While I was on a vacation in Bali, one simple thought came to my mind; how should I embark upon creating really valuable content for my network and followers, the old and the new, in the year 2020?
The only answer I could think of revolved around having extensive and realistic discussions about the entrepreneurial journey of establishing a startup business –without the glamour associated with it. I feel it would be highly beneficial to talk about the good and the bad especially so that every entrepreneur is aware of the effort, time and sacrifice it takes to ground a business idea.
As I thought more about this, I noticed, through personal experiences as well as from those around me, that there seems to be a common thread amongst the startup community that should be talked about. I’ve always been committed to the absolute truth when it comes to such concepts and exploring such a topic is going to be particularly interesting because of its wide-ranging aspects.
I hope you can learn something from what I’ve put together below–Mary.
The very first misconception people have is that starting a business is as easy as it gets. The entire notion is sugar-coated in a manner that people believe all you need is an excellent idea and the rest will work itself out. Sky-high expectations make you believe that you’ll start minting money from day one. This is largely untrue! The chances of this actually happening are once for every hundred thousand individuals. For the majority, it takes an immense amount of perseverance, passion, and consistency. Optimism should not be confused with idealism.
Let’s assume you have an idea that you must take a leap with. My advice to you would be to figure out your level of commitment first. You should know if you’re all in or not. You can’t have one foot in and the other out with something like this. You have to give this idea all that you can so that you can create something that is greater than you. That is the only way you will get results out of a mere idea.
At the same time, it is also important to realize that alterations might need to be made to your vision based on the practicalities of the real world. Over the years, I have seen many companies evolve into completely different entities as they grew older. Thus, you should always be open to change and evolution so that you can become the owner of an established and profitable business.
Once you have committed yourself completely, the first step is to start with the mental aspect. Don’t quit your job right away because you don’t want to give away the financial security it provides. Channel your creativity and bring it to paper by discovering more about yourself and what you are looking for in a business. After you have created a comprehensive plan, allocate your time to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 o’clock at night or 8 in the morning; taking quality time out for yourself is only helpful when you can give some life to your ideas.
Thus, the main takeaway should be the recognition of the fact that investing time and effort into your business idea are key elements that will take you to the first step of success.
As the startup journey continues, we dive into a different aspect that revolves around mentorship. Most people have a ‘do it yourself’ mindset which can either end up in the company rising up through trials and tribulations, or in absolute failure. In order to ensure that the former is where you are headed, you should invest in people who can boost the growth of your business.
There are many who resist such help and stick to their DIY attitude. Most of these people end up staying in the entrepreneurial coaching and consulting business –like me. Failure is a word that I have acquainted myself with. In fact, I embrace mine fully because despite all that I could not achieve, I have gained a fair share of knowledge through them. Working with those who have been through this process can result in wisdom being imparted from a standpoint of love, support and experience. It makes you understand that there is no short cut to becoming successful.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, you should be able to ask yourself, ‘Do I have the ingredients it takes to actually start a business? ‘Will I be able to help it grow?’ The answer you should seek out is one that is absolutely honest. Honesty is what can drive your business towards growth and stability. You should be able to point out if you have the temperament to take on this massive challenge. Once you have figured this aspect out, you move towards the planning phase. It is at this point that you need to answer questions like, ‘How am I going to plan my days ahead?’ or ‘How do I transfer this idea from my mind to paper?’ and even ‘How should I execute the plan so that it results in tangible outcomes?’
You need to have a proper system in place so that you have a systematic and methodical approach towards creating a startup business. If you don’t have that system, then you should highly consider investing in external help which will provide you with a framework, set up systems, create plans and help you move in the right direction. The coaches or consultants that you hire will ensure that you are not sidetracked, a phenomenon that is not uncommon, and focus on one solid foundation.
Just recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Ray Leone, the mastermind behind the Sales Funnel Program. Perhaps the most profound thing he said was, ‘Travel in first class and treat it like a marketing expense.’ According to his experience, when he invested in first class, he often walked away with business contacts, opportunities and meetings. The fact that he met his target audience in first class validated this claim of it being a marketing expense. The take away here is that in order to lay the foundation of your business, through coach or consultants, you should be open to the concept of spending money.
