Take care of yourself.
Eat well. Get enough sleep. Exercise 4-5 days a week. Make time for it.
Entrepreneurship is a tough job and you will never have enough time to get everything done. This means you will have to choose and taking care of yourself is often deferrable. But don’t. An hour long aerobic workout gives you time to think and sort things out. A double benefit.
Change is hard. People that lead change are often not popular with those who have a lot to lose. Even those who have nothing to lose join in because failure is better news than success.
How many world-changing ideas die in the minds of the ones who choose to keep it to themselves?
I don’t know but it matters. A lot!
But choosing to be remarkable demands that you see it through. No one else can do it for you. Nor should they. It’s your idea. The hard part is making it happen. That’s where the value is.
Read “Tribes” by Seth Godin
You have to start early with customers. It’s better to consult with them, even before you start developing the product. Then let them beta test for you. Find out the top five things they want the most and target those.
Loyalty takes time and several interactions. Every web site view, every support call, every coffee chat, every site visit… all these things build relationship. The researcher does these things when there’s time. For researchers, there’s never time.
The CEO makes time, takes the call, buys the coffee.
Talk to five customers a week… for a start.
Read “Blueprint To A Billion” by David Thomson
The man went to the CEO’s office to report that the $100,000 project was not going to work out. Fearing loss of confidence, demotion and worse, he apologized for failing the important project. The CEO wisely replied, “It wasn’t a $100,000 failure. If it had worked, we would have made millions but it didn’t. Turns out I only paid $100,000 to find that out it. Sounds like a bargain.”
Shots on goal are the only ones that score.
There’s not time to do everything. But not doing everything still takes time. Focus on the most important things and outsource the rest.
Part time entrepreneurship is generally not fundable. Sooner or later you’ll have to be all in. Then you’ll find it’s still not enough. Pick your partners and key staff wisely.
The opinion that counts the most is the customer’s. Don’t run with the pack. “Me Too” business models slug it out in the mud. Find a need that is unmet and one that customers are ready to pay for.
Be different. Be better.
Low Cost Provider is a good business model but only if you have a significant competitive advantage in cost. Mature markets always compete on price until technology changes the game.
Better to compete on value. Solve a big problem in a big market. The iPod was not the first MP3 player. Nor did it enter the market as the cheapest. It cost $300 and in two years, it captured 92% market share. It wasn’t perfect. It didn’t have more features. It had three things:
- 1,000 songs in your pocket
- Easy interface
- You could buy your favorite songs for a dollar
But it had one big thing… it was cool!
People like cool. People paid for cool. A lot of people.
Read “Duct Tape Marketing” by John Jantsch
Money is of course the fuel but entrepreneurs are the fire. Communities need to embrace their entrepreneurs. They are the ones hiring and creating new jobs. It’s great to have a new manufacturing plant move in but most likely, they left somewhere else and they can leave you when the economics dictate.
But it’s a long term play. It may be two or three or four years before startups reach 25 employees. So, have a lot of them.
And failure? So what? If a company forms, raises $2 million, hires 25 people, pays them great salaries for 5 years and does’t make it, why is that not a good thing? They payed taxes, bought cars and refrigerators, office supplies and paid office rent.
Then again, they may grow to be worth $billions.
Home grown companies tend to be sticky. After all, they chose your community to get started. They must like it there. Make sure they don’t leave.
No matter how good you are or how much confidence you have, or how good your idea is…
You can’t get there alone. You’ll need:
Surround yourself with good people. Take them to lunch or buy them a $2.10 cup of coffee. That’s important!
Join entrepreneurial support groups. Share your time with others. Be humble and ask for advise.
Say thank you!
Entrepreneurship is risky. The thing is that entrepreneurs know their risk and develop plans to manage it. Still, you’re never really sure your idea will work till you get into the market and that may take months and $ millions.
It is said that in Silicon Valley, an entrepreneur is not fundable until he or she has had at least one spectacular failure under the belt. What that means is that investors want you to learn on somebody else’s nickel. But learn you must.
They say the average entrepreneur faces failure two to three times before they find a hit. In the world of baseball batting, that’s pretty good odds.
A teacher in an electronics class said, “If your project works the first time when you finish, you haven’t learned anything.” Learning comes from figuring out what went wrong and correcting it.
Just remember, you’re not going to starve. Give it a shot.