Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Back of the Envelope Business Model Test

Episode 294 | Back of the Envelope Business Model Test

Date: 2016-06-21

Link: Startups for the Rest of Us

 

Startups for the Rest of UsBook: Scaling Lean – Mastering the key metrics for startup growth

Look three years out and what expected revenue is going to be.

With a dollar amount of yearly recurring revenue (three years out) you have a number to base your other calculations on.

Looking three years out you’re going to be way off.

Use value-based pricing to base your price on. This is based on the value your solution provides not what it costs to deliver.

If you can provide value based pricing you are better off.

You’re trying to get down to average price per customer and average lifetime value.

If you can’t make your business model work on paper then you are never going to be able to make it work in real life.

Time-boxed goals are better than general revenue goals.

When Being an Entrepreneur is ‘Meh’

TMBA340: When Being an Entrepreneur is ‘Meh’

Date: 2016-06-09

Link: Tropical MBA

 

Tropical MBAExplain (your business) in a way people can understand and can participate.

If you’re going to be a truly entrepreneurial employee–you might get sacked for that.

You have to have confidence. You’re not going to be the best the first day.

People get impressed by things getting done even at a small scale.

Building a scaffolding allows you to be creative for longer.

It is the creative work that is the hardest.

When you’re not doing your job it is easy to blame others around you.

The Power of the Pickle

TMBA337: The Power of the Pickle

Date: 2016-05-19

Link: Tropical MBA

 

Tropical MBARevenue is a vanity metric.

When you try to do everything under the sun you can’t get good at anything.

Niche down.

If you want to travel a bunch you cannot have a brick and mortar business that requires your presence all the time.

Put down on paper what you want in life.

Think about yourself only (when writing down what you want in life) because if at your core you aren’t satisfied then you can’t be there for anybody else.

Your labor is your biggest line item on any business.

Matt Farah on Breaking Through

TMBA336: Matt Farah on Breaking Through

Date: 2016-05-12

Link: Tropical MBA

 

Tropical MBASome people who have