The Myth of the “Good Idea”

Lately I’ve been reading the book A Good Hard Kick In the Ass: Basic Training for Entrepreneurs by venture capitalist Rob Adams. In the book, he discusses the various misconceptions and delusions that often plague the owners of small business startups.

One of the biggest fallacies is that in order to succeed, you need a unique idea and be first to market. The reality is that ideas are cheap, and any great concept you may come up with has either already been done or is currently being developed by several competitors. If you think otherwise, either your idea isn’t so great after all or you haven’t done the proper research.

Long-term success rarely comes from being a pioneer and the “first mover advantage” is not all it’s cracked up to be. When the Internet started to become mainstream about 15 years ago, a lot of people used Netscape for their Web browsing, Eudora for their e-mail, and Altavista for their searching. Do you use any of those tools now?

The biggest factor for achieving success is to have what Adams calls execution intelligence. That means knowing what your customers really want, being able to effectively handle growth, knowing how to handle stiff competition, adapting to changes in the market, having the appropriate skills, and knowing how to lead employees.

So how does all of this translate into the world Internet marketers live in, where the entire business is typically a one-man (or one-woman) shop? The scale may be smaller, but the general lesson still applies. In order to succeed, you must have execution intelligence.

Know what your customers want. By doing research in the way of surveys and polls, find out where your potential customers are experiencing pain and design your solution to relieve that pain. You may think you already know your market, but you could be in for some surprises.

Be able to effectively handle growth. Growth is good, but too much growth too fast can be a serious problem. If you’re unable to properly support your customers and quickly respond to their issues, your reputation will suffer. Some IM “gurus” have learned this lesson the hard way by offering personal coaching services to more people than they could possibly handle.

Know how to handle competition. If your product is a success, you’re bound to have imitators. Stay one step ahead of them by constantly improving your product and making your offer even better.

Adapt to changes in the market. Follow and anticipate trends. Yesterday, e-books were the norm. Today, video is all the rage. Tomorrow, it will be something new. Be ready for it.

Have the appropriate skills. It’s hard being a jack of all trades. Know what your strengths are and outsource everything else.

Know how to lead employees. If you are outsourcing some tasks, you must know how to get the best results from your “team”. Choose your people carefully, be crystal clear about what you need them to do, and keep them happy and motivated by paying promptly and occasionally rewarding them for excellent work.

Don’t let competition stop you from enjoying success. If you wait until you find a completely untapped market, you’ll search your way right into the poorhouse. Always remember that you don’t have to be first, you just have to be better.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Brand New Cheap Sprint Phones for Sale. | Thanks to Best Cell Phone Deals, Game Soundtracks and Fat Burning Furnace