Look back in history and you’ll find many companies that have missed out on smart innovations and creative ideas because someone in the organization didn’t know how to obtain the support necessary to bring those ideas to life.
In fact, the very first personal computers were built in the ‘70s by a company that departed the computing industry long ago – Xerox. Graphical user interfaces, window systems, Ethernet networking, laser printing and the mouse were all invented in Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center.
Most everyone knows the story of how Steve Jobs toured the Palo Alto facility and was inspired by what he saw. Bill Gates was similarly inspired. Thanks to them, the world changed, and us with it. But what happened to Xerox?
The Palo Alto team could not get the needed support from Xerox management to develop the revolutionary ideas and technologies they possessed.
Why couldn’t the inventors get this support? Were they unable to communicate the potential of their ideas? Perhaps they could have used findings from research revealing four of the best ways to gain acceptance of an entrepreneurial idea:
1. Align the idea with the firm’s overall strategy
2. Identify the resources needed to make the idea happen
3. Present the rewards of the idea to the proper audiences
4. Have an intense lobbying effort with decision makers and influencers
Getting the right support means knowing your stuff inside and out, but it also means understanding your audience. Is the audience a CEO, a CFO, a board and/or a senior sales director? Be sure to consider what motivates them when vying for support of your idea. Especially if nobody buys until they buy in.
Finally, getting support also means understanding your timing. By now, it’s well known that during tough times in the economy, strong marketing efforts enable firms to solidify their customer base, take business away from less aggressive competitors, and position themselves for accelerated growth once recovery begins. There is perhaps no better time to launch a new idea than the very moment when many are tempted to pull back.