We all know the feeling.

You get a great idea, you start pinpointing what you want to accomplish, you set aside free time and friends (late nights at the bar), you drive yourself on the brink of virtual insanity – and then it hits you. What happens when my idea is ready for the web? Whether the concern is graphic, generic content, or fundamental structure – the concern is the same: how does this translate to data?

The first step (like any problem) is to relax. No good idea gets very far without first figuring out exactly what you want through and through. Technology is no different, and in fact, technology requires more structure and dedication to logical detail than you would expect.

Draw or Write.

I cannot stress this enough. Physically illustrating your concept or writing down the details can help technology professionals when generic conversation doesn’t go far enough. Is it a generic web site? Perhaps a global service desk for FAQ or an ordering & fulfillment solution? Figuring out the concept is the first step – and when you draw or write it out, it helps retain that information for future development efforts.

Figure out the Guts.

How would you describe water? Blue, Wet, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Ocean, Beach, Waves? Do this with your idea. The beauty of data is that it is comprised of logical elements. Describing the “guts” behind your big idea will help others start thinking about how they’re going to make it happen for you. When you say “Desserts” and “Chocolate”, we start thinking Foreign and Primary keys in a database – a relationship that helps solidify exactly what your technology will do.

Bridge what you have and take a break.

At this point, the best thing you can do for yourself is to take what you have and let yourself rest. If you’re like me – you get obsessed about an idea and work night and day trying to figure out how to make it happen only to fall flat on your face with exhaustion. No bueno. Collect your notes, your illustrations, your confidence and proceed to the next step.

Find a Developer who understands you and wants to have open dialogue with you.

Often times, many settle for bloated development firms just to push out a product or idea as quickly as possible. This may seem like a great idea at first, but you might quickly realize that the relationship isn’t personal – in fact, it’s rather impersonal. This can cost you. Having an impersonal relationship with development staff (no matter how charming the sales staff may be) will always leave you more frustrated than satisfied. Eventually, your product or idea will suffer and your confidence in technology will go straight down the drain. You’ll find that establishing a relationship with the person actually doing the work will always pay off big in the long run and leave you with a confident end result.

Have a realistic timeline for yourself.

Nothing happens overnight. As much as we think technology is magical – it’s not. At a minimum, most premium sites and services don’t go live for weeks or months. There’s planning, meetings, documentation, budget discussions, backend and front-end concepts and pre/post deployment to think about (and that’s just scratching the surface). Understanding the timeline will better help you prepare for the road ahead and the aforementioned step above just makes that expectation easier.

While nothing prepares you fully for taking on a big idea and making it a reality, using some of these steps to your advantage (as small as they seem) should at least help you in realizing your full potential.

xTD