Testimonial letter from Henry Scadding (1883) (Photo credit: Toronto Public Library Special Collections)
One of the factors of any entrepreneur starting a business is getting testimonials, those comments from customers that tell others of the value of your work.
What most budding entrepreneurs do not understand is that the relationship between both business and their customer and vendors is essential, and missing this vital aspect of building a business becomes missed opportunities for future business and growth.
Too often budding entrepreneurs act like sponges, willing to take as much free stuff as possible with little to give back or share. One of the simplest acts to get noticed for your business is….
Ok, so you think you want to become an entrepreneur, take a look at the image below and see what each of us sees through our own colored glasses of life.
And then watch what Steve Jobs says about starting your own business, or using your talents for doing what you love.
Yep, I’m sending out an SOS to all entrepreneurs, wannabe entrepreneurs, and wantrepreneurs.
What is my SOS?
It’s not difficult, but it can be costly if you’re not prepared. What is my SOS?
It’s….. it’s…… it’s……
OK, here’s my first ever list of new tools that nearly every startup entrepreneur will use, including using your Mac. My intention for this page is to highlight some of the tools that might be of benefit to others, not just Mac specific, but startup entrepreneur using a Mac specific.
So here goes my first three solutions for startups:
Startup entrepreneurs have to learn that one of the first things that needs to be learned is market research and marketing. As Jack Canfield said, “10 percent of your efforts is in writing a book, the other 90 percent is marketing it.”
That’s the same for ANY startup business.
So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
Here’s a great infographic about online marketing. Enjoy learning the basics, or returning to the basics, as we all need once in a while.
Image via CrunchBase
Any startup entrepreneur needs to make connections with others, primarily because they can’t do it all themselves, but it’s best they don’t do it all themselves.
Startup Weekend Denver occurred this past weekend at WorkBrite’s Coworking location. I’ll go into what happened and what I saw.
Purchasing a ticket to attend pays for food and drinks for the weekend. Great for those that “need to get things done” in starting up a business.
Friday Night’s agenda:
- Network – meet and greet with 52 Denver and the surrounding area attendees from all backgrounds and skill sets. One was even on his vacation and from out of state to join in the fun since there is not a SW in his area. Maybe he’s looking to start one? You just never know.
- Icebreaker – get your body moving and interactive with others in a Rock, Paper, Scissors game to win $50.
- Pitch – you have 60 seconds to explain your idea with 30 seconds of Q&A.
- Vote – everyone gives their vote to the project that they would like and narrow down the field to 4-8 teams around an idea. You choose which one you want to provide assistance to. Some required coding help, others did not, but most did.
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – continental breakfast, lunch and dinner and drinks to keep you “fueled up.” Coffee and soda drinks included where and anything caffeinated was the drink of choice.
- Build out your business – work toward the Sunday’s goal of presenting your efforts to the judges.
- Continue to build out the business.
- At 4 Pm a final push and at 5 PM the last pitch and selection of the finalists.
Overall Friday night is the most hectic as you’re determining the idea to follow and how you can contribute to it. On Saturday it came down to doing the work so it was gelling time, finding out where you fit into the team that you have selected to help out and then getting productive.
Clothes of choice were varied. Short, especially cargo shorts and flipflops were abundant, though, so you’d say it was Saturday casual wear, a notch below casual Friday. Coders usually had laptops and earbuds or headsets to keep focused on their tasks. Of course, laptops where all around.
As a Mac entrepreneur the one thing that I did see was about a 2 to 1 use of Macs over PCs for those attending. Startups know the right hardware/software combinations. So if you want to start a business, Macs are the computer of choice. Smart people use them.
Overall if you have any reason to start a business and have a weekend to learn, Startup Weekend is the place to be to get your feet wet learning about startups. Nothing like getting a baptism of fire for the newbies.
Image via Wikipedia
When it comes to startup entrepreneurs, one of the key factors of getting started is the key word: Focus. What should they focus on to get them going?
Have you heard of the comment, “What you focus on is what you get!” It’s true. The same thing goes for seeing a glass half empty or half full. If all you see is obstacles and not your vision of accomplishing something it is demotivating. But even if you focus on the positive, what do you focus on?
I once was working a job at a small retail company and the Regional Director was visiting and “motivating” us by stating, “Focus, focus, focus!” But of course, most of the people took that and ran “fast” with what they saw, but each in their own direction with activities that, while helpful to the business, were actually NOT the right priorities for the business. Her leadership skills were fear based and while they were “detailed,” her motivation did not embrace what the priority of the organization’s goals were. It was a scattered view of “getting it all done and fast,” it intentionally “blurred” everyone’s focus costing the company time, money and resources.
So, as any startup entrepreneur, here’s a short list of what to focus on:
- Product – putting in all of the features necessary and getting the product out the door.
- Competition – seeing what your competition is doing and not letting them out of your sight and ensuring you’re better than they are.
- Ideal Customer – what are your customer’s needs and wants.
So, what do you think a startup should focus on?
Here’s the wrong answers:
- Product – focusing solely on your product and building the most complete and perfect Swiss Army knife for your ideal customer takes time and resources, and maybe no one will want it. Therefore, you’ve wasted your resources and reduces your profit potential.
- Competition – if you focus on what your competition is doing even THEY can miss the boat of what a customer wants and needs. If they’re heading down the wrong path, they just get there sooner than you do. Don’t chase your competition’s bunny trial which may lead to a dead end.
These are the correct answers in the correct order of priority:
- Focus on your ideal customer’s needs and wants, it is here that you spend your time and effort so that they are willing to give you their money for your solutions.
- Product – when you focus on your ideal customer and their needs and wants your product becomes the result of that time and effort.
- Competition – while focusing on your customer’s needs and wants you’ll then focus on your product and services, but you need to keep your competition in your peripheral vision, not completely out of sight, but still in view and not your main focus.
A focused priority will keep you moving ahead in the right direction.