by Michael Goldstein
It’s no secret in Startup Land that execution trumps ideas. It doesn’t matter how great an idea is if you can’t execute well.
Serial entrepreneurs regularly face the problem of too many ideas. If this happens to you, you know how terrible it feels to have the “best idea ever” hit right when you’re getting traction on your current business and don’t have the time to execute another well. And there’s nothing that hinders effective execution more than a distracted founder.
Startups already outsource parts of their businesses. Development shops create apps and websites. PR and marketing firms accelerate exposure and customer acquisition. The next logical step is to outsource an entire idea – paying for the execution you may not have time for yourself.
MK Technology in Washington, D.C. is the perfect example of a company that successfully outsourced an entire idea. The entrepreneurial group had its hands in a lot of things, from turbine engines to eyewear manufacturing. The team quickly realized its eyewear factory in Turkey was underutilized because it sold only to Turkish optometrists.
They wanted to create a U.S. online eyewear brand. MK Technology handed all the details over to Exhilarator, from market research to prescription fulfillment. Martin Eyes was born, offering stylish and affordable prescription glasses online. MK Technology now operates the company, but they had to do very little legwork to get there.
Don’t Outsource Vision
Making tough choices in the face of market research is always the job of the entrepreneur. You can’t outsource vision. Ideas materialize and iterate, but it’s up to the entrepreneur to ensure the project is fulfilling his vision – even if he’s paying another company to execute it. With that understanding, it’s important that the entrepreneur articulates the vision clearly. Once that happens, a third party can easily handle tactics and strategy.
Outsource Everything Else
Once everyone understands the vision, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what can be outsourced: market research, business model refinement, brand positioning, platform development, and customer acquisition. You can even turn over investor decks and investor introductions.
Of course, not every entrepreneur feels comfortable giving up that much control over his budding company. Price, time, and need for control all factor into how much a founder should outsource. The more control you want over your startup, the less you can outsource. But if you’re comfortable handing execution decisions over to a third party, you can save a lot of time and effort.
In this freelance, outsourced economy, it’s not hard to see the coming growth of third parties that actually build startups. As barriers to entry decrease and mobile becomes even bigger, serial entrepreneurs are better able to conceive side projects. Outsourcing is perfect for those who can fund the technology and costs of their side projects.
It’s also a fact that entrepreneurship is growing in popularity. It’s no longer the sole domain of college dropouts in hoodies. In the near future, we’ll see more first-time entrepreneurs with significant work experience. Because of their salaried work histories, they will have the financial resources to launch their own startups, but they’ll hedge their bets by working with more experienced companies that know the startup world. These third parties will eventually do more than execute: They will accelerate and grow future companies.
Michael Goldstein is the founder of Exhilarator, a startup accelerator that helps consumer Internet startups get traction and funding. He is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience focused on e-commerce, online content, and subscription businesses. Michael’s passion is for growing startups, and he has been involved with multiple startup businesses as an advisor and mentor. Connect with Michael on Twitter and Google+.