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Is it your brilliant plan or your execution?

Mike Tyson: brilliant business savant

“Everybody’s got a plan – until they are punched in the face,” famously stated boxer Mike Tyson.  My experience personally reviewing over three hundred executive summaries each year, all sent to me unsolicited, seems to bear out the truth in Tyson’s statement.

Anyone can build a good – or great – plan.  Investors have to look behind the plan and at the entrepreneur and his or her team, knowing that, over time, most of us have come to the conclusion that it is the execution of the ever-changing plan, not the plan itself that makes a company a success.

Tyson’s insight into the realities of the market

Tyson’s statement also addresses change.  The ‘punch in the face’ is analogous to dealing with the business plan when it intersects with the realities of the market.  Wham!  I can’t recall any of my companies hanging onto its original plan after some level of market feedback.

A personal story of a pivot – Tyson style

We built one of our companies upon forecasted metrics for a specific class of retail consumer base but found that there wasn’t enough money in our universe to pay for the amount of marketing to create that much dedicated traffic to our site.

[Email readers, continue here…]   So, we switched to distribution through partners which already had massive amounts of traffic and concentrated in providing great content and great offers that more than made up for the sharing of revenues. Tyson was right again. “Punched in the face” meaning our plan’s intersection with market reality.

Celebrate our versatility

We should celebrate entrepreneurs and managers who recognize the need to pivot when a plan fails to gain traction in the marketplace. And credit Savant Tyson for the insight

Did we just (once again) bet on the jockey, not the horse?

And most of us who invest in so many companies have concluded that our greatest profits over time come from investments in great management, groups that we are confident are able to execute even on average plans.

  • Brilliant article, I will definitely use these tips! Thanks for sharing

  • Nadine Taft

    Hello Dave, thank you for that great blog. It is so true in business or any organization, there’s the plan, there’s the reality, and there is the need/opportunity to pivot. Probably the best example is post-it-notes. 🙂

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