May 28, 2024

The Second Step in Starting a Business: A Diary of Ideas

3 min read

If you are planning to start an enterprise of your own and are working on it, one extremely important investment that you immediately need to make for your upcoming venture is to buy a good, thick and sturdy diary.
No, I am not going to ask you to cultivate the habit of writing a diary everyday before you go to bed. My purpose is more mundane and profound.
Keep this diary at hand at all times. Keep it with you everywhere you go like the little lamb that a certain Mary had.
And what do you do with it? Use it to capture ideas and information you come across. As you get more and more involved in planning your venture or enterprise, you will be spending a lot of time thinking about its various aspects. The more you think the more ideas will come to your mind. These ideas will strike your mind at the most unexpected times: while talking to people, reading newspaper or magazines, watching TV, working on your laptop, chatting with your friends, surfing the Internet, listening to music, taking breakfast or bath or riding your bike to meet someone. There is no predicting when these ideas will pop up. As soon as an idea pops up, open your diary and jot it down. Understand that ideas are precious and must be collected. They must not be allowed to get lost. Also understand that ideas evaporate very fast. One very quickly forgets even the best ideas. Human memory is too poor and ill-equipped to retain and remember abstract ideas. So, quickly note these ideas. You may deal with them appropriately later on as you find time; but the immediate action point is to capture them.
And, of course, you can, will and should use it to note contact details of people, gist of discussions with them, and your expenses.
Techno-savvy as we are all, you will immediately ask, “But I’ve my laptop. Why keep a physical diary?” I agree that ultimately you should (and, I hope, you will) transfer that information on your laptop, duly classified. But for sheer convenience and instant access, a laptop cannot beat a diary. How long does it take to fire up a laptop, search and open the file and bring the cursor to the point where you will enter the fresh information? And how much time does it take to open your diary at the next available blank page, especially when it is already bookmarked, and whip out a pen to write?
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. There’s no count of the number of excellent ideas that occurred to me that were lost because I forgot them. I should have jotted them down. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you harvest your ideas.
Over a period, this diary and her successors will become a gold mine for you.
However, to take the full benefit of this great utility, there are a few things you need to do. For one, never make cryptic or one word jottings. You will observe, if you violate this rule, that the very next day, those words or cryptic remarks don’t make any sense to you. Some of my diaries are strewn with pearls like ‘the bicycle pedals’, ‘talk to Vijay’ ‘business and spinach’ and so on. At the time of writing, they must have made perfect sense, but no more. Alas! Those ideas are lost. Forever.
Secondly, elaborate the ideas jotted down at the earliest available opportunity. My observation about myself is that as soon as an idea occurs to me, there is a surge of the whole sequence, from start to finish, including even the exact wording and phrasing of it, where it fits in whatever I am currently doing and so on. If I capture it then, it comes out as very spontaneous and fresh. If delayed, they often look hammered out, artificial.
So, go get that diary. One day you will thank me for this.

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