Monday, June 6, 2011

Idea vs. Implementation

There is nothing more toxic to the budding entrepreneur than the following trap.  This is important, too, for a veteran investor to understand, because it results in a serious loss of money.  The trap to which I'm referring can only be described as the "next big thing" mentality.  For this article, I'd like to talk about why this line of thinking is so poisonous for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

First off, I would like to start by saying that having a good business idea is a great thing.  If put to use properly it can make a tremendous amount of money.  But in reality this is quite rare.  Most great businesses are the result of good implementation, not good ideas.

If you find yourself often looking for an unbeatable idea that has never been tried yet, if you find yourself whispering to your friends not to tell anyone about your business idea because they might steal it, if you find yourself coming up with increasingly complicated schemes for ideas to make money, you are on the wrong track my friend!  But worry not because we're here today to remedy that.

Let's first look at a few historical examples of implementation over ideas.  You can find them anywhere you look.  Microsoft was not the result of a great new idea- graphical user interfaces had existed before Windows was ever created, computers were created years before that, and so on.  Yet the implementation of the business created a global software powerhouse.  Google was not the first search engine.  Many search engines rose and fell before Google dominated that industry.  It was not the idea of the search engine that made Google a dominant force in the industry, it was their implementation.  It is this form of implementation that has made them a success in adapting to new technologies, such as smart phones, a success as well.

Real groundbreaking business ideas are easily duplicated, and almost always are.  Businesses that have developed a unique service (one that has not been tried before) are, in fact, at a disadvantage.  Those that come after the pioneer companies can benefit from avoiding the mistakes that these pioneers have made in their own implementation, saving a lot of money and time by doing so.  When an entrepreneur sets out to try something brand new, they often believe that they are obtaining some sort of competitive edge by being the first on the scene.  They are, in fact, putting themselves at a disadvantage.

For this reason, most would-be entrepreneurs find themselves running into a brick wall.  They have trouble developing truly unique ideas, and when they do, they find the idea unworkable.  Keep in mind that a very successful business empire can be built solely on implementation, and the following example may be able to illustrate what I'm talking about.  After all, what kind of idea does one need to have to open up a coin-operated laundromat?  Not only are there precious few ideas to be thrown at this kind of business, would one really want to?  Customers are often made uncomfortable at new ideas and prefer things that they understand and have done before.  A businessman does not attempt to change people, he attempts to change in response to what people want.  And people, for the most part, want the same thing.

It should be fairly clear how this can translate to an investor's perspective.  Some very good investments are in companies that have, for all intents and purposes, been done before.  If an investor can identify that the management of the company he is examining is capable of better implementing an already successful idea, you may be on to a great investment.  After all, if the idea is already there and there are already companies doing it, you know the idea works.  Trying to start a brand new business with no visible market is like plunging into murky water.

The study of business, whether to create one or to invest in one, then, is a unique process that requires a great understanding of implementation, not ideas.  This is good news for a particular kind of person, namely the businessman, who excels at understanding details and brings about action, or for the kind of person that is capable of recognizing this talent in others.  Implementation is the result of successful marketing, a good location, making the product more user friendly, ensuring quality customer support for issues arising from use of the product.

So if you are part of the "next big thing" crowd and find your efforts to be in vain, I humbly suggest you remove your ideas cap and get ready to start implementing.  This is something you can start today, because it requires a shift in thought process.  And what better day than today to start to think rich?

Merry implementation to you all!


  1. For me Idea and implementation are partner.Just think about it when you implement your idea it is going to be a that right?Good article :)

  2. The idea's easy its the implementation thats hard.

  3. Looking at how your business is thriving means you have to watch whats is happening with all of your assets and also of your liabilities. There should always be a check and balance between them.