Ideas are Good. Execution is Better.

8/7/2017 12:08:00 PM
How many great ideas have you had for your business? You know the feeling: that flash of insight or moment of clarity surrounding a difficult a problem you’ve been struggling with. Now, how many of these ideas have you actually successfully implemented? If you’re like most, you’ve conceived plenty of great new ideas and strategies to take your business to the next level. However, your track record of successfully implementing these ideas is likely a different story altogether.

The fact is that most of us come up with great ideas every day. You easily identify problems in our businesses and, with a little ideation, conceive of an innovative solution. But for one reason or another, many of these ideas never quite take hold the way you envisioned. It’s a business phenomenon known as the “execution gap,” and it plagues business of all shapes and sizes.

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The selling of premium services is a perfect example. Discussion around effective RMR strategies has been taking place in our industry for years. RMR models work successfully in countless other industries, and it’s hard to conceive of a future where, at a bare minimum, a large percentage of the CEDIA channel’s current clientele won’t be paying a monthly fee for some sort of smart home monitoring and management. Yet, while many forward-thinking companies are scoring victories, widespread success in the industry has proven elusive. There’s a glaring execution gap here. But why?

Not Enough “Blocking and Tackling”
Like a football team who spends all of its time drawing up big downfield pass plays and completely ignores the ground game, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a grand new service strategy. But, when conceptualizing this new strategy might mean for your business, rarely is enough focus given to the systems, processes, and capabilities that will be required to execute your vision.

Considering what it would mean for your bottom line to have a majority of your clients on a premium service plan, or to have a monitoring device deployed in 100 percent of your projects is the wrong place to start. Instead, think about what it will take to convert just one client. How will this client find out about your new offering? Will you spin up an email campaign? Where will you direct them for more information? Will you need a new landing page on your site? Do you have someone on your team who can create this page, write the copy, and design the graphics? What will your sales and marketing messaging be? How will you structure a value proposition to drive sufficient conversions?

And that, of course, is a glimpse of the sales and marketing requirements (i.e. the very beginning). The to-do list goes on to include items such as selecting and deploying various service software tools, drafting up a comprehensive Terms of Service agreement, rolling out a system for subscription payment processing, establishing on-call policies and management tools, and much, much more. When you start peeling back the layers of the proverbial onion, it’s easy to see how an exciting vision can quickly transform into a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Identifying these requirements early, and comparing them to the development resources you have available is the only way to successfully chart a path forward.

Ideation is Good, Execution is Better
Creating a truly differentiated service offering and an accompanying RMR strategy is a perfect example of an area where our industry as a whole has struggled to close the execution gap. But it is just one example. Surely, you can look to your years in business and identify numerous initiatives that got you and your team jazzed up around a conference table, but quickly fizzled out in the face of day-to-day business realities.

Perhaps it was a new product category you were hoping to add to your lineup. Or maybe it was an innovative marketing strategy aimed at penetrating new segments of your local market. Whatever the case may be, if it didn’t pan out like the 80-yard touchdown bomb you’d envisioned, it’s likely not because you don’t have a quarterback, but rather it’s the absence of a “ground game.” Without breaking the initiative down first, to closely examine the requisite systems, processes, and capabilities needed to make it a reality, the enthusiasm and inertia quickly waned as each new obstacle revealed itself.

So next time you’re presented with an exciting new idea for your business, it’s OK to allow yourself to get carried away by all the possibilities, but only temporarily. Reel yourself back in as quickly as possible and start with a planning meeting to outline in detail what requirements must be met to execute the vision. From establishing technical systems, to creating and documenting new processes, to nurturing new capabilities on your team, you’ll surely identify no shortage of work to be done. Only with these steps clearly outlined and understood can you make the vision a reality because, as the adage states, “It’s the idea, it’s the execution.”

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