keep the patent and trademark office open, everything has already been invented.”
  • And on and on it goes.

Thank God there are those visionaries who turn the can’t into “see ants”. They see the possibilities. Instead of saying “I can’t,” they say “How can I?”. Everyday we benefit from what these visionaries create. How much more could we do in our own lives if we would just eliminate that little four letter word, “can’t”?

Four Steps to Conquering Can’t

Step One – Listen

Listen to your conversation, both audible, and what goes on inside your head. Recognize your use of this word. You don’t have to mention it to anyone. You don’t even have to acknowledge to anyone that you are committed to eliminating it from your vocabulary.

Step Two – Ask

Every time you catch yourself making the statement “can’t”, turn it around into a question. Ask yourself, “How can I do it?” “How can I get the money?” “How can I write the book?” “How can I take the trip?” “How can I go back to school.?” Whatever it is, there is very likely a way to do it or get it. Don’t forget to ask Google.

Step Three – Write

Write down any options that you come up with, no matter how silly they may seem. This is very important to your creative process. Do not prejudge any options or solutions that you or anyone else comes up with. Many times, your solution will appear farther down the list. Prejudging your options is a negative attitude that can often cause the flow of creative solutions to dry up before the right solution is created.

Have fun with this step. Fun fosters creativity. Get your family and friends involved. Play a game with two rules; 1) Anything goes. 2) No negative attitude.

Need 10 million dollars? Robert Schuller did. He made a list entitled “10 Ways to Get a Million Dollars”. An idea on the list fit the need. He raised the money and built the Crystal Cathedral.

Make your own list; “10 Ways to ________”. You may be surprised to find a simple solution to your own challenge.

Step Four – Take Action

Select the best option from step three and create a list of tasks or actions that you need to take. The victory goes to him who takes action. When take creative action, you can end up at the moon.

“Men of action, above all those whose actions are guided by love, live forever.”
Jose Marti

“Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Big Idea Development – The First Step

November 22nd, 2013

“It’s much easier to not know things sometimes.” Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.Image of idea development team.

The individual who has no ideas can find that life is much easier lived. Without ideas, there is nothing to do. Without ideas there are no risks to take. Without ideas, the likelihood of failure is much less.

When you know things, you begin to have ideas, and when you begin to have ideas, things begin to happen. People begin to respond to you. They either respond with excitement, roll their eyes in disbelief, or begin to fear you.

So why, then, do so many of us pursue idea development? Why do we insist on creating new ideas? Or, if we have no good ideas, why do we try to seek them out?

Idea development is a natural process in humanity. Everything we own, use, discard, began as an idea. The computer I’m writing on was once an idea that was scoffed at, and yet, it’s creator persisted to pursue the idea.

How did he do that? What is the process of taking a spark of inspiration and turning it into a physical object like a computer, our a masterpiece of sound that is the symphony? How does the individual or business with no ideas come up with and development valuable ideas?

Idea Development – Step One

Positive Attitude – The right attitude can make or break any idea development process. A positive attitude is the energy that drives creativity. Successful idea development relies on creative thinking. Without it, you will spend a lot of time at the drawing board.

Negative Attitude – Negative thinking has its place in the development process. However, when negative energy is brought in at the creation stage it can defeat the entire process.

It is essential to create and maintain a positive attitude in the initial stages. If you are creating in a group, set ground rules that permit acceptance of all ideas. Reserve the negative idea analysis for a separate time, once you’ve closed any creative sessions.

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Entering negative analysis too early in the game can lead to the defeat of good ideas and even prevent them from entering the field. The premature loss of a good idea on the alter of negative thinking can have expensive consequences.

Good ideas are like diamonds. You won’t often find them lying about on the surface of the ground. You may have to dig for them. This process is eased by keeping the process positive, allowing the introduction of any idea, however ridicules or seemingly impossible. These impossible ideas often lead to winning ideas that may be just the diamond you have been looking for.

Idea Development Rule Number One

All ideas are to be received with open arms.

Positive Encouragement of an Idea.

  • How can we do this?
  • What if we added, expanded, improved, enhanced, etc. the original idea?
  • And then?

Ideas should be received, recorded, enhanced if possible with related ideas, and left for further evaluation and analysis at a later date.

The creative process is a compounding process, easily grown through encouragement, or defeated through premature negative analysis.

Many ideas suffer a premature death when a member of the group, a friend or family member, or even the person who came up with the idea, prematurely states, “That’s impossible. That can’t be done. Nobody’s ever done that before.”

Even in the later stages of idea development, the negative analysis stage, these comments are destructive.

Negative Analysis of an Idea

  • Is this idea worth the investment of time and money?
  • Is there someone already doing this better and cheaper?
  • Are there any technology barriers to this idea?
  • Do we have the staff or support to bring this idea to life?

You will notice the difference in these two types of questions; positive and negative. The proper negative analysis of an idea validates the viability of the idea, instead of just knocking it down because its value is not yet seen. It determines if this is the right time for this particular idea. The purpose of this type of analysis is to identify any red flags or barriers to fulfilling the idea.

When done separately from the idea creation stage, this process allows the individual, company, or group to fairly evaluate individual ideas without dampening the creative process. Data can be analyzed in this process, along with supporting market research, to help determine whether it is practical to pursue the idea, or shelve it for development at a later date.

Using this simple, positive first, negative second, process will continue to foster idea development in the future. When group members know their ideas will be listened to, no matter how amazing, ridiculous, or imaginative they are, they will continue to look for and grow ideas until the next creative session. Far too many ideas have been flushed down the drain through the improper use and timing of negative analysis.

Give your team or group permission to put all their creative juices to work, without fear of rejection or criticism, and you will open the doors to a flood of creative energy.