Your Idea Alone Has No
By Wil Schroter
Contrary to popular belief, great companies are not born from great
ideas alone. We�d all love to think that if we could simply invent
the next sticky-note, we could sit back and watch the cash tumble
if great ideas don�t spawn great companies, what does?
short answer is: you. The longer, and far more complicated, answer
is how you specifically position yourself and your company to
execute on an idea.
Anyone who overhears your idea, or has the same idea at the same
time, or basically plans on doing anything similar is already on the
same playing field as you are.
order to differentiate yourself and your idea, you don�t need a
patent or some proprietary method. You need a focused plan that
allows you to execute above and beyond your competition every day of
Think of your competition like your favorite professional sports
league. There are dozens of teams which have talented players on
them, but only one team is going to perform better than everyone
else. Your goal is to build that team.
Focus On Execution
There is a massive chasm between having a great idea and executing
flawlessly on a business model for a great idea. Lots of people have
great ideas, but very few people ever execute well on them.
Execution isn�t just about showing up for work every day and
punching a clock. For the team that wins, execution is about going
above and beyond the call of duty each and every day.
It�s about reaching out to your customer when there are no problems
just to see how they are doing. It�s about releasing a product
feature faster than your competitor even when you�re already ahead.
It�s being the first car in the parking lot in the morning and the
last one to leave at night. It�s doing what the guy next to you
isn�t willing to do.
The Heck Out Of Your Customer
Even a product that�s a total commodity, like food, can take on an
entirely new meaning when you compare the service that comes with
it. In your city there may be a hundred places where you can order a
filet mignon, but only a handful that are considered top notch. The
difference is that the elite restaurants understand that in order to
differentiate their product, they need to rely on better service.
They pay attention to every detail of your experience, from the
greeting you get from the host/ess to whether you�re given a white
or black napkin based on your pant color.
Exceptional service is by no means a commodity. It�s a rare and
unusual thing that very few companies can deliver. Chances are your
competition isn�t going to go the extra mile to service the heck out
of your customer, which creates an incredibly powerful competitive
advantage for you.
It�s not uncommon for a startup company to go toe-to-toe with a much
larger company offering a very similar product. On its face, it
looks like the startup is at a severe disadvantage. Surely the
behemoth megacorp can provide better execution and better service
with its vast resources than a scrappy little startup can.
you were to try to compete against the behemoth on their own terms
you�d get crushed. That�s why startups tend to look for the weak
spots in larger companies and exploit them. You can easily
differentiate your product from a larger company by focusing on
stuff large companies tend to fall short on.
Unlike a large company, you can offer the personal service and
attention your customers love that they�re probably missing from
your bigger competitor.
can leverage your speed by releasing new versions of your product
faster and responding to market conditions more quickly. You can
offer talented managers founder�s stock, while a big company can
only offer another bonus plan.
Every weak spot that you can exploit is another way to add value to
your idea. Once you�ve identified the points, the more pressure you
put on those weak spots, the more value you�ll build for your own
Outmaneuvering your competition isn�t about doing any one of these
things � it�s about doing all of them consistently. If your idea is
great and novel, the only guarantee is that it will be copied. If
it�s not, you have to wonder how great of an idea it really is.
When your idea does get copied, the only thing you�ll be able to
rely on is your team and your execution. All of the points about
going above and beyond the call of duty, servicing your customer,
and exploiting the weak spots will soon be used against you.
only defense against the next up-and-comer, and the only way to
consistently create value around your idea is to stick to
fundamental execution. Nothing else has value.
Schroter is founder and CEO of the Go BIG Network, the largest
network of startup companies and entrepreneurs at
goBIGnetwork.com. He is also the author of the book Go BIG or