Ideas Are Cheap; Execution Is Everything - The Khuram Dhanani Blog
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Khuram Dhanani

Ideas Are Cheap; Execution Is Everything

Great Ideas

Everyone has great ideas. We dream them up in the shower, over a morning coffee, or while lying awake at 3 a.m. 

Having a blockbuster idea is only the first step. After that, executing your concept to its fullest potential is the critical step that transforms your idea into a business engine that achieves your dreams. To turn your idea into a real business, follow the six steps below.

Step #1: Construct Your Vision

A Master painter knows what they will paint and what feelings they want to convey before the first brushstrokes are laid on canvas. Likewise, A master musician knows the emotions they wish to invoke before they ever write the first notes. 

The master entrepreneur sees the vision that will motivate him or her to succeed long before the business is launched. An entrepreneur’s vision incorporates goals, core values, sources of inspiration, and their WHY. An entrepreneur must be absolutely clear about where they are headed and how to get there.

A well-constructed vision incorporates the following:

  • SMART Goals: SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Your business goals should meet these criteria. An example could be, “I will have $1 million in annual sales within five years of opening.” Achieving $1 million in sales is specific, measurable, and relevant to the business, and doing so within five years could be an achievable timeline for this goal. Of course, other SMART goals will also have to be achieved to make this sales goal happen. Map out ALL the goals that lead to your vision. 
  • Values: The values of your business should grow from the core values you hold as a human being. Don’t get distracted by what other people think your values should be. A business’s value can be as simple as being innovative, or encouraging open communication; it can be complex such as “access to education for all” or “adding a personal touch to healthcare”. When you’re clear about what you want your business’s values to be, write them with your goals. Then, think about how the values connect with your goals and what you can create with their combination. 
  • Your WHY: Remember the WHY from Chapter 2? Your WHY lives deep within you and drives your desires. It’s the fuel that motivates you to succeed. Make sure your vision incorporates your WHY.
  • Forward-Thinking: Construct a vision of your anticipated achievements during the next five years. This five-year plan should be SMART, and scalable. Begin identifying and planning how you will achieve the goals that result in attaining your vision. 
  • Simplicity: Your company vision should be simple, expressed in a few sentences. Make your vision statement simple and clear, not ambiguous. 

A well-constructed vision is vital to the success of your business because it provides the foundation of your plan. Your vision is a motivator for you and those who work with you, providing the purpose that drives your business forward.

Step #2: Execute

Once you have a vision for your company, the next step is taking action.

Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of procrastination. Many people are content to focus on everything except execution. It’s true that sometimes the first step is the hardest, but that first step must be taken where nothing will come of all your planning.

Sometimes a person can be held back by their fears. A person could be afraid of being a failure, being rejected, or looking foolish. When you give power to these fears, they can stop you in your tracks and you’ll never get started. Everything you want to do becomes contaminated by your belief in your ultimate failure.

In order to make progress, you have to believe in yourself and you have to make a commitment to following through with your plan, no matter what obstacles your face. No one says it will be easy, but when you believe in your Dream, in your WHY, there is truly nothing that can stand in your way. What you believe is what you will achieve, so take a good look at your beliefs about yourself and your ability to be successful. When you believe in yourself, your success is just a matter of time.

Execute your plan and get to work building your business. Buy the domain, get the website functioning, have your product made, and begin marketing and selling it. 

If you’re not executing, it’s because your WHY is not strong enough. Internally, you’re making a decision to avoid failure and don’t have the commitment to push forward. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to execute. Michael Jordan woke up every day and shot thousands of baskets. There were certainly times when he didn’t want to do that for 10 hours a day, but he knew that if he wanted to rule the basketball court, he had to take responsibility for his success.

As an entrepreneur, you are completely responsible. No excuses! 

Step #3: Fail

The first attempt at anything rarely goes well. Give some thought to pondering how many space vehicles exploded on the launch pads! How many times did you fall when you first got on a bicycle, rollerblades, skateboard, or ice skates? All your early attempts resulted in failure but these were only temporary setbacks. Falling once or twice or 10 times didn’t stop you from eventually learning the skill. Temporary failure is inevitable but total failure is not. Actually, the truth of the matter is that we all fail forward to success. You need to look at failure not as an endpoint but as receiving feedback. Now that you have more information, you’re going to do it a little bit differently and you have to work through any mental resistance you have about stopping and giving up.

You’ve heard it 1,000 times before: the only real failure is when you fail to get back up. As an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared for temporary setbacks. Some will be big, some will be small, and there will be many, and each one teaches you a valuable lesson that helps move you forward toward success.

