One of our members on this platform commented a few days ago that he thinks “ideas are overrated.” I took a little while to reflect on this comment, and then I came to the conclusion that he has a point. While there is really nearly nothing more exciting in this world than believing you have a totally original idea that no one, now or before, has ever had, the idea is only a start…

When it happens, you must apply for a patent, copyright or trademark so that others can pay you license fees for using your idea.

That’s all good, but it’s not the only thing entrepreneurship is about:

You can still be a very successful entrepreneur, even if you are not the originator of the idea, if you are able to adopt and adapt something successfully for your own market (of course, respecting Intellectual Property. If you don’t know what that is, it’s part of your homework).

I wish I could tell you that I invented mobile phones. I didn’t, and neither did anyone who makes money from them today. When I was a student engineer at college, I remember discussing mobile phones with my professors. The first commercial systems started being available in the 1970’s in the USA.

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Aliko Dangote did not invent cement, nor was he the first person in Nigeria to think about building a cement plant. What sets him apart is his entrepreneurial capacity to execute skillfully, using #People and #Process.

What is a McDonald’s? Is it not a hamburger that can be cooked in your mother’s kitchen? Yet someone took that humble burger, and turned it into a global business with a market capitalization last week of $140bn+. If McDonald’s was a country, it would be bigger than most African countries, except for Nigeria and South Africa.

How did this happen? Was the “idea” of a hamburger a new one at the time? Well, you tell me…

Now there is not a single African company today as big as McDonald’s. Or even half the size of McDonald’s. Why?! Why?!

The “hamburger” was not an original idea invented by McDonald’s. The guy who built the billion-dollar burger company was a master of #Process! And what else?

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You can build a million-dollar enterprise in almost anything you can imagine. Even if it is collecting rubbish on the street, there are guys out there in the world who have used it to propel themselves to global business scale.

The idea you have, whether original or something you have read about or seen in another country, is not actually the entrepreneurship. This only begins when you take concrete steps to make it happen.

Where are you on the journey today (part 5 of this series)?

# Have you been listening and learning?

# Are your entrepreneurial eyes open to solving problems around you?

# Are you #WiredForOpportunity?

Let’s not just talk…

Let’s execute ideas!

What are the first 10 steps you must take, after you have the idea? (No prizes; it is too important).

To be continued. . .

Image credit: Ubuntu Hope. Soweto, South Africa.

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