There is a saying that "knowledge is power" and while that is true in some respects action can trump knowledge 9 times out of 10. Think of it for a second, if you know how to do the best workouts and know exactly what type of food to eat and you're 300 lbs does that make you successful? Would people actually listen to your advice? I wouldn't it. However, I have been in that position of that 300 lb man before.
It started when I was 18 and was a competitive baseball player. I loved baseball and always wore a baseball cap, I even wore one at the prom with my tux... maybe one of the reasons why I'm bald today? Thankfully, I grew out of that phase, but it did inspire my to come up with an idea. I was always in search of the best baseball cap, one that was soft, already worked in like your favourite pair of jeans. It was next to impossible to find, so I wondered if I could make my own?
That's when I came up with the idea of old style baseball caps (retro if you will) from the original major league and African-American leagues (referred to as Negro leagues then) from the early 1900's. These caps should be made of wool and tweed with full-backs just like the originals. Licensing deals would need to be put into place and I would need to charge a price premium of around $50 USD each to be successful. In order to get the word out I would need to give them away to celebrities to drive demand, after all this is a fashion business (celebrities are "what's cool" agents of change).
What about a supplier? Well, at the time I knew some sports apparel manufacturers who could turn out some prototypes, so I basically had all my ducks lined up in a row. I knew exactly what I had to do and how to be successful and did nothing. I sat on the idea for almost a year and got my first lesson about entrepreneurship when I saw my dad reading his weekly People magazine.
On the cover was Steven Spielberg wearing a brand new retro baseball cap from the negro leagues. The headline read something to the effect like "Celebs Love Harvard MBA Grad's New Retro Caps". My heart sunk and I think I even lost my breath. Here two Harvard, yes Harvard MBA grads had the same idea I had about a year go and applied it. The took action and got results. What was different from them or I? Action! That's it... well maybe some credibility with the Harvard brand behind them. Nonetheless, I received a cold hard lesson about the ideas versus execution, which reminds me of a quote I was heard "To know and not to do is not to know". Obviously, I thought I knew everything and the reality was I knew nothing because I didn't do anything. A humbling experience that I received at a young age and didn't want to repeat.
Unfortunately, I tilted the pendulum the other way and went on to several other business ventures head first without doing my research and lost my shirt. I learned a lot and received lesson after lesson of that humbling failure. I'll share that in other posts to come. In the meantime, take a look at what my idea at 18 years old was like by seeing the products that actually made it to market with entrepreneurs brave enough to take on the enemy of success...