Over the past few years I have begun to notice that many people working in the entrepreneurship space get stuck in the brainstorming mode. They tend to move from idea to idea, dreaming up all the ways that they could hit the jack pot. Ideation is barely the first step in business. As an investor, I see hundreds (if not thousands) of ideas. It is an unfortunate fact that many of them will stay ideas. What many people forget is that they need a plan and more importantly they have to EXECUTE.
If you find yourself in the perpetual idea cycle and need to push something forward here are a few tips on improving your execution skills.
In order to become better at execution, be clear on what you are driving towards. Take the time create a map. Ask yourself: What are the steps between you and your destination? Write them down and then begin to break each step out. To borrow a cliché a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Now that you have your roadmap and have listed out and organized the steps that need to be taken, give yourself deadlines. These deadlines should be hard. If you make excuses to yourself or find yourself repeating how busy you are, enlist an accountability partner. That partner should know the map and know the deadlines. With the help of an accountability partner you can stay on course.
Sideline Your Creativity
This one is likely the most controversial tip on the list. If you are oriented more towards brainstorming or ideation, then do not allow yourself to move to the next concept until you have put the current one to bed. Even though I am a person who is very very very good at executing (I say humbly), I still need to keep myself on one idea. Here is what I have done in the past. I give myself 30 minutes to 1 hour to brainstorm or ideate, generally at the beginning of each day. I write all the concepts or thoughts down in a notebook. The notebook serves two purposes it allows me to get my idea fix in and I have a record that I can come back to. I am on my 10th notebook. While, at first it will feel like you may be missing out on the next big idea you had, I promise you are not.
Ideas are no good without execution. In the investment world when we evaluate the investment potential of a business we are looking at the team members and deciding how likely it is that they can execute on the concept. Make sure that you assemble a team that is ready to EXECUTE otherwise you will be another good idea that dies on the vine. Be honest with yourself—understand your personality and which parts of the business you enjoy. Remember most investors would rather have a second-rate idea with a first-rate execution team than vice versa. So, EXCUTE, EXECUTE, EXECUTE!
Dr. Shante Williams is a serial entrepreneur who started slow and in the shallow end of the business pool. She has worked in Biotech, Big Pharma, Green Energy, and Academia