“Ideas are horseshit, execution is the game.”
These wise words come courtesy of Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most respected entrepreneurs and investors of our generation. When I heard Gary V speak these words at a USC talk, I was immediately impacted.
It’s one of those rare moments where someone says something obvious yet profound.
Each one of us has ideas; a new bakery, a time-saving app for the workplace, a money sharing tool for college students, a social enterprise that builds low-cost homes in poor communities, an online course for internet marketers, and so on and so forth.
Coming up with a good idea is not that hard. In fact, all you need to do is pay attention to the next person’s idea, and then put your own spin on it.
What’s hard is executing that idea. Turning an idea quickly written down on a napkin into an enterprise that is sustainable, scalable, financially viable, and successful; that’s difficult!
So how do you do it? How do you successfully execute your idea? Well, let’s answer that below.
STEP #1- Make a conscious decision to follow through on your idea
The very first thing you need to do is make a conscious decision to see your idea through. As I’ve said above, we all have ideas on how to start a new enterprise or improve on our current one. Unfortunately, we are crippled by our fears.
This includes money worries, time worries, doubt over our skills and business smarts, feeling too young, feeling too old, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of competition, and other similar self-limiting beliefs.
The first thing you need to do in this situation is to acknowledge your fears and worries. Once you do this, you need to dismiss all of them and focus on the positive.
You are smart enough, it is the right time, you can compete with the best of them, and you can succeed.
Once you make a conscious decision to follow through on your idea despite your initial fears, then you can move forward.
STEP #2- Make yourself vulnerable for the sake of creativity and improvement
1. Research- Firstly, you need to gather some basic data. The simplest way to do this is using best friend no.1 Google Search, or best friend no.2 Bing search.
The data that you need to collect includes information on competitors, pricing structures, and market size. Basically, you are seeing whether there is a place for you on the market.
It is important to remember that even the most innovative idea will not succeed in a market that is not ready. If Uber was launched 10-15 years ago, it would have been a failure. Timing is everything, and your research will help you determine whether your timing is right.
2. Identify your market- Before you head out and test your product/service, you need to figure out who your ideal customer is. After all, you cannot market an idea to a faceless individual.
When you know who your market is, what your market needs, and how your market behaves, then it is easier to tailor your product or service to them.
3. Connect with your market and test your idea- Once you have an idea of who your target market is, connect with them. You can do this is a hundred different ways, including online surveys, cold calls, focus groups, house calls, emails, and one-on-one interviews.
At this point in time, you should have a minimal viable product; a quality version that you are willing to share. Think of it like beta testing.
Take the idea that you have, and test it with your target market. You do not need to spend too much money, effort, or time doing this. By testing your idea, you can receive quality feedback from potential customers.
P.S. Don’t be afraid that someone else will steal your idea.
4. Analyze the results that you have received- This will help you determine whether or not your idea is right for the market. If your idea is received well, then you have the market validation necessary for you to move forward.
However, if your target customer does not think that your idea solves a problem that they suffer from, then you need to go back to the drawing board. Luckily for you, talking with your ideal customer gives you insight into their pain points, allowing you to craft a product or service around what they say they need.
If you find that what the market needs is slightly different from what your original idea offered, don’t be afraid to change direction. There are plenty of successful ventures that started out with a totally different idea.
Once you have made changes to your idea, go back and test it again. Do this until you have a product or service that your target market is willing to pay for.
Testing and customer feedback will always prove more helpful than in-depth planning and analysis.
STEP #3- Say goodbye to losers, and say hello to winners
If you want a sense of how your future looks like, take a look at who you hang out with. If your friends are dead beats with no sense of purpose and ambition, then there’s no doubt that your future will involve too much time on the couch watching TV (no offense to all the couches and TVs out there).
Having the wrong type of people around you is a sure-fire way of killing your ideas. It’s time for you to get rid of any toxic friends who are holding you back, and surround yourself with winners.
When I talk about winners, I am referring to business partners, mentors, team members, and fellow entrepreneurs.
These are the people who you are accountable to. These are the people who will offer you emotional support. These are the people who will act as sounding boards for all your ideas.
These are the people who will validate your good ideas and critique your bad ones. These are the people who act as an invaluable source of knowledge. These are the people who will guide you in the right direction. And these are the people who will work with you so that your idea can come to fruition.
No one succeeds alone, and you need to have the right support to turn your idea into a successfully executed venture.
STEP #4- Overcome your TELEOPHOBIA
Teleophobia is the fear of definite plans (cue in dramatic music).
I suffer from this phobia, and I know that I’m not the only one. Making plans is hectic and time-consuming. And making definite plans cements the fact that you are actually going through with your idea- this brings with it a new set of fears and self-doubt.
However, planning is necessary for the execution of your idea. That is why you need to map out your mission, your target market, the USP of your product or service, your business objectives (3-5 years), your strategies for achieving those objectives, and your strategies for daily operations and decision making.
Additionally, you need to figure out where you are going to get capital from. As you already know, starting a business is expensive. You need enough money to take care of operational expenses until your venture is generating enough money to cover these expenses.
Thankfully, there are many methods of sourcing capital, each with its own rewards and risks. This includes self-funding, money from friends and family, credit cards, loans, VCs, Angels, and crowd funding.
STEP #5- Behave like a successful person
As you forge forward with your business enterprise, you need to develop the habits of a successful person. This includes staying focused, maintaining discipline, tracking your progress, and making progress on a daily basis.
You also need to put effort into continuous learning, mainly understanding everything there is to know about your product/service, market, competition, and industry. When you continue learning, then you are always ahead of the curve when it comes to progress and innovation.
One thing you should also remember is to keep in touch with your customers and potential customers. Your product/service can never be perfect, and you need their constant feedback to make improvements and adjustments even after the launch.
P.S Before you launch your enterprise, ensure that your business model, website, and customer service are up and running. You want your operations to run as smoothly as possible.
As you can see, turning your idea into a fully executed enterprise is possible. While the process is challenging, the rewards are worth it. Using the steps given above you can now turn that idea you jotted down into the next big thing.
If you found this helpful, share the article with your friends, family, and colleagues. Also drop me a comment and tell me which idea-to-enterprise stage you are currently stuck on. And don’t forget to sign up for the Business Broken Down newsletter for firsthand updates on new posts.
Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next week.