Happy New Year! Isn’t it interesting how we celebrate the beginning of things? Nothing yet has happened this year, and it already gets a party. We throw parties when people get engaged, when a sport season opens, when someone gets accepted to college. And of course, we celebrate and look fondly upon the start up. However, after the announcements are made and the champagne is drank, then the problem of launching your concept begins. All to often, good ideas—both products and services—never make it to market.

Keeping in theme with the New Year, let’s call your new idea your New Year’s resolution. Below, I’ve written the framework for an actionable plan—modified in part from Seth Godin’s Shipit journal—designed to help you keep your resolution and carry your idea from concept to launch.

Name your project:

When will it launch?

You must provide an exact date. Make it realistic. Once you decide on a date, you’re committed to launching your project on time.

What’s the project?

Detail what your project is. It should be finite, doable, and fail-able. You need to be able to measure, after launch, whether your concept was a success.

Who’s responsible?

While there might be several people working on the project, there’s only one person ultimately responsible for launching the project on time. Hint: It’s probably you.

What are you afraid of?

Fear and doubt are common companions for the entrepreneur. If not identified and overcome, your fears might keep you from committing to the project. Some common fears of one launching a new business idea: looking foolish, losing money, wasting time, feeling like a failure, losing to competition.

What’s your angle?

How’s your idea different from what’s available on the market now? Identify some characteristics that describe its uniqueness. Examples: Easy to use, cutting edge, free, beautiful, classic, basic, durable, clinically proven, automatic, guaranteed, entertaining, fun, humorous. In the book “Blue Ocean Strategy,” the Authors explain that an idea differentiated from competition will offer (1) something increased, (2) something reduced, (3) something added, and (4) something eliminated. Ex: South West Airlines built their brand on (1) more friendliness and customer service, (2) fewer amenities (like in flight meals), (3) adding frequent departures, and (4) no first class seating (or assigned seating at all).

Who’s your customer?

Who are you trying to attract with your project? Keep this customer in mind as you make decisions on what your idea will be when it goes to market. Stonewall people who aren’t your identified customer. If you’re targeting stay-at-home dads, you can ignore what San Francisco Hipsters think. If you’re targeting business executives, you don’t care about the contemplations of college professors.

Who can stop your project?

Are there any gatekeepers who can put the breaks on your project? Note each person, and what must be done to ensure they won’t delay your launch date. This might be your landlord, laws or ordinances, key employees, business partners?

Who’s essential to your success?

Other than yourself, is there any person or party essential for your project to launch? This might be a key employee, family member, friend, investor?


List every element and detail of your idea that needs to be settled on before you can go live. What choices do you need to make, or have approved, that are outstanding?

What does perfect look like?

Perfect is your enemy—know your enemy. What bells and whistles would your project include in a perfect world? What would it look and feel like if you had an unlimited budget and timeline? Moreover, what would the best person who ever lived do if this were his/her project? Remember, these are the unrealistic standards. Hold yourself to these ideals and you’ll never go live. Instead, identify idealism and perfection so that that you can release yourself from them.

What does good enough look like?

Good enough is your jam. You launch your project on schedule if you’ve achieved “good enough”—because it’s good enough! Good enough doesn’t mean mediocre. Some parts of your project might need to be near-perfect for launch, while others could be downright poor. For example, maybe it’s imperative that your project be beautiful. To launch, you need a 9 out of 10 on aesthetics, but only a 3 on function. Or perhaps it’s function over form that you need.

Create Action Steps:

List every task that needs to be completed, by whom, and when. The closer your list resembles step-by-step instructions the better.

What do success and failure look like?

If you don’t know what success and failure look like, you won’t know if your project has accomplished its goal. If your idea is a workbook and it sells 15 copies, is that success? If not, how many copies equate success?

Shut up and do your work:

Steven Pressfield, in his book “The War of Art,” explains how the amateur waits for inspiration to strike. For the professional, however, inspiration strikes every day at 8am precisely. How will you be a professional at launching your idea?

Once you, and every key member of your team, has finished this framework you’ll know what’s entailed fulfill your New Year’s resolution and carry your new idea from concept to market, as well the potential risks and pitfalls. Let me know how your project’s going on twitter @thriveworks.

Explore the latest mental wellness tips and discussions, delivered straight to your inbox.

Dr. Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore, PhD

Anthony Centore, PhD, is Founder and Chair at Thriveworks — a counseling practice focused on premium client care, with 340+ locations across the US. Anthony is a Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and author of "How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice". He is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."