Why Your Business Idea Matters Less Than You Think

Confident African American businessman stands at his workplace with his colleagues in the background
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Why Your Business Idea Matters Less Than You Think


I have spoken with a lot of employees whose only impediment to starting their own businesses is that they don’t have a “great” business Idea. If you belong to that class, here’s a wonderful article I came across that the idea is a lot less important than we might think.

Here are 5 of the most cogent reasons the writer thinks about why not having a great business idea should stop you from pursuing that your entrepreneurial dream:

  • 1 – There is no such thing as a perfect idea

    Pretty much everything that looks like a great idea didn’t start out in the same form as it ends up. The “Pivot” is standard terminology in silicon valley, and is almost a badge of honour among startups. Twitter started out as a podcasting service. Flickr was a multi player online game, even nokia started out making Wellington boots! In fact, even companies that do stick to their idea, often don’t start with one that sounds convincing. How many of these companies sounded like a good idea in the beginning?

    2 – There’s no such thing as a new idea

    Really – there are only a few core business ideas, everything else is a twist on one of them. Even the mighty Google when it started was going into an already saturated market of search engines. Most successful businesses don’t have a unique idea, especially small ones. Everyone knows of a really great local coffee shop – how many of those do something unique? Roughly none I suspect, they just execute the idea brilliantly, which leads nicely on to:

    3 – Execution is a multiplier of your idea

    I first came across this idea from Derek Sivers. Ideas are multipliers of execution. To create a business, multiply the two relevant numbers in the tables:

    It’s a simple and powerful concept. If you take a great idea and do nothing with it, then it is worth nothing. This is kind of common sense, but look at the other end of the scale. If you execute a weak idea very well, then it’s enough to make you a millionaire.

    4 – You will come up with new ideas as you go

    The reason you can’t have a perfect idea, is that it’s almost impossible to predict what customers really want, or what they’ll do. The only way you can see this is to be there with them and give them something to pass judgement on.

    As you do this, you’ll see what their real needs / pain points are, and you’ll be able to come up with ideas that you wouldn’t have had in a million years before.

    5 – The only way to get better at something is to do it

    This applies definitely applies to business.  By working on our business, whatever it is, we get better at it. Most people aren’t brilliant immediately and make a tonne of mistakes. Having those out of the way and being a really good operator by the time you find your great idea is definitely the right way to go.

    You’ll want to be amazing at execution when the perfect thing comes along.

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