Who Will Benefit From Your Idea?
Let's work on teasing out the key benefits of your idea. You may have a long list of all the awesome things that your idea's gonna bring into the world. Let's get that list in order because it's probably messy. Our mural arts program, I love these pictures. I have a whole album of just faces of people and what's awesome about these pictures, I don't know anybody in the pictures! This is not my friends and family. These are strangers that we managed to bring in and it was, like, yes! Who are all these people? That's exciting. The key benefit for us wasn't just having pretty pictures on the walls and we never wanted anyone to think that's what we were doing. It wasn't just hey, let's paint the brick. No. We really wanted to revitalize this space. We really wanted to see sunshine and crowds. I think this is a menu for a food truck that came by. It was just so much life and excitement and that is what got me through this. And what I'm gonna do is... This is kind of the soft vision I had an...
d it came true and I have pictures of it now, you know? And you notice it's pictures of this versus the art. I have pictures of the art too, it's awesome. But this is what we were envisioning, right? This is like that soft thing in our heads that drove us to do this thing. What I also want you to do is the hard stuff. Think of who your idea is benefiting. Make a chart like this one. It's gonna show all the various stakeholders in different columns. Even if you're doing something for kids on the autism spectrum, for example, their parents are probably another set of stakeholders. So there's always at least two stakeholder groups. What do I mean by stakeholders? It's kind of a business-y word. It just basically means anyone who stands to benefit from your idea. They have a stake in this because they're gonna win if you do your idea. Who are those people? I felt like, with our project, the city was gonna win, like the city of Milwaukee. It's not just about this alley or our students. The city of Milwaukee was gonna have this beautiful, glimmering jewel of street art. We're gonna do this thing. It's gonna add vibrancy. It's gonna bring tourism. And of course, it's gonna add culture because it's an art project, people. It brings culture. I could have made a long, long, long list but I was trying to make it really, really tight. This is what it will do for our city and if anyone from the city asked me then I knew I had an answer and I could stand behind it and be really proud and say, "heck yeah! "This is gonna bring culture to our city." And it did. What's it gonna do for the neighborhood? We started to look at the east side neighborhood in Milwaukee. It's a wealthier neighborhood. It's already got a lot of hip and creative things that are happening there because it's got restaurants. It's got bars. One of the things that... I was hearing from the business owners was that it was too much nighttime stuff. It was a little too much bar activity. It was discouraging young families from wanting to move in. We started thinking about safety. We started thinking about the economy. We thought about being a daytime destination. To bring visitors in, who wouldn't necessarily come to the east side for any other reason and bring them during the day for heaven's sake, give them something healthy to do other than just drink booze all night. Stimulate the economy and provide safety for the students who were cutting through. Building owner, like, hello. That's another guy. If we're gonna be painting your building, uh, you're welcome, right? So, we're gonna be doing this beautiful thing on your building and we didn't want to come in with an attitude of apologies or begging or "Hey, you know, we really want to do this thing." No, we wanted to sort of congratulate them. Like we have chosen you. (laughs) I know this sounds a little silly but it's true. These are the kinds of things when you're pumping yourself up and you're planning on how you want to approach someone, think about your tone and your body language. I wanna go to this building owner, and yes, of course, you're humble and you're asking for permission, but you also want to have this attitude of, "Hey, guess what? "We have this great idea and it's gonna be your building!" You're gonna have fame, maybe. That's kind of a silly way to put it. It's on the slide. It's gonna provide some renown for their building. We're kinda tattooing your building. It's gonna look awesome. You will get tenants or you will provide a benefit that your tenants didn't have before and in our case, we do have apartments overlooking this alley and their view used to be weeds and now their view is art by Bunny Reese and other great artists. So that's cool. And property value, we hope will go up and we've been able to find studies. That's what I'm talking about. For your idea, I would like you to do something similar where you list out your stakeholders and then list as many benefits as you can think. Or maybe just do three like I did because then you can keep it tight. So, who's gonna support it? We've talked about who will benefit from it. We talked about your stakeholders. Who are you doing this for? But, we're gonna go to a different group of people now. We're gonna talk about who might want to financially back your idea, which is really the core of what this course is about, right? It's probably why you tuned in. You're, like, "I wanna sell this idea. "I gotta do this. "I need supporters. "I need sponsors." It's taken me this long to get to this because you need to have a solid foundation before you start selling. Now let's talk about how you're gonna start, okay? Who's gonna financially back you? These are not necessarily the same people who will benefit and I know that maybe it seems obvious but it isn't always. For example, if you are doing a book that's going to encourage people to eat healthy. It's a book about becoming a vegetarian or a vegan. It's not necessarily the people who are reading that book that are the ones who are gonna financially back you, right? If you're doing a music program for kids with autism, it's certainly not the kids with autism that are gonna financially back you. Those are obvious examples but with your idea, I know that sometimes artists go to other artists. We make that mistake. We do go to our own community and so I want you to look more broadly at the world of support that is out there and find the people who are best able to financially support you. If you're a musician, don't go ask your buddies, okay? (chuckles) Begin with your own community. Am I suggesting you don't go to your peer network? No, that's now what I'm suggesting. What I'm suggesting is that you start at home. Start with your own network in a way that's appropriate for your network and then you're going to work out from there. Just don't give them the pressure that they have to bring this thing to fruition is what I'm saying. Examine what platforms you have. So, here's just a quickie little diagram. You have your friends and family. You have your little subcultures that you're a part of, your geeky little subcultures. I have mine. We all have our fun little friend communities. And then you have your work community. I want you to be thinking about that for your potential launch. A lot of times, and you've already experienced this cause we live in the world of Kickstarter, et cetera and GoFundMe. You've already, I know, everyone in this audience has gotten the email from a friend who has a new Kickstarter campaign. They are starting with you, right? The problem is, we've kinda been in that world for a couple years now and it's starting to get tiresome. Unfortunately for you, Kickstarter was not just launched. That already happened. So it's not novel anymore and you, I know, at least you should, I would, you kinda feel guilty even sending out that initial email to friends and family where it's like, "okay, I started a Kickstarter campaign. "I'm sorry! "I'm sorry! "Can you just share it, or something? "Or can I just have $10?" There's an awkwardness there with starting with friends and family, whether it's Kickstarter or whether it's at a dinner party, and I'm not trying to minimize that, but don't give them the hard sell but don't be afraid to go to them cause your friends actually, they do want to help you.