Honesty is something that will help you acknowledge the fact that you need outside help and will encourage you to pursue it. It is one characteristic that can help your startup become more successful.
The journey of a startup business is just as important as the starting or finishing line. When entrepreneurs decide to materialize a business idea, more often than not, they can get carried away in the first few phases. This can be very dangerous! You don’t want to be one of the gurus pretending to lie on a beach thinking that they have mastered the tricks of the entrepreneurial world just after 5 minutes of being in it. The goal, instead, is to experience all that the journey throws at you; emotions, feelings and experience. You should be able to talk about all your fears openly. This acts as a reality check so you don’t shy away from the facts at hand. Knowing where you stand is one of the most important pieces of information which can prove to be a great asset.
You should also be able to embrace your shortcomings, an act that is not as common as one would think. As humans, we are wired to run away from things that cause pain and are attracted to those that cause pleasure. However, pain is something that will enable you to have a creative, inspiring and insightful breakthrough. It is something that will highlight a clear path of action for you. Shortcomings are what force you to view things from a different, perhaps entirely new, perspective. Resolving this challenge is what will help you cross the finish line. My belief is that meltdowns always lead to major realizations that can improve you as a person. You understand that even the slightest movement towards the right path will have fruitful consequences.
The bottom line is, we all want to move towards a place of truth. That is exactly why you have to ensure that you keep it as real as possible. You will feel immense joy even over a small win since it signifies progress, regardless of the type of business you have (consulting, coach, product or service). In an extremely tough business world, being able to embrace and optimize the smallest of wins will put you in such a frame of mind that will help pave way for more successes.
Optimization can be in the form of gaining media exposure, more insight, attracting new audience or even getting feedback. You will be one step ahead of those running a major corporation because you will not have to answer to seniors or go through legalities. You can simply run with what you have got; you will have a speed marker. This can be your greatest asset.
Always remember, the starting line is just exactly what it’s called; it is the starting point. You should invest in the journey so that you can step into the game and maximize your potential for success. You don’t want to be caught up in a tangle of confusion which manifests in the business going in a completely different direction. You need to let people know where you want to be and what you wish to achieve.
The worst thing you can do to yourself, and your business, is emulate someone else’s story. Maintaining authenticity is one of the fundamental beliefs that are closest to my heart. You should never copy somebody else, their story, what they do, how they do it, what they stand for or even how they present themselves to the outside world.
I like to think of it as being equivalent to an empty can which will make a lot of noise. Let me put this in perspective. If you look around yourself, you will notice a number of entrepreneurs, who consider themselves as gurus, using screaming tactics to get their message across to the world. They are making noise! They try to be the Gary V or Tony Robbins of the world but, in reality, they have very little substance. The only reason behind this is that they are trying to emulate somebody else’s success without adding any essence of their own.
Every tale of success that you hear has an epic story behind it. It all comes down to the journey between the starting and finishing line, a concept covered in chapter 3. That long and grueling journey is the story. It is the factor that makes your success unique. For some people, it lasts for a few days. For others, it could take months, years and even decades. The struggle that you go through is the most attractive fact about having risen to success. You can’t just copy someone else’s hardships because, without having gone through the actual experience, you will not be able to convince the market of your strife.
As you establish your startup, you will realize that there are many stages –like the philosophy, methodology and et Cetera– that will help you gather a lot of information. This valuable knowledge will give you the tools needed to build your own framework. Once you focus on yourself, you get to figure out what your process is. That is when you will become the most authentic version of yourself. Chapter 3 was all about breakthroughs; the most important point being learning what it’s like to be in a startup entrepreneurial world and building your brand around your values.
This is perhaps the most critical thing; once you’ve figured out your brand truth, you can revolve your idea, solution and communication with the outside world around it. It allows you to start from the ground up. Understanding the basic elements behind the creation of your brand is very important. It helps you articulate what you are trying to achieve, who you are trying to talk to and what the idea, that you are trying to arrive at, is. When you have the correct and precise answers for questions like these, you open up a path for clear communication between potential customers and yourself. This comes under the ambit of personal branding; something that can be an attractive component for your brand, or one that causes resistance. It’s all about how you approach the entire process.
