I see a lot of small tech companies struggling with their strategic marketing decisions: What should our message be? What product feature should we add? What new vertical should we go after?

They spend months agonizing in search of the “best” idea. But the truth is that there are only a few truly great ideas in the world, and most become great only because they’ve been executed well.

For example, when the marketing team at GEICO came up with its talking lizard, I can only imagine the eyes rolling in the boardroom.  But they executed brilliantly.

Even Apple didn’t invent the tablet or the smartphone. Other people had those ideas first, but Steve Jobs executed them in a way that made them great. As he said,
“It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90 percent of the work…. there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product.”

Here’s how to find your idea and ensure that the execution makes it great:

  1. Set the Objective: This is probably the most important exercise in the idea creation process.  Be sure that you lead with your company’s objective, not the idea that happens to be clever.
  2. Brainstorm ideas: Let the ideas fly, but stay doggedly focused on your objective.  Keep checking back that the idea aligns with your goal. I was with a client recently when we came up with the most clever tagline imaginable. But we had the discipline to sideline the idea when we realized that it didn’t align with the intended target audience. Remember: Focus on the objective more than the idea.
  3. Make your Decision: Narrow down your choices and choose the likely best idea – just pick one already!
  4. Execute: Thomas Edison once said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Be sure you put even more time into the execution plan than you did in the idea creation.  Even a decent idea, executed well, is more likely to succeed than the greatest idea executed poorly.
  5. Stick with it: I’ve seen so many companies give up before they ever really got started.  Success comes from a continuous push forward, paying attention to details, analyzing the results, making adjustments and pushing forward again.

So stop fretting about this idea that could or that idea that would.

Just pick one.

Because excellent execution, even on the second or third best idea, is more important than waiting.