PRIME: When to give up on a “big idea”

This month we asked, “when do you determine to give up on a ‘big idea’ and move on to the next idea?”

May 28, 2014

Our PRIME advisory panel includes some of the remodeling industry’s leading professionals. This month we asked, “when do you determine to give up on a ‘big idea’ and move on to the next idea?”

90 days maximum for success

When someone has a good reason for committing to an idea, you can usually tell if the idea is going to succeed or not within 90 days. That’s plenty of time to determine if the author is losing interest in his or her own idea. Perhaps they have set a completely unrealistic goal or they can no longer define the specifics or measure the results. Three months is also time enough to tell if the budget or timeframe to complete the execution was realistic. How can you possibly make something happen if you don’t know exactly what you want, or didn’t really believe you could do it? Sometimes giving up is actually good thing.

Jay Cipriani, President
Cipriani Remodeling Solutions, Woodbury, NJ

No traction for the idea then move on

After putting your best people on the initiative/idea and sufficient time has gone by and you are not getting traction or the desired results; and deep down in your gut you feel you have given it your best effort; or your company’s priorities or the market has changed significantly: Move on. Don’t hesitate because of previously invested resources. Those are sunken costs. Continuing at this point will most likely be a waste of time and money.

Chris Edelen, Industry Consultant and Expert
San Antonio, TX

Be careful before investing time and money

In my career, I’ve had many ideas that I acted on with some good success. On the other hand, there have been those that never panned out. I have learned to do careful vetting and/or piloting an idea before investing a lot of energy or money. If the idea is a new service, we need to find that consumers actually want it. Creating demand is a tough path to follow. The last thing a business wants to do is stifle innovation, so we try to be responsive when an employee suggests an idea.

Tom Kelly, President
Neil Kelly Inc., Portland, OR

Ensure the idea has a champion

Every initiative, cause, or project needs a champion, a leader with a clear and passionate direction. When an idea or initiative lacks or loses the champion it is time to reassess the investment. Lack of oversight and accountability from the leader signals the end of the line.

Scott Mosby, President
Mosby Building Arts, St. Louis, MO

Attack ideas from all sides possible

When everyone knows your company’s mission (Why do we do this?) and vision (Where are we going?) it helps eliminate “shiny object ideas” that are alluring but do not support your larger objectives. We call our new ideas “Frankenstein exercises.” We all try to breath life into the creature and get it to walk around on its own, and then we attack it from all angles. If it survives this procedure then we may move forward.

Bill Baldwin, President
HartmanBaldwin Design/Build, Claremont, CA

Joy Kilgore is president of Executive Business Approach LLC, PRIME and PRIME Alliance Summit. For more information, visit

The Professional remodeler PRIME Advisory Panel
PRIME brings together the best-of-the-best minds in the remodeling industry. This premier council of industry leaders sets the trends in today’s economy for tomorrow’s success.

2014 PRIME ADVISORY PANEL MEMBERS: Bill Baldwin, Hartman Baldwin Design/Build; Jay Cipriani, Cipriani Remodeling Solutions; Nick Cogliani, NEWPRO; Chris Edelen, Consultant; Sal Ferro, Alure Home Improvements; Tom Kelly, Neil Kelly; Joy Kilgore, EBA PRIME; Rob Levin, Statewide Remodeling; Emily Lindus, Lindus Construction; Gary Marrokal, Marrokal Design & Remodeling; Scott Mosby, Mosby Building Arts; Bill Simone, Custom Design & Construction; and Joe Smith, LeafGuard of Central Iowa.

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