Consider the value of your idea; if it does not solve a problem then it cannot be considered as a business idea. It would only entail that you are looking to enter the rat race of obtaining a job and an income. Since the purpose of this series is not this, your idea has to be viable. It should be surrounded by intense passion that fuels your need to go out and make a difference in the world through creating an excellent solution to a problem. You don’t even need to give specifics about the way it looks, functions or what the mechanics are. All you need to do is to figure out some sort of a need and try to fulfill it with a brilliant product or service.
Out of the billions of people on this earth, a very small number of people need a solution to their problem. This understanding is where most people often get confused because they are too busy fantasizing about being a successful entrepreneur. There are two elements that are critical; your solution needs to come from a place of knowing and a place of serving. Knowing what people’s needs are and working hard to ensure that you serve them. Secondly, you need to be different. Your product should be improved, cheaper and smaller than the competitors. This is what will be your unique selling point, something that will encourage potential customers to opt for your brand rather than a competitors.
It is key to stand out in some shape or form. My personal branding methodology is looking at the process like an algorithm; it is designed, interactive and it puts out workbooks which help create an accurate personal brand. This combination of human and technological elements is what makes it all the more effective.
While many want to get to the finish line as quick as possible, the most important part of the journey is when you can carry out data collection and mining. The more feedback you get, the better you become. Even I was advertising on Facebook day in and day out; I got results but not the ones I expected. This failure allowed me to adapt and evolve which gave me a unique edge in the longer run. Being willing to change highlights passion and commitment since you are willing to do anything to ensure that your startup stays grounded. Feedback is what helps you understand your target market, their needs and preferences, which will give you the information you need to tailor your brand accordingly. And the only way through which you can get feedback is the creation and display of content through various digital avenues like LinkedIn, Instagram and such.
Additionally, you also need to be at peace with, and understand, the fact that your brand will not be for everyone. Every business has its niche that helps it become profitable –varying from hundreds and thousands to millions and billions of dollars depending on the kind of product or service. It’s more about who understands the solution and wants to utilize it. The most important thing to realize is that your product won’t cater to the needs of every single individual. All you have to do is to provide absolute integrity to your solution and connect with the group of people who want to employ it so that you can improve their quality of life. That should be enough of an incentive for you to move forward because the harsh reality is that even those who connect with you over the internet may not exactly become customers at the end of the day. It’s all about attracting the right market and establishing loyalty in the longer run.
Naturally, when you decide to transform your business idea into an organization, you start at ground level. In the large and expansive world of business, you are nobody; you are not on anyone’s radar, there is no awareness about your existence and no knowledge about the solution you are providing through a product or service. The fact remains, you are anonymous and that is completely fine.
At this point, anonymity is something you need to be comfortable with. It gives you the time and energy needed to focus on mastering your craft and ensuring that when you do enter the market, you are the one to look out for. You want your corporation to run in the long term rather than being a get rich quick scheme.
Your mission should revolve around being able to translate the burning desire to materialize your brilliant idea and to bring it to life. Then is only when you can get it to the market and make the potential customers aware about what you have to offer. All of this takes immense amounts of energy, work and willpower. Thus, it’s completely all right, if not preferred, for you to be nobody at this point in time.
The main thing to understand is that the people who have succeeded worked hard to get their brand out in the marketplace before becoming a well-known business. For instance, Gary Vantage, founder of VA Vayner, didn’t become an overnight success; instead he started his wine business and built his profile incrementally over the duration of years before he could claim to have a brand name within the media, digital sphere and market. You have to work constantly and consistently for a few years before you get to have the impact you wished for in the first place.
Additionally, anonymity is a process you have to go through –it is part of the journey. Instead of being upset about it, focus on becoming aware about your competitors, their mindset, process, successes, failures, strategies, approach, behaviors, profitability and communication skills with their target market. This is something that will greatly benefit you because as a startup, you are likely to face immense competition from well-established businesses that will already have majority of the market share, influence, power and customer loyalty. You will have to remain a step ahead so that you can make the transition from a startup to a grounded business.
Anonymity is part of the journey and the journey, like I mentioned in the previous chapters, is the most important part of establishing a business. You shouldn’t be focused on the desired end result but instead on what you have to do in the status quo to ensure survival and long term growth. Taking this time to yourself and improving the business might actually become one of your brand’s strengths in the longer run. You will have absorbed as much information as possible, made sense out of it and used it in a way to ensure that you become a well-known brand sooner or later.
