I just read an article about how great ideas are a myth and it reminded me of a thought I had the other day while standing in Starbucks. I was looking around the coffee shop thinking what a great execution it was. I mean they sell coffee for goodness sake. That's hardly a great idea. And yet, I was in awe at how amazingly well they have figured out how to supply me with a cup of joe.
Great ideas are cheap. I can go to coffee with my friends any day of the week and we'll spin off a few great ideas, guaranteed. But, we hardly ever act on them.
What's really great about Starbucks is what's really great about Dell and Apple and other companies that dominate in their niches... great execution.
When you walk into Starbucks you get a certain familiar feeling. Look around, the place is totally engineered. The colours are great, the smell is great, the packaging, the desk where you put in your creme, the cups, the gifts, the dress code, all done deliberatly. A Starbucks outlet is the result of someone taking the time to look at the details and make sure it all fits and leaving very little to chance. It's the result of a whole bunch of great ideas that have been executed flawlessly so that the entire package of great ideas is executed so that it is recognizable as a Starbucks.
How much attention are you paying to how you execute in your business. When you deliver your product or service does your customer know or care that it was you that did that? Was your widget remarkable enough that she said, "ah yes, the familiar feel of an Acme Widget, nothing like it", or is your customer saying, "I think I saw this cheaper last week... where was that?".
The reason Starbucks and Dell and Apple put so much attention into their products and services is because it gives them an edge. They have virtual monopolies. Sure, you can get an MP3 player from anyone but the only place you can get an iPod is Apple, and the only place you can purchase a cutting edge screaming machine completely online for a low prce and have it delivered to your door in a week is Dell, and of course the only place you can get a grande soy extra-hot gingerbread latte with room in a familiar friendly comfortable environment anywhere on the planet is Starbucks.
Forget your great idea. What's your monopoly?