Almost a decade ago, a friend of mine and his partners came up with a brilliant business idea.
He secured investors, called in favors, leveraged relationships and raised thousands of dollars based on this idea. (Which was, and still is, brilliant.)
The obvious customer need, the "win-win" simplicity of the business model and massive appeal to consumers and businesses alike made this a million dollar idea - and then some.
And my friend had it first.
Ideas vs. Execution
Today, almost eight years later, my friend and his group are still trying to get their idea off the ground. Without going into gory detail or assigning blame, the reality is that with each day, week and month that passes, their vision becomes less valuable and viable.
Over the past several years, I've seen - and been part of - a pattern that has become all-to-familiar in the business world: Brilliant Ideas are everywhere. Execution is not.
Here's the reality: Without work, without hustle, without execution, your ideas are worthless.
For instance, I doubt Steve Jobs was the first guy to come up with the idea of a personal computer (Macintosh), digital music player (iPod) or tablet device (iPad). But the reality is, he and his team at Apple executed on those ideas better than anyone else. That's why Apple is one of the most profitable companies on the planet.
What Are You Prepared to Do?
It comes down to this: Do you have a million dollar idea?
Now, are you willing to put in the work?
Are you willing to overcome the inevitable obstacles and roadblocks and push forward? Are you willing to get up early, stay up late and do whatever it takes to see your vision become reality?
Gary Vaynerchuk - From Twitter Zero to Hero
One of the ways Gary Vaynerchuk built his Twitter following from 0 to 1.3 million people was by engaging with every single person who mentioned him on Twitter.
Nobody handed him a thing. His parents weren't celebrities. He wasn't a movie star. He didn't inherit a platform or huge audience to appeal to.
Instead, Gary Vaynerchuk hustled. He dove into Twitter and engaged with anyone he could find who was asking for advice on what wine to drink. Once he built a small following, he began interacting, responding and answering every single person who mentioned or "Tweeted" at him on the platform.
In addition, he gave out his email address everywhere, encouraging people to email him questions or problems they needed help with.
And he answered those emails personally. Every. Single. One. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of, "Hey Gary, love your wine show on YouTube, and I'm wondering, I'm having a party next week, and I wanted to find a new red wine to try, and we're serving steak, what would you recommend?"
In five years, his family's wine business went from $3 million to $60 million in revenue.
I'm not suggesting you follow Gary's insane work schedule or obsessive desire to respond to every single person who gives you a shout out online.
I am suggesting you hustle. I am suggesting you do the work.
These days, when I do run into my friend, I don't ask him about that million dollar idea he and his partners had. I figure, if there's something new and exciting to share, he'll offer it up.
I've also been an eyewitness to a handful of failed partnerships in recent years that were founded on what someone articulated as a great idea, but ultimately ones that lacked the execution and hustle needed to make that person's vision a reality.
To quote Gary Vaynerchuk: "Ideas are (horse manure). Execution is the name of the game."
Truer words have never been spoken.