As you start to vocalize your desire to start a business, people will doubt you. Even if you have an amazing idea for a product or service that will help hundreds and thousands of people, doubt will still be associated to your capabilities and the future of your startup. As you share your excitement and plans about the venture, the response you get from your loved ones, friends, colleagues and acquaintances will be along the lines of ‘wow, that sounds like a great idea’ or ‘I wish you the best’. Such responses, for an entrepreneur, seem to be somewhat demoralizing.
The thing to understand is that you’ll need to work very hard at the beginning; even for months, if not years. As time goes by, you might even think that you are not moving forward or making enough progress. It might feel like you’ve moved one step forward and then ten steps backwards. The reality is that every day you are out there, fighting for your company to survive another month, you are achieving progress. All you need is constant feedback from your target market on a regular basis so that you can improve yourself with each passing day.
Entrepreneurs will have a coach or mentor to follow. Carry out research, read extensively and analyze feedback received in order to make necessary improvements. It is really important to analyze the feedback and make sense out of it before you transform it into tangible changes for your company. This is a major advantage because no matter what kind of feedback you get, doubt expressed by others will only fuel the need to make your product or service better and smarter. Thus, while the results might be difficult to absorb at the beginning, in the middle and even towards the finish line, be assured that you are making some sort of progress every functioning day.
Additionally, you also need to understand the human nature. We like pleasure, not pain. If you have an idea that is challenging paradigms then you might be facing a problem; anything that causes humans to step out of their comfort zone is something they will not see value in. Thus, when you bring a complex idea to the table, it is important for you to take proper measures. Start by breaking it down in an easy to understand language so that your target market feels comfortable in adapting to it. Similarly, get them excited through story telling; a critical craft that you need to master in order to survive. The last essential quality that you should have is staying curious. Ask questions that start with what, how and why specifically. Doing so will lead you to open up a Pandora’s Box that deepens with every question you ask.
You should have a desire for knowledge and information so that you can make sense of it and tailor your product or service to the world around you. Then only will it be able to serve the people it was created for.
One feeling that might constantly bring you down is the feeling of losing. You will feel like you’re losing to yourself, in front of your family and on a holistic level as well. This feeling can arise from the fact that, at that point in time, you are the startup. You are the COO, the CIO and the CEO. The company is you and you are the company. You are the one man team that is working to ensure the success of the startup and it can take a lot out of a person. Feeling like you can’t win no matter what you do becomes pretty normal then.
At this point, all you have is your imagination and license to be yourself to the fullest. You are free to express yourself and display your potential through the company. This is where your mindset needs to be at.
Another thing that might bring you down is when someone asks ‘What it is that you do?’ Trying to answer this question can often make you feel like you’re being pulled in different directions. This is because you might not actually be sure about what you’re supposed to say. Not being able to articulate where you are at that point in time or what you want to bring to the market is an additional factor that exaggerates the feeling of loss. It can be very difficult to try and come up with the perfect explanation for what you stand for, what you are trying to solve and what your mission is.
I have known entrepreneurs who suffer because they feel like they are losing to their family by not fulfilling the dream in terms of monetization. Explaining why the company is not generating as much money can be very hard and being in this place can be the worst because, like we have been discussing, the journey of establishing a successful business is long and tedious. Once you wrap your head around the fact that it will often take years, if not months, for you to reach the level of success that you are envisioning, you will be in a better state of mind. You will not feel like you’re constantly losing, letting people down or somehow just dissipate.
Another factor than can cause some agitation is the fact that you will not be earning bucket loads of money anytime soon. It will feel like you are being idealistic, or a dreamer, by embarking upon this journey but you must know that it is alright. As you move forward, you should acquaint success not with money but with the progress and collaborations you make which will help your business grow.
The best thing you can do when you feel like everything isn’t working out is to reach out to someone who can hold you accountable or with whom you can share how you are feeling. It will be a way through which you can vent and, at the same time, get some sort of support. Feeling like this is completely natural; you have put in everything into the business and when the progress is as slow as it is, it can seem pretty daunting.
