Great guest post by Paul Oberschneider Entrepreneur, private equity investor, business startups and emerging market expert. My new book is launching soon–watch this space.

The key to business success is not a million-dollar idea, it is getting the million-dollar execution right. A mediocre idea that can be brilliantly executed will always triumph over an innovative one that is executed poorly, which makes the know-how to execute a plan effectively an invaluable asset.

As a business leader, hiring a manager with the skillset to execute your ideas could be one of the best investments you make. You can spend all the time and money you like on marketing, sales and public relations, but if you aren’t paying attention to execution, you might as well just close the door.

Just think about one of the world’s most successful businesses, Apple – Steve Wozniak knew about computers, Steve Jobs didn’t, so their incredible success was only possible by combining their skillsets to achieve brilliant execution of an innovative vision.

In fact, take a moment to think of all the businesses you know of in the crowded tech sector, and then ask yourself what makes the good ones really stand out over the others? Invariably the answer is execution. Of course a lot of other factors come into play, but fundamentally, if a business is going to maintain sustainable success it all boils down to successful execution.

The successful execution of a plan inevitably relies on employees or suppliers getting the job done. You succeed and fail based on their performance, so if they aren’t getting the job done, fire them. That might sound brutal, and as a leader you have to consider that perhaps you haven’t made what you need from them clear enough, but if you continually tolerate ineffective staff without taking action, you only have yourself to blame for disappointing results.

You are in business to create, build, and add value. Don’t waste your time – trust in staff members who are determined to work hard to successfully execute your vision, and let them know that they are a valued part of what you’re trying to achieve together. Here are some recommended actions to take:

Execution is critical: You can spend all the money and time you want on marketing, building your digital platform, and public relations, but it’s all a waste of money if you cannot deliver the quality of product or level of service that your customers expect. Without good execution, your business will never be sustainable.

Find the right people: As a business leader you must accept that you will not be able to do everything yourself, so it is important to work with people who can provide the skills you need. Only hire staff members who are eager and willing to work hard to achieve your vision together. You want to earn their loyalty, so don’t cut corners – if you don’t pay your team well you may struggle with staff retention and lose some valuable assets.

Give people the tools for success: Investing time and money into training your employees not only helps equip them to help your project, but also makes them feel more valued. Good employees and managers are determined to succeed so encourage that determination by creating a clear ladder of opportunities.

Maintain high standards: If employees don’t want to work or don’t care about level of service or quality you are trying to achieve, let them go. Execution is the single most important ingredient to business success so you have to ensure your staff will keep maintaining, or even raising the standard in order to make that happen.

Paul Oberschneider is a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, author and speaker. For more information go to

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