The secret to making a great concept a real success. I love ideas — game-changing ideas, life-simplifying ideas, turn-industry-on-its-head ideas. And over the course of my 20-year career in advertising and marketing, I’ve been involved in bringing many of those ideas to life. But in the process, I realized that, in our modern business world, we’ve come to put the “idea” on a pedestal. We tell ourselves that’s all we need to find success — one big idea and we’re set.

And in part, that’s true: Ideas are great. But an idea is not direction. And direction is what takes your idea from potential to reality.

I saw this in action earlier this year, not long after I joined the Dualboot team. I attended a local tech event and met a sharp woman who had a dozen smart software ideas she was eager to talk through with me. Instead, I encouraged her to pause, to write her ideas down in detail and to chart a direction for each. It’s a process I advise all my clients to follow because it’s all about building out your idea — figuring out what you want to accomplish, who your targeting and why your idea will be the right product for them. And while it may sound like busy work, it’s a vital part of bringing an idea to fruition.

Here’s why: Once you start mapping out your idea and its execution, that idea starts to shift. And you want to know that before you invest significant sums of money into building out your MVP.

Entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss says that the work that makes you the most anxious or uncomfortable is usually the most important work you can do. The concept holds true when it comes to bringing direction to your idea. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and Fortune 50 executives alike, and both groups are equally guilty of forgoing the vital work of mapping out an idea in favor of getting the ball rolling. And I get it. When you’ve got a great idea, your adrenaline starts pumping. You’re driven. And you start looking for the shortest path to completion. Plus, that blank piece of paper can be intimidating, particularly if your brain doesn’t think in marketing and business strategy.

But here’s the thing: Your idea has to evolve to go from great-in-concept to successful-in-reality. When you skip that step, you pay the price, either in lost time or money.

Think about it: When you engage a software development firm before you really know what you want — or more importantly, what you need — you can find yourself going back to the drawing board rather than moving ahead in the process. And the worst way to build exactly what you want is by watching all the things you don’t want take shape first. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to tackle this project in isolation. It can be collaborative. We’ve helped many companies think through their ideas before we bring them to life. As part of that process, we ask questions. We offer recommendations, and we aren’t afraid to challenge our clients to ensure every aspect of the idea has been thoroughly thought through. That doesn’t mean we’re in the business of killing your idea. On the contrary, our goal is to strengthen your idea and give it the highest chance of success when it hits the market. That’s what you need when you’re looking for a technology partner: someone who is invested in your business for the long haul, not just for one paycheck.

Like I said, I love ideas. But the real fun starts when we sit down to figure out where those ideas are heading, how they’ll solve real-life problems for real-life customers, and how we can help you get there.