When you have a business idea that you want to materialize, it is better to create a methodology or a system that is agile in nature. It could be the thing that becomes the key to your success in the longer run as it will give you some sort of order and maintain a consistent direction. You need a plan that will keep you focused on what needs to be done. A business that does not have a system, process, model or some sort of methodology is likely to fail because, after a certain point, knowledge and information is just not enough to keep you standing.
Think about it; you can pick up your iPhone, ask Siri a question and get almost any answer under the sun. Knowledge is available to us all the time, right there in the palm of our hands. What will truly set you apart is that you will have a process that will help you take the client on a journey. You will be able to explain what your promise is, what you do, what the need is, what solution you are proposing and what the grey areas are. These are just a few of the questions that need to be unpacked first. Taking your client on this step by step journey, or the pathway of transformation, is what will convince them of your credibility and help you achieve your objectives. It an easy process that involves taking them from pain to glory in regards to your product or service. Like I mentioned in the previous chapters, your business idea has to be one that is easily understood otherwise people may be resistant to it.
In today’s day and age, too many coaches and consultants are relying on businesses based on information only. The Guru coaches and consultants are dying because they demand you to have a tried and tested process that you can illustrate, demonstrate or articulate freely. While having a plan seems to become a requirement, they also expect you to have agility, to be able to shift, change, adapt, add and remove certain aspects of your business. All of this does not create a conducive environment for growth and your business will never groove. Instead, what you should be doing is finding a way to illustrate this process –whether it’s through an infographic or whiteboard is completely up to you and your preferences. This is what will become your currency in the longer term.
In my personal experience, every time I have taken a client on a journey, especially during the personal branding portion, my algorithm unpacks the entire process and systematically explains the entire journey to them, all the way to the end result. They become more informed about the goals of the business, the need it is trying to address and the kind of products or services it offers as a solution to the problem. All you have to do is follow this approach so that you can create an impact on your target market as a whole.
Social media has become a big phenomenon over the years. So much so that it has become the hub of business activity which makes it something you must master in order to expand your influence. The thing to understand is that it is the platform that all, or majority, of your potential customers use. All you need to know is which one they use the most and where they hang out. At such a point in your journey, you need to be realistic and make use of any and all platforms out there to bring some benefit to yourself and the business. Social media is a great way to release content into the world and build a brand image.
Instead of wasting years to figure out the right way to utilize it, my recommendation is to invest in an expert who knows how to operate it and maximize the effect you want to create on your market. They will be aware of the rate at which social media is used, the kinds of people that use it and the times when users are most active. They may even help train others to become experts. For instance, if you believe that your customers use Facebook mostly, then you will need to learn as much information about the Facebook algorithm as possible. You want to use it in a manner that will help you exaggerate the benefits it has for your business. The most logical step for you to take would be to get in touch with someone, off high caliber, who knows the system inside out.
For Instagram, use the guys at Founder; they have an amazing program set up there. Linkedin is a platform for many business; it is a myriad of people who are absolute experts in their respective fields and crafts. All you have to do is reach out to them and invest in their courses or training and you will be able to call yourself a master of social media.
Refraining from understanding how social media works was one thing that I regret doing. Instead, I was investing in digital agencies that created and expanded my advertisement campaigns –a very reactive way of growing a business. So I tell you from experience, invest in masters so that you can learn from them and utilize these platforms to help your business grow, increase your brand name, introduce your product or service to the world and make everyone aware of the value you want to add to the world. The best thing to do is stay away from the ‘do it yourself’ mentality since it will not serve you well. Sometimes it’s just better to seek professional help.
Social media is where all the buzz is at and you need to capitalize on this ever-growing trend. As more businesses turn to it, investing in social media campaigns can get costly so it’s better to jump in as soon as possible. It could be that one critical factor in your journey that completely alters the pace of growth by making potential customers more aware of your brand, services or products and how you are solving a particular problem in the world.
The basic values that you want your business to uphold are perhaps the most important. In light of this, I wanted to dedicate an entire chapter to business values because I believe that they are largely misunderstood or ignored altogether.
You values are not mission statements and neither are they the basic things you, as an individual, value or care about in life. Instead, they are beliefs that are not negotiable under any circumstances and have a direction connection to the answer of the most basic question, ‘Why have you started this business?’
Your values are critical to your mission because they are helpful tools that can help you maintain your business and encourage it’s growth. Once you have decided the core values of your business, the idea of them being non-negotiable sets in thus allowing you to repel clients, employees or suppliers that try to take you down by changing the very beliefs you hold as a corporation.