The real question is how much determination and stamina you have. If you’re willing to make mistakes and learn from them, if you’re willing to test yourself against the experience of continuous obstacles, and if you have the grit to hold onto your vision, you will be a winner matter how long it takes.

Have you ever heard of the Elliott Wave? It’s a phenomenon in technical market trading. There’s nothing magical about it, and it’s evident in every human and natural activity. The theory is that a stock, or in this case a person, makes progress, then meets resistance and falls back slightly, then gathers more energy and moves forward again and higher than before, reaches a peak, and falls back a little in the face of resistance, and once more collects energy and moves higher still. This is the normal progression of people who are learning and growing, and also of businesses that grow, and slow, and grow again.

The point is clear. There is no success without failure because failure helps you achieve success. Temporary failure is expected; we fail forward to success.

In a way, going into business is like dating. When you’re young, asking someone out can be terrifying. Your first breakup feels like part of you died, and all hope is lost. Over time, however, you start to become less fearful, build mature attitudes against the sting of rejection and failure, and move on to new and more meaningful experiences.

The same dynamic applies in business. As you experience failures, you build healthy attitudes that protect you from extreme emotional damage. As time goes by, the pattern of failures turning into success becomes familiar, acceptable, expected, and even welcomed as proof of strength, durability, and growth. They contribute to wisdom and character development, and make great anecdotes!

Step #4: Analyze

You can fail catastrophically, or you can fail successfully. Failing successfully may sound counterintuitive, but it’s how successful entrepreneurs handle these types of disappointments. Smart entrepreneurs analyze the cause of their failure by considering all the details, seeking counsel from trusted advisors, and deciding what will be done differently the next time. The analysis is what turns failure from brass to gold.

One of the reasons many e-commerce entrepreneurs fail is that they don’t properly market their businesses. They may have an excellent product and put it on the Internet assuming the product is so amazing that people will somehow stumble upon their product page and eagerly spend their hard-earned money. Of course, this never happens. 

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or are conducting e-commerce, it’s vital to find ways to drive traffic to your website so you can convert visitors to customers. Being successful at driving traffic usually means employing search engine optimization (SEO) and placing ads on Google or Facebook. Converting visitors into buyers relies on understanding precisely what people are looking for, why they want it, what they will pay for it, and what is motivating them to make a purchase. 

Whatever the outcome, whether good or bad, analyzing what happened and coming to some rational understanding of the results will either help you avoid more disappointment or guide you with repeating and expanding your success. The only way you’ll know what to do is by analyzing what happened and coming to a conclusion about what to do next.

Step #5: Adjust

Once you’ve suffered a failure, it’s time to make an adjustment. Whatever caused the failure must be corrected. 

Considering the example of the e-commerce store with insufficient traffic, here are some possible steps an entrepreneur could take to remedy this failure.

  1. After launching an e-commerce store, almost no traffic appeared. Thinking the product would sell itself on its own merits, the owner was surprised when this didn’t happen. He realized his assumptions were wrong. 
  2. Upon conducting some online research, the entrepreneur discovered that many successful e-commerce businesses were generating traffic through promotion by influencers, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media advertising.
  3. After researching how influencers work, the entrepreneur realized this tactic was costly because influencers charge a fee that is beyond the entrepreneur’s budget.  
  4. Looking into SEO, the entrepreneur discovered that this method wouldn’t work either because the keywords for the product have a very low search volume. 
  5. The next step was trying social media, so $70 was spent on a targeted Facebook ad to generate traffic. This contributed to some sales, but not enough. 
  6. Because the business now has some customers, the entrepreneur improved the checkout experience by upselling another product with the original product. About 20% of the customers bought the add-on. Revenue is improving. 
  7. The next tactic was to create a 90-second funny TikToc video about the product. This video was shared on social media, generating a buzz and creating even more sales. 

In this example, the entrepreneur learned from his initial mistake. By continually conducting research and making adjustments, he eventually found a marketing process that created revenue. By continuing the process of learning and adjusting, more new revenue will be created.

Step #6: Repeat

Success is rarely linear. The normal pattern is that an entrepreneur must continue to try new ideas until things click into place and propel the business venture forward. 

This is a necessary process in business. An entrepreneur must continue to execute and try new tactics, learning along the way, failing forward to success until a successful, scalable business model is created. 

Khuram Dhanani
Khuram Dhanani
Khuram Dhanani
kd@softstonecapital.com