A successful startup business requires a good product but great execution. Successful entrepreneurs are likely to tell you that execution is what drives profitability. Ninety per cent execution, ten per cent product is not an uncommon view. New business startups in the South East region are at record highs - in excess of 50,000 per year. Sadly, the number of annual business closures, at just under 50,000 is very similar (source: ONS 21 Nov 18). And many of the businesses that do survive limp along, barely profitable.
Virgin is one of the best examples of the impact of excellent execution on the success of a business. Very few, if any, of Virgin’s products are new ideas: music, airlines, mobile phones, insurance, personal finance, trains and so on. Virgin has achieved great success by delivering their product to customers in a better and different way to their competitors. Even Virgin Cola, a rare failure, was perhaps an example of poor execution rather than a poor product. Whether or not alleged underhand tactics by competitors were a factor, one could argue that this should have been anticipated and addressed in the execution plans.
So if execution is key, the obvious question is what’s required for a startup business to achieve great execution. We think that a simple framework comprising the vision, strategy and execution plan of the business is an essential foundation. The Nike approach of ‘Just Do It’ sounds fun and entrepreneurial, but there’s a good chance that this will put your business in the poor performing category - if indeed it survives at all.
The journey to success starts with a business plan. This doesn’t need to be a lengthy formal document - sometimes the back of a napkin is the best place to start (just Google the number of well-known businesses that started this way). Jot down your vision and ideas for your business before trying to fit them into a formal template (of which there are numerous examples online). A simple business plan will allow you to measure the progress of your startup business over time and provide a framework which brings together the marketing, content, website and social media components of your business.
So don’t delay - get the paper napkin out and start sketching your business idea today!