It shouldn’t take more than the first 5 minutes to understand and gauge whether you and another party have aligned interests. Speaking from personal experience, it wasn’t until I was halfway through my startup journey that I realized I was attracting all the wrong clients for my company. Similarly, you are also likely to make this mistake because when you’re starting out, getting business from wherever you can seems to be the primary goal and focus. You feel like you can’t say no but you should always stay firm to your ground as abandoning it could set you up on the wrong path.
When you deal with a business or a client that does not have the same core values as your business, you may be subjected to exceptionally high expectations that you might never be able to meet. Thus, it may be harder to keep yourself, the individual or the company happy. Additionally, you will also be going in an overdrive which is not healthy for any startup. This is the reality and power of understanding your core values. When you are clear on them, engaging a prospect or lead becomes a much quicker process. All you need is 5 minutes and you will be able to gauge if this partnership is likely to work or align with your interests in the longer term, if not the short.
When you have a clear mind, set core values and goals for your startup, then the process of having the 5 minute conversation with another party becomes all the more easy. You will be confident enough to deny the partnership and politely suggest that you don’t believe you two are the right fit for one another. This is something that I do all the time; it is not only good for me but also for the prospect because it is likely to fail with two companies constantly at odds with one another. You should have the courage to let this lead go not only for your benefit but for the society’s as a whole.
Additionally, being clear on your beliefs also increases your chances of attracting the right kinds of people, clients, suppliers and collaborations to your business and, therefore, will help you become more successful overtime.
The focus of this chapter is planning. It is something that is of paramount importance when you are establishing or running a business, regardless of what stage of the journey you are in. Consider planning to be a critical part of the puzzle without which it cannot be completed. Many people don’t understand the notion around it; a plan is not something general you cook up in two minutes and change according to the circumstances that present themselves.
When you set goals for yourself, or write affirmations, you tend to be more inspired. The one key ingredient that will do justice to your inspiration is action which can only take place through the process of planning –particularly strategic and deliberate planning. When I started thinking about this topic, I got so excited that I created a plan as well. Additionally, I also have a planner for all of my clients so that I can break down their macro goals into micro goals on an annual, monthly, weekly or daily basis.
This is the key to success; you will need to understand your metrics, close rates and the things that you must accomplish every day in order for you to become successful. This includes things like creating content for social media, highlighting the leads that you need to generate per month, taking time out to speak to people face to face, encourage collaboration and partnerships as well as boost sales as much as possible.
When you combine the outcome of all 12 months, you should have your current results which display your standing. This will be beneficial because it will help you track your actions which can help determine how many objectives you have achieved. Past records, current records and predicted rates can help you achieve a fair analysis of where your company stands and the potential for growth.
Whether you have achieved your goals or not, the few things that you must constantly ask yourself are along the lines of, ‘How did I achieve, or fail to achieve, the objective?’ and ‘Why did this happen?’ Such questions will allow you to appreciate the value of data since it is the key factor that will help you determine your profitability and success. This is exactly why planning is such a critical part of running a startup business.
My clients keep planners and write in them every day; highlighting what needs to be accomplished, what needs to be noted and what needs to be carried out. You should do the exact same regardless of whether you are an established business or not. Break everything down into annual goals, really understand what you want from the company –money, fame, a positive impact, creating a brand name or simply to cater to the needs of the market.
When you document your daily progress, you are collecting data. Analyzing it is what will help you understand what the metrics are; your sale close rate, the outcome of specific content and such. As every year passes, you carry out data analysis and will become aware about what you must improve in order to increase engagement with the market. Thus, there is no denying that planning is one of the core practices that will help you in the longer run.
Sales can be daunting for many entrepreneurs because it entails getting out there and looking for leads, prospects and partnerships in order to start generating profits and getting the product or service out to the market. The one thing that I want you to know is that the first sale is very critical.
The reasons why that is so are twofold; firstly, it is a sure way through which your confidence will receive a massive boost because you are getting validation as a functioning business. Secondly, you get massive amounts of feedback. Forget about the money; what you want to focus on mostly is the feedback –the data you receive which will help you make your product or service better, faster, efficient and refined over the years.
