You may or may not be familiar with American football. For me, it is as much as part of my life as entrepreneurship, so let’s start with the basics.
Blocking and Tackling
Any championship football team excels at these two things. Blocking is what you need to win on offense, and tackling is what you need to win on defense. At the end of the day, these two things are the only things that matter in football.
Entrepreneurship Ideas vs. Execution
In American Football, everybody copies each other offensive and defensive scheme if it is the hot thing working around the league.
Whether it’s the Wildcat or the West Coast on offense, or the Tampa 2 or zone blitz on defense.
If it works, it will be copied.
The same goes with ideas in business. Your competition will copy your idea if you prove it works.
Execution is about blocking and tackling. Execution can’t be copied.
Execution is the fundamentals. Ideas come and go. You don’t win with ideas, you win with execution.
What is the equivalent of blocking and tackling in business: Marketing and customer service.
So there is the answer to the age old business question. What is execution? Execution is marketing and customer service.
Be good at those two things, and you have a better than average chance of winning. Be great at those two things, and you will win.
On the other hand, get those two things wrong and you have no chance at all.
This morning I came across a fun read from the founder of Instapaper, Marco Arment. Arment went on a slightly long-winded rant about customer complaints on his blog in a post titled You don’t need every customer. This rant had some fantastic insights in it. Arment went through how he interprets customer complaints which I think is very useful for all entrepreneurs to learn from. One of those rants from Arment is below:
No matter what you make or how much you charge, some people will find things to complain about. If you drop your app’s price all the way down to free, people will still complain — just not about the price. They’ll move on to the features, the implementation, the design, the updates, the way you look, or what kind of dog you have. They’ll complain about every facet of your app, and then they’ll complain about unrelated topics just to pile on. They’ll say they use your app every day and love it, then give it a two-star rating until you add their pet feature. They’ll drop you from five stars to one star after an update that broke their edge case, then never come back to update that review after you fix it.
The secret sauce here is that you should never let customer complaints drive you crazy. No matter what you do or how you do it, customers are going to complain. Just make sure you can interpret it and respond appropriately if at all.