Entrepreneurial Excellence Part 1

Written by Topco Staff Writer

03/06/2020

Entrepreneurial Excellence Part 1

From idea to execution to excellence

By Brett Field and Khaya Dondolo

Instant excitement! The feeling as an idea sparks in your mind. The spark that ignites your entrepreneurial spirit. The spark that for most will soon smoulder. However, your entrepreneurial dreams diminish as you return to your day job. Yet for some the spark turns to fire. So what is the difference that ignites the flame?

What makes an entrepreneur is one thing – and one thing only – execution.

That first step, from idea to a start-up is the most common stopping point.

Genesis

Start-up is easy. Essentially when all you have done is start. Nothing else. The hard part is what follows – developing your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Unless you can take an idea to an MVP, you have nothing. Ideas are free until they are proven possible, desirable and affordable. The best way to getting to your MVP may surprise you.

Procrastination. Yes, the good kind. Too often entrepreneurs get defensive that their idea is so good that everyone is trying to steal it and this leads to a rushed route to market. Alternatively, they overvalue the ‘First to Market Advantage’. The thing is, in reality first to market is rarely an advantage. More often, it is a disadvantage as the first mover pays to educate the consumer. The second mover brings credibility to the new market and helps establish the market. The third to market, history has shown, can be the sweet spot. Does this mean you should wait until two others have the same idea? No.

Nevertheless, you need to learn to procrastinate. Here is why.

The best way to innovate is to procrastinate. When you take your time on a new idea your brain has time to use both the conscious and sub-conscious. You have time to think and obsess over the idea as you continue to have real life experiences, imagine and play out scenarios. Most importantly, you move beyond your default thinking and make links and thought leaps to connect dots you would not connect without the luxury of procrastination. With a well-considered and innovative idea, positioning and market strategy in place, it is time to start building.

The product or service you are developing need to be noticed. The best product without visibility in the market is worthless. Starting with your MVP it is a race to find your tribe – the bulls-eye market that will consume your product or service without the need for much convincing. They will be the catalyst to general market adoption so the sooner you find them the sooner you will grow. Fortunately, they are often easy to find. If you are third to market, you will not have to look too hard as first and second to market have done the hard work. So long as your product or service has addressed some of their initial concerns, you will have an easy time attracting them to your offering. If you are first to market, it is a little trickier but can be done. Here is how.

Influence 

Personas. The old marketing concept of developing a fictional character that represents a real life person to try break down how you are offering would resonate with them. The idea is that you would create a number of personas, then design a number of custom value propositions based off your key product or service value proposition. This has worked well for decades and is a great starting point. We now have the added benefit of social media to take this to the next level.

Influencers. Social media influencers, the true influencer, is a professional who understands what makes their audience resonate. By starting with personas and matching them to influencers, you are able to bring your fictional character to life. The influencer is of greater value in your research and development phase than in your distribution and brand building phases. Once identified these influencers can be hired (and paid as the professionals they are) as consultants. If done correctly this process will give you an unfair advantage. You will be able to design, tweak and test your product / service, your value proposition and distribution knowing that as you launch you have an audience that is guaranteed to be primed to become consumers. Whether you use traditional or modern tactics for your initial go-to-market strategy is up to you. What you do after will determine if you can scale.

Scaling is hard, especially if you manage to. What I am alluding to is that trying to get a business to scale is hard but once you start to actually scale, it can be even harder. Scaling requires exponential resources, robust processes, consistency and long-term relevance. It is critical that you listen to your consumers, continue to resonate with them as they push you to the top of your industry. It is critical to maintain the humility to accept that without them your relevance in the market ceases to exist.

See next week’s bulletin for the final installment of Entrepreneurial Excellence

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