It is very important that the first sale is done with the right entity. You don’t want to start partnerships or leads with the wrong people because you want two parties to work in complete harmony. People may love your product, what you bring to the table and even your content but unless they are willing to invest in what you have to offer, I would suggest that you don’t waste your time. Like I mentioned before, you should have the courage to say no.
Your immediate goal is to find those that are willing to invest but also are in sync with your company’s alignments. Finding such businesses or clients will give you immense amounts of feedback and allow you to collect it in the form of data which you can use later on to refine your product or service.
Subsequently, analyzing this data will allow you to decide things like whether your pricing is too low or exorbitant. It will give you a clearer idea of whether people are willing to pay for your solution. It all about finding that sweet spot that makes your product and services affordable and, therefore, attractive to the market.
Like I have emphasized throughout the course of this series, this startup will not be a get rich quick scheme but instead something that will rise to success gradually. You have put in immense amounts of work into it. It is your mission –your passion. Getting this essential feedback is what will helping you define and promote it further through your product. You can make it faster, thinner, sleeker or even bigger. It starts an era of redefining which ensures that all your efforts are fruitful.
It is equally as important for you to refrain from getting carried away and exploring avenues that are not in sync with your business. If such a thing happens, you will lose the confidence you have worked so hard to build and will start doubting yourself and your company as you think that no one wants your services. This is not the right mindset to get into so you have to be smart and collaborate with people who have similar target markets and values. Bring in as many sales as possible so that you can collect as much data as possible. It is the only way through which you can tailor your business so that it carefully and adequately serves the market –something that was the core purpose of its creation in the first place.
The last chapter in the Startup Business Series revolves around personal branding. All the topics discussed before have a direct link to it thus emphasizing its importance, value and the integral role it plays in the business world. Personal branding is what puts your persona at the forefront; it brings out and displays the authenticity of your being, the knowledge you have acquired over the years and promotes you as an expert in your field.
Once you have put yourself out there, people start noticing you which builds your brand and increase your authority in the business world. They notice the way you articulate, what and how your products or services are and such. Thus, when it comes to personal branding, you should understand the science behind it since its through these little pieces of information that you establish your brand.
I built an entire algorithm around personal branding and it all starts with who you are in your natural state. It forces you to move away from a competitive mindset –thinking that you are in constant competition with other businesses. Additionally, it also gives you leeway in controlling the way the market perceives you through digital assets, websites and online courses. This is when the content you create, and release, on your social media becomes the epicenter of personal branding. This merging of the internal and external views is what is called brand truth.
There are a few things that you need to be mindful off; you must be clear about what benefits you can bring to a business or to someone’s life. The very first thing is understanding that its the impact on the individual that is the most important. In order comprehend how you will positively impact their life, you need to know what your company is aiming to do exactly and what is it’s methodology. When you have clarity on these concepts is only when you can explain it further to the market –through using easily understood language and modes of communication. This could become the key to your success. It could also ensure financial strength since it will bring in more revenue buy transforming you into a brand which aids the market and it’s needs.
Furthermore, you don’t want there to be a difference in the personality of your brand on digital platforms and in reality. You need a certain level of consistency so that you can retain the interest of the market and the only way you can do that is through being aware and informed about business values –who you serve, what you stand for and what you promise.
If personal branding is a journey you want to embark upon but you find that there is something that is holding you back, it is most likely the fact that you are frightened to put yourself out there to be judged by massive amounts of people. However, you need to understand the importance of self-promotion –no one else is going to do it for you. You are the only person who can pitch yourself in an attractive, strategic and deliberate manner. You would not want a third party having an immense influence over your brand name and reputation.
Produce your own content, it doesn’t matter what type, and put it out there for the world to see so that you can maximize your chances of success to the maximum possible limit. Remember, you want people to see you, read about you, know about your product and listen to you. You also want to generate leads so that you can ground yourself as a business. Strong personal branding is what will allow you to stand tall and proud which, in turn, will get you more business. It is the perfect tool to help your startup business become an established business in the longer run.
This concludes my series regarding the truths about startup businesses and my suggestions of how to handle the complexities that arise. Remember, its about the journey you embark upon; it is the one sole thing that links all 14 concepts (chapters) in this series. Thus, don’t underestimate it and enjoy it to the fullest.