Chapter 6Taking action

‘The key to success is action.’

Sun Yat-sen

So many people tell me they’ve got a great idea, but they never do anything with it. Maybe they fear failure or fear that other people will steal the idea. It’s what they do with it that counts — and that, my friends, is the hard bit. As Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, puts it, ‘Ideas are a commodity, execution of them is not’. Some people get started and blow their entire savings on a full-blown product it took countless months to develop in what they call ‘stealth mode’, or it all becomes a little too hard and they give up. Others never try, insisting it’s just not the right time yet.

Today taking action doesn’t need to be hard or expensive, especially if all you want to do is test an idea, which is what you should be doing when it is still just an idea. As with staring at an intimidating blank page, writing down the first few words is the most difficult bit; with each step you will learn, move and gain momentum.

When my team decided to explore running a children’s entrepreneurship program (an idea that bore fruit in Lemonade Stand), we didn’t reach out to schools, hire a K12 teacher to help us develop the content, set up an elaborate website and marketing campaign or announce classes all over Australia from day one.

No, we had to test our idea before committing scarce resources to it. We had to design experiments to observe what the market wanted, rather than just ask them or assume what ...

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