The Gap Between Idea and Execution is Vast and Needs to be Filled

Entrepreneurs fall madly in love with their ideas. Once they’re in love, they can’t see, can’t listen, and they don’t learn a thing. We see the same mistake again and again on Shark Tank.” Barbara Corcoran via Forbes

In late 2015, I participated and provided coverage for a different kind of pitching/networking event filled with executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. The goal was to connect high-powered women with high-powered capital, along with bringing together common industry people in a collaborative, effective and fun new kind of way … poker.

This powerhouse event was hosted by Anu Bhardwaj, CEO & Founder of Women Investing in Women Digital who added this insight when asked about her decision to add poker: “These fun-infused evenings are a great way to encourage women to learn more about risk, reward, taking bets, and gaining confidence with new business partners, clients, and investment opportunities.”

While experiencing too many pitch events over the last five years and talking to a diverse level of investors, the main challenge and thus, title of this article is that the gap between idea and execution is vast and needs to be filled. Now, you may be asking “How can this gap be filled?” The answer is simple “Serve up what the market is missing and craving to see.” Here is what the investors are hungry for:

1/ Research and testing conducted prior to launching and expending resources.

2/ Clear, concise communication, core brand value, customers and proof of concept.

3/ More business builders and doers taking strategic risks and actionable steps, less talkers.

Thanks to the popularity of reality shows, like Shark Tank, West Texas Investors Club, Startup U, and Think It Up, more and more entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds are jumping on the entrepreneur bandwagon. Yes, these shows are entertaining, educational and exciting to watch, but for those of us with skin in the game, livelihoods, families, health, dreams, reputations, resources (time, money, energy), and viable futures at stake, this is a real reality show.

In addition to these edited reality shows, there are a plethora of one to three day unedited live events popping up from LA to NYC, with diverse speakers and innovative agendas — the landscape can be a head spinner, but the results can enrich your life and business if you do your homework to make sure the event is a great fit in terms of education, events, and connections to stretch and evolve you to the next level of success, on your terms.

Based on extensive personal experience on both sides of the funding table, here is my advice:

Take two non-business days to step back and figure out what level you want to get to and why by asking yourself some tough questions to become self-aware, mindful and purposeful; which will fine tune your focus, while building your confidence and conviction to successfully be prepared to meet the right investment pitching/networking opportunity.

You already have your own unanswered questions (the persistent voices in your head), so write those down on a blank piece of paper and then answer these top questions:

• Why do I want an investor; what do I hope to gain and what value can I deliver?

• How do I define success and will an investor get me there or can I do it on my own?

• Have I proven that there is substantial market demand for my product or service?

• Have I monetized my business model enough to scale and grow to the next level?

• Can I clearly communicate my mission and the unique solution that only I can offer?

Entrepreneurship is like poker, it doesn’t matter how many chips you were given or what cards you were dealt; what matters is who is in the room, whether the players are random or chosen, your level of experience, how confidently you play your game, how you react when you don’t win or are unsure, and what you will do once you win the jackpot.

If you aren’t sure if you should fold or hold, here is a short “Reality Check” book by Seth Godin titled The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). The old saying is wrong — winners do quit, and quitters do win. Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point — really hard, and not much fun at all. And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip — a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.

Source: Amazon (note: this is an unsponsored personal recommendation)

Bottom line: Stop talking about your idea and start taking action; scare yourself a little bit every day by creating small challenges and wins or lessons to learn from; which will produce confidence, momentum and proof of concept to narrow the vast gap while transforming your idea/dream into an investor’s dream.

By Kathy Bass, Founder and Brand Identity Strategist, Ladies Who Brand

Are you an entrepreneur? Then you’ll love this new movie concept to be released in the Fall!