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How to Execute Ideas With a One-Page Creative Brief


A lot of us have great ideas. I speak with all sorts of people all the time who have ideas that they want to turn into a product, a service, or a business. I cannot even count the number of times throughout the week that I have an idea and get the temptation to go down the rabbit hole of “figuring it out” so I can start another business or product line.

The key to turning ideas into reality is execution. 99% of the people I talk to (made-up statistic) may have a great idea but they seem to struggle with actually executing it. Much of the time I’m in that group, as well. I can point to all sorts of ideas that sounded reasonable at the time but for one reason or another never turned into a business or a product.

However, the good news for me is that I do end up executing a lot of my ideas and I seem to be getting better at it as time goes on. One technique that I have adopted to help me decide when and how to execute is the one-page creative brief.

The one-page creative brief is sort of a “sniff test” for me so that I can decide if my idea has merit and if I’m ready to start making it happen. So much of the time, I think we (myself included) get bogged down in the minutia of details and “what-ifs” that we end up analyzing an idea to death before we even take any action.

So now I filter my ideas through the one-page creative brief process. It’s pretty simple. I take my idea and I turn it into a single page document with bold headers like “title,” “description,” “problem solved,” “customer,” etc. and fill in all the basic information that would explain it to an investor, a partner, an employee, or my mom. The sections you use will depend on the idea so there is no one-size-fits-all.

I am very strict about keeping it to one page. If it bleeds into two pages then I’m already on the slippery slope of creating a business plan and that’s a great way to get sucked into a lot of analysis with no action. If I can’t distill my idea clearly into a one page document then I figure my idea is either not far enough along to execute or I don’t have enough passion behind it to explain properly.

Generating a one-page creative brief also gives me something to hand to partners that I might want to collaborate with and gives everyone a starting point to quickly digest the idea. It also keeps me on track because I can continue to refer to it if I feel like I’m over-analyzing something.

If you find that you have lot of good ideas but have trouble executing them, try using a one-page creative brief to distill your idea into something more real. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful and has led to a lot less fluff and a lot more action.



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