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Make change, not just money

There are easier ways to turn a dollar. Plus the fundamentals.

Innovation is a far more radical notion than it often appears. Although this guide is about commercialising ideas, the effects of new ideas are far from just commercial.

If you are thinking of getting into this for the money, well, good luck. But money is a vastly overrated motivator. There are easier ways to turn a dollar, and there will be days, weeks, even whole months when those ways look a lot easier.

If you are thinking of doing this for fun, try sport. It’s a lot less effort, it’s better for your health and wellbeing, and unless you go really crazy on lycra and carbon fibre, it is less likely to bankrupt you.

As promised, we have offered numerous warnings about the pitfalls that await adventurers on this trail. So it’s worth asking ourselves the question: why bother? What are we doing this for?

Jon Perry, partner at Sopheon, says ideas can be divided into the good, the bad and the ugly.

“Being a business owner in New Zealand is in itself seen by many as innovative and gutsy. Keeping it going for a generation or more takes calculated risk and judgement. A lot of the motivation these days is just for short-term cash, whereas it’s better to aim for long term customer satisfaction and sustainable income. Short-term cash ideas are often bad or ugly ideas; we need to base our decisions on knowing a good idea from a bad idea.”

To challenge what is happening now, you should be looking for what is happening next.

Body Shop founder Anita Roddick described an entrepreneur as someone who “never considers success as something which equates to personal wealth. That never enters our consciousness. Entrepreneurs have this real belief that their lives are about service and leadership.”

Not all entrepreneurs would share those sentiments, but, as Roddick proved, these days there also happens to be gold in them thar moral high grounds. In a recent global consumer survey conducted by Edelmen PR, 67 percent of people said they would switch to another brand of similar quality if it supported a good cause.

Huge numbers of consumers are demanding that businesses show the moral and ethical leadership that should accompany that power. And top talent is demanding that the impact of the work they do is something they can truly be proud of.

As Perry says, “If we think the only way to light a city or wash clothes is with a machine, a hydro dam and overhead wires, we are doomed.”

So let’s get to work.

The fundamentals:

  • Get good advice
  • Get good staff
  • Check and recheck everything over with them
  • Be professional—do the paperwork