“Many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks.” – John Lyly

Entrepreneurs have big ideas, grandiose ambitions, and endless options. Line up10 of them against a wall and you’ll have a truckload of “what ifs” but only a pocketful of “how tos.”

“Don’t bother me with the small strokes,” they like to say. “I’m a Big Idea guy.”

Indeed, success in business starts with the Great Idea. But it won’t get any further than that until someone gets down to the little tasks. Nothing happens until the first sale is made. And the first sale can’t be made until someone does something.

I was reminded of this recently by three events.

A business I had been meaning to get off the ground for four years finally happened. And it was not because my Big Idea got any better. It was because I asked a colleague to handle it — and she did.

A little documentary film I produced last year would have never seen the light of day were it not for PL, a friend and ultimate “get-it-done” guy.

And, most recently, some friends and I bought three townhouses in my hometown for investment purposes. When it came time to read and negotiate the sales contract, I was just “too busy.” So I delegated the task to AK, who sat down with my friends and hammered out some substantial concessions from the seller.

I would not have bought this property at all were it not for the specific input of my friends. And I certainly wouldn’t have gotten the deal I got without the actions taken by AK and my friends.

When you start a business, you have to do everything yourself. And many of those things are unpleasant, scary, or tedious. It is usually those smaller obstacles, not concern about the Big Idea, that derails business start-ups.

So the trick is to train yourself to do the tasks that need doing or to find someone who will do them for you. The idea guys get the kudos, but the action people deserve some (at least) of the credit.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.