The other day I saw a post on LinkedIn by Ryan Holmes titled: “3 Worst Entrepreneurial Habits Revealed (by a watermelon)“.
Holmes tells the story of a friend who spent time living in a Canadian village accessible only by plane. Because of the distance, food prices in the village were very high. One day a watermelon arrived in town and the shopkeep placed a $85 price tag on it.
$85 was a lot of money for the people in the village. The community members came up with a solution; cut up the watermelon and sell it in individual pieces so everyone could have some and share the cost. While the community members’ solution seemed logical, the store owner refused to cut up the watermelon. Eventually, “the rare and precious fruit was left to rot on the shelf, unbought and uneaten“.
Holmes say this story shows “three of the worst entrepreneurial bad habits converge: inertia, ego and fear“. He then goes on to detail each bad habit. It’s a great post and I suggest any entrepreneur give it a read.
You can find Ryan’s post on LinkedIn HERE
In the comment section, a LinkedIn user asked; “why no one decided to buy the watermelons themselves and sell them in parts.”
This user’s comment highlights the most valuable lesson from this story – good ideas are a dime a dozen but the ability to execute is rare.
The town’s people all thought the shop owner should cut up the watermelon and sell it in pieces but no one wanted to take the risk and/or put in the effort to do it themselves. No one executed!
Some might be surprised at how often I speak with different management teams with nearly identical business plans. While some succeed, others don’t and failure is usually not because of a lack of good ideas. I’m also guilty of thinking of “great ideas” only to never do anything about them and later see an article in TechCrunch or VentureBeat about someone who is executing on my idea. Success or failure isn’t a result of the quality of an idea, it is a result of the quality of execution!
So, if all you have is a great idea and no execution, you are just spitting seeds…
Ben Kotch is a managing director and investment committee member at Acquis Capital, LLC, a private investment firm that specializes in acquisitions. He has extensive experience with both private and public companies. Ben graduated with an economics degree from Bentley University where he concentrated in entrepreneurship and law.
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