We return today to Chapter 2: Juice to the Light Bulb from Bootstrapped! A No Bull Solution for Small Business Success. I share the necessity of uninterruptible time when trying to come up with business ideas.

At the time we launched CastleWave, Ron and I were several months into writing Bootstrapped! when he began telling me we had to bootstrap a business as a case study for the principles we were setting forth. I had just come off of a recent bad partnership and had sold several other businesses, so I wasn’t ready to start another business any time soon. It took a good month for Ron to convince me; during that month, we had not even thought about what kind of business we would launch. When we did start, the first step was getting some juice to the light bulb.

We decided to put our words to the test. One of the best ways to generate ideas is to find some uninterruptible time to brainstorm, so that’s exactly what we did. We went into a great little room in the back of the office we were leasing. It overlooked a golf course and a mountain range in the distance, so we had an inspiring view. There were no phones to interrupt us during the half day we had set aside to brainstorm.

About all we had in the room, besides a great view, was a big whiteboard. We took turns throwing ideas up on the board. We started asking ourselves questions to generate the flow. What new trends were we seeing in the technology market? What were our individual and combined skill sets? Where did our abilities and backgrounds intersect with the trends we were seeing? Suddenly, we were going crazy with all the potential ideas, and before long we had fifty or sixty ideas on the whiteboard.

Focused energy in the right environment can fuel outbursts of ideas. Each of us is different, so you need to ask yourself: where do you find peace? What time of day is best for your inspiration? Where have you found calm in the past? When you finally determine where your quiet place is, go there with intent and purpose.

For me, I climb mountains. The reason is to eliminate clutter and gain perspective on the world around me. This is my personal place for inspiration, and when it comes, it’s a moment of pure clarity and joy. The result is exhilarating.

I can’t help but wonder how the Sistine chapel would have turned out if Michelangelo had been signed up for a cellular friends-and-family plan.

Some years ago one of my star team members became displaced when I sold and closed several of my businesses. This particular individual was an international employee in the United States on a H1 work visa. As he was attempting to find a new job, several very difficult situations arose that jeopardized his ability to remain working in the United States.

After seeking legal and professional advice on his behalf, I started feeling there was no solution in sight. One afternoon I made time to sit down and consider the problem. I turned the volume down around me. I didn’t see a resolution immediately, but that night, as I was further meditating on the dilemma, the answer came. It was 11:30, but I was so excited that I immediately jumped out of bed and called my team member. I am confident that if I had not scheduled uninterruptible time, I would not have had the clarity of thought needed to provide the soft landing I felt he deserved.

Porter’s Points – Uninterruptible Time

• While you are calendaring everything else, plan some time to ponder as well: When, where, and for how long?
• Ponder with a plan, and be deliberate! Know what you want to come away with.
• Uninterruptible time is not a vacation. Self-discipline will make or break an entrepreneur.

Next time we’ll learn the value in picking a brain! Sounds gross, but it’ll be worth it!