Success starts with ideas; simple or great. But the overrated nature of ideas has barred many potential entrepreneurs from taking the leap based on their assumption that they lack an original idea or one that has not been conceived by others.
Ideas are essential and the processes of creating them are simpler than we are wont to think and may be, led to believe.
During those occasions when we are on a low for ideas, putting off starting a new business or expanding an existing one is not the way to go. The right thing to do at such times is to spotlight other areas that will allow the business to do well in the moment as well as foster future growth and then focus on working on those areas.
That said, the fact that great businesses are built on more than just great ideas is noteworthy. Great ideas aren’t the sole determinants of business success. Several other factors, like the ability to execute, along with a good-not necessarily great-idea determine whether a business succeeds or fails.
It’s easy for people to brag about the wonderful ideas they have roaming in their heads, but the thing is, can they perform the boring tasks necessary to making tangible outcomes out of those ideas?
When people talk about ideas, hardly do we hear them refer to the financial ramifications of the outcomes of their daydreaming efforts. what about the relevant connections? In Nigeria for instance, our attachments to our religious ideologies has not served us very well in these areas. You hear such things as “God is all the connection you need,” I found that to be hilarious. For me, high quality connections are God’s gifts.
Ideas morph into successful businesses when they are met by founders that possess huge doses of entrepreneurial thinking and execution ability and intelligence.
The entrepreneurial Midas touch comes from having all of the following in place.
1. Build a foundation for ideas to flourish through finding your purpose and passion
Although, ideas and capital are crucial, the purpose for starting a business and the founders passion for their industry far outweigh the ideas or capital they have at the beginning. Building your ideas on what you deeply care about will ensure your business is firmly rooted on the right things.
A mission that is well spelt out, documented and that serves as the basis for selecting what ideas to pursue is how start-ups are positioned for success from the get-go. The entrepreneur may switch from one product, service or industry to another but their mission must remain intact at all times.
The most promising ideas will wither in the absence of a strong business mission.
The vital link between ideas and mission has never been so accentuated anywhere than at Amazon. Its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, said “we’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they are the reason we’re successful: put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
Ideas are the rock-solid foundation that projected Amazon to the retail and tech behemoth that it is today. And these ideas form the underlying principles upon which Amazon’s mission statement is based.
We all have our place in the world, our primary responsibility is to figure it out, however long it takes. The process might be exhausting but it provides a strong foundation for laying out our mission. As a consequence, giving our ideas the leverage to take root and blossom.
2. Build skills
Ideas make no difference without the skills and capabilities to pull them through. The entrepreneur will have to fill the gaps in his own skill sets, determine what is lacking in his own personality (which is to be the basis for selecting co-founders or partners if need be) and identify and outsource work in areas outside the founders’ core competency.
3. Learn to raise funding
The entrepreneur’s ability to attract funding is vital to bringing ideas to fruition. They could bootstrap, especially at the beginning or seek external funding. Attracting external funds depends on certain characteristics of the idea and the founders. Bearing in mind that the individuals behind the idea hold more importance than the idea itself in the minds of investors and potential partners.
How much the idea fulfils the following criteria will determine if it attracts investment.
• Innovation: How the idea tackles existing problems from a perspective of difference and impact.
• Impact: The idea must matter in the sense that it tackles a pain point in the society.
• Change: If the idea can effect a big change in the system, the better its chances of catching an investor’s eye. The more disruptive the idea is, the better.
• Planning: Amidst the buzz of the lean start-up methodology, a thoughtful plan is still central to gaining funding. Investors want to know how the entrepreneur plans to navigate uncertainty and the murky waters of their industry.
4. Grow your network
So much of what goes into bringing a start-up out of obscurity into relevance is a support network of individuals and groups who believe in your idea and person.
Knowing whom to turn to at every point in time and being able to ask for and obtain help is a core element of start-up success.
5. Assemble a team
With a vast network of people, carefully curated through activities that are focused on the entrepreneur’s needs and objectives, it becomes effortless to reach out to people who share your vision and are passionate about your ideas to become members of your team. Only a great team can turn an idea into a great product or service and an idea is not great until it becomes successful in the market place.
Great execution is superior to great ideas. Execution brings ideas to life and separate the entrepreneurs from the wannabes. It doesn’t matter what captivating ideas you have, if you are not shrewd on the act of laying them out in a plan it will take only a while before you see those same ideas becoming the reason for someone else’s rise to fame and success.
Generate ideas, as much as you possibly can, but never lose sight of the fact that executing them is far more important.
With the necessary skills, funding and the right team of dedicated players, passionate entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into marketplace successes.
ABDULWASI’I ILYAS IS A PROLIFIC WRITER AND OWNS INFLUENCE BLOG (www.influence.com.ng)