Your Idea Is Worthless Unless You Can Communicate It
by Andrea Pacini —
Right now there’s someone in the world having a great idea; their own lightbulb moment which could change the world.
Many entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders assume that their ideas are the most important thing. They believe that their idea, whether that be a product, service, project or business, is all that matters.
They focus on creating and working on their concepts without giving sufficient thought to articulating them.
Your idea is worthless unless you can communicate it.
Failing to communicate an idea properly runs the risk of it falling flat. If there’s no message around a product, it’s unlikely to resonate with the market.
Communicating an idea badly, or not at all, can only lead to missed business opportunities.
Communication leads to success
Pitching, presenting and communicating are crucial skills that every entrepreneur and business leader should master. Communicating your ideas can help you transform your business and deliver success.
There are so many areas in which this is important, depending on what you hope to achieve.
If you want to make more sales, your presentation should convince your prospects to buy from you.
If you want your team to follow you, you need to get them excited to join you on your journey and deliver on your strategy.
If you want to generate business interest from speaking at an event, you need to deliver a powerful talk that people will act upon.
Business success depends on the idea and the way the idea is communicated.
Idea + Communication = Success
Here’s a model for you to consider:
How many times have you seen two similar ideas (or product and services) where one fails and the other succeeds? Business history is full of moments where one piece of technology triumphed over its rival.
The ideas are often similar, but what differentiates them is the way they are communicated.
Let me draw a parallel. In the startup scene, there’s often a debate around Idea vs Execution. Which of the two is more important?
Any experienced founder or entrepreneur would tell you that execution is what matters.
In his book Anything You Want, Derek Sivers says, “Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.”
I believe that the way you communicate your idea is also a means to multiply its success. It can be a competitive advantage for your business. You can amplify your ideas if you communicate them effectively.
Sivers explains that we can think of it this way:
- A terrible idea equals -1
- A good idea equals 10
- A brilliant idea equals 20
From an execution perspective:
- No execution equals $1
- Good execution equals $100,000
- Brilliant execution equals $10,000,000.
Sivers says that if you want to turn an idea into a business, you need to multiply the Idea and the Execution.
So the most brilliant, groundbreaking idea with no execution is worth $20. The same idea with brilliant execution is worth $200,000,000.
The value of ideas in practice
Let’s look at how this might work in the real world.
If you have an idea for a book with the potential to transform people’s lives but never write it you can’t call yourself an author. You’ll miss out on the opportunity to bring about the change your book could have inspired.
I give this example to reinforce my point: ideas are not enough. When you combine a breakthrough idea with brilliant execution, you win.
The key is that communication must play a big part in your execution.
It’s not the only element behind a successful idea, of course. There are other factors that contribute to the success of an idea. But the single most important element in business success is your ability to communicate your ideas.
Tim Berry — Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com — says that “A good idea is like a beautiful day. Everybody owns it. You use it or you don’t. Other people may make better use of it than you do.”
People that make better use of an idea are those who invest time and energy to craft a compelling story around it.
Some personal examples
Two of my favourite brands are Allbirds and Huel. I’m a bit obsessed with them to be honest.
Allbirds make sustainable shoes and clothing. Their promise is that their products are as eco-friendly as possible, manufactured using only natural materials. The company is also a certified B Corporation which means it has the highest sustainability rating.
They also say their shoes are the world’s most comfortable shoes.
Now, I don’t know if they are the world’s most comfortable shoes. They certainly feel comfortable to me. But it was their brand values which made me fall in love with them in the first place.
Their three key messages, that they are sustainable, comfortable and with a simple design, hits a sweet spot for people like me. Not only do they have a great idea — they’ve been very effective at telling me about it.
As a result, I have four pairs of Allbirds — a pair for the winter, summer and somewhere in between, plus a pair for running.
Allbirds was launched in 2016. By 2020 the company was already valued at $1.7 billion. They went from a small startup to a billion-dollar brand in four years.
Another brand I love is Huel — who make nutritionally complete food you can prepare in a matter of seconds. As a business owner, my schedule is hectic. But I care about my health and I don’t want my busy schedule to get in the way of my nutrition.
Huel allows me to eat well even if I have no time or I can’t prepare an actual meal — so I can avoid having sandwiches and crisps for lunch.
Huel is another great example of a company that had a great idea who also focused on how to communicate it in a powerful way. Their communication reaches people who are looking for a product that’s affordable, approved by experts and environmentally friendly.
To date, at the time of writing, Huel has sold over 200 million meals in more than 100 countries.
I’m not saying the idea isn’t important. Of course not. Without an idea there would be no product. In my two examples of Allbirds and Huel their products are great. However, in both sectors, across footwear and nutrition, there are other alternatives. There may be rival products which are technically better.
But in both cases the way they’ve communicated their ideas has touched me and I have no reason to look for replacements. Allbirds and Huel both understand that having a great product is not enough. They invest considerable time, energy and money on making sure their story, values and messages resonate with me.
Even the best ideas are worthless unless you can communicate them. Success in business depends on how well you can pitch, present and communicate an idea.
The best entrepreneurs and business leaders know this and value communication above ideas.
If you only focus your time and energy on the idea, you miss out on the opportunity to amplify your idea and allow it to resonate with an audience.
Communicating an idea effectively can give it exponential power. Considering what you want an audience to do, feel and know about your idea will help you achieve more sales, higher income and a better profile.
If any of the points in this article have helped your business, please let me know. Please share the article with any friends or colleagues who might also benefit.
There are many more resources available. If you want to improve your presentation skills further please try our Confident Presenter Scorecard.
After answering a series of simple yes/no questions you’ll get an instant score plus suggestions for improvement. It takes less than 3 minutes. Once you complete the scorecard, you’ll receive a free pdf copy of our best-selling book Business Presentation Revolution.
Image: Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash