“Ideas are free; execution is priceless.”
That’s my next book.
That’s my company mantra.
That’s my personal philosophy.
Today we’re going to talk about a few things rich entrepreneurs know about execution:
1. Slow footedness is the enemy. My biggest takeaway from The Social Network was when Facebook nemesis Divya Narendra exclaimed, “Zuckerberg knows that getting there first is everything!”
Sure enough, he was right. And that’s exactly how Narendra’s company got beat: Because they finished second.
Lesson learned: Those who are late to the game don’t just get bad seats – they don’t even make it past the gate.
It all depends on what you’re willing to give up to cross the finish line before anyone else. Perfection? Quality? Security? Control? Ownership?
How about it, lead foot? Will you master the simultaneity of surrender and initiative, or kill yourself trying to execute flawlessness in something that never finishes?
That’s what smart entrepreneurs practice: Quick eyes and even quicker feet. How nimble are yours?
2. Execution is a check you can cash. My mentor once told me that my biggest advantage is that nobody could keep up with me. And after some serious reflection, I realized he was right.
I am dangerously prolific. I refuse to slow down long enough for anyone to catch up. And that means I will out execute everybody. For four reasons:
First, nobody – who does what I do – can do what I do, as fast as I can do it.
That’s executional velocity: Take action quickly.
Second, nobody – who does what I do – can do what I do – as much as I can do it. That’s executional volume: Take action prodigiously.
Third, nobody – who does what I do – can do what I do – as well as I can do it.
That’s executional value: Take action exquisitely.
Finally, nobody – who does what I do – can do what I do – as long as I can do it.
That’s executional vitality: Take action consistently.
I challenge you to think about your executional velocity, volume, value and vitality. Are you talker or a doer?
3. Discern a definite pattern. Intelligence comes from pattern recognition, not information memorization. Here’s an equation I used in my workshops that you can plug your unique value (and your perfect customers) into. It’s called “The Ultimate Dream Statement,” and it goes like this:
“I wish there was a (x) so I wouldn’t have to (y).”
The (x) in the equation is dream focused, solution oriented and optimistic, i.e., “A portable music player with unlimited digital shelf space.”
The (y) in the equation takes away pain by helping people save time, money, energy, paper or manpower, i.e., “Schlepping ten years of compact discs around my apartment.”
That’s the secret: Figuring out what your customers are sick of doing, then positioning your value as the key to never doing that again.
Remember: Life is easier, simpler – and ten time more profitable – when you get good at identifying patterns. What profitable patterns are just waiting to be discovered?
4. Focus on what’s first – not what’s next. Look: I’m an entrepreneur. And I’m all for thinking about the future. But sometimes that’s a trap.
Sometimes you get sucked into the vortex of passionately pondering the potential of your big idea that you forget to take the necessary first steps to execute it. And that’s usually right around the time some snot nosed punk from Harvard steals the idea from under your nose.
My suggestion: If you want to take initiative on an idea that’s fair game to the world, don’t let the movement value of that idea seduce your ego into believing it’s the only thing that matters.
Execution is a matter of focus. Either you’re concentrating on the tide approaching shore, or the sand between your toes. Both are essential; but only one matters in the beginning. Are you bowing to the door of next or kissing the feet of first?
5. Trust every purposeful action. When something evolves on its own, it’s almost impossible to fully understand its biology until you look back.
That’s the recipe for entrepreneurship success: Heaps of uncertainty and leaps of faith. And most of the time, it’s a bloody painful reality to confront.
The secret is maintaining deep belief that your initiative will be rewarded. One way to do so is to practice preemptive nostalgia. To look forward to looking back.
For example, when I built NametagTV in 2006, I knew it would be expensive, I know it would require thousands of hours of work, and I know it wouldn’t make any money for at least eighteen months.
But I kept asking myself, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”
And the answers that slowly arrived were bigger than I ever imagined. Sure enough, four years later, NametagTV has opened more doors, taught me more lessons and earned me more profit that I ever expected. Where are you afraid to trust yourself?
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What idea have you executed in the past week?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
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