There’s some debate on the importance of the idea versus the execution.
On the one hand you can argue that ideas are a dime a dozen, whereas good execution takes planning, time, money, skill, and patience, and is the only thing that matters – that ideas without execution are worthless.
On the other hand, really brilliant ideas are not a dime a dozen. Do you stop coming up with innovative ideas and focus only on the execution? Or do you waste all your time dreaming big and doing nothing? Or are you coming up with more ideas than your resources can handle?
Dreaming Without Achieving
The mistake many of us make is dreaming our lives away without ever bringing our ideas to life.
As Les Brown so eloquently put it: “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, and carry out their dream.”
If you have an idea, and you’ve tested it and researched it, then start putting it into practice. This is where you’ll discover just how long things take to move from idea to reality.
Or are you one of those people who won’t tell me your idea in case I steal it? Yeah, right buddy. For me to steal it would mean months of research, testing, implementation, money, money and more money multiplied by time, time, time and more time. And if I did steal it and happened to do it better than you, then I’ve probably saved you a whole lot of time and money.
Start with a business plan. It may sound boring to you, but the structure of a business plan will force you to answer a few awkward questions you might not have thought about, and you might realise that your idea to import those widgets will mean you need R1 million to start out and you’re only going to break even in six years’ time… worth it?
Stew and Brew
The biggest crime of all is rushing the development stage.
I know a lot of companies that took shortcuts when developing their website and simply started rebuilding the site from scratch the minute it was live. There wasn’t enough time to do it properly the first time, but somehow there was enough time to build it a second time.
Test the Waters
No matter how good your idea may sound, testing is vital. I know your mom and friends agreed it was going to be the next Facebook, and that they’d be the first ones to sign up, but please don’t take their support as gospel, though it’s great they’re behind you!
Do wireframe designs and test them. Get users in and test them. See how people engage with your product or website at their home using their laptop or tablet. This will help you go live with a version that people don’t get stuck or frustrated using.
Build a simple version of the idea to see whether people you don’t know are prepared to pay for the service or product. Don’t spend a lot of money on it until you’re sure it has legs.
Ideas that Fail
I’ve worked with a lot of people that, whenever I had an idea, would say, ‘We’ve already tried that and it failed’. Which was very annoying firstly, and secondly, I’d have to see how they executed the idea before deciding whether it was the idea that was flawed, or the execution.
Was the graphic design on target? Did you know what the measurement of success was going to be before starting out? Did it generate leads but no sales?
Learn from your mistakes and then get back on that horse and ride it better this time.
Related: The 4 Pitfalls Small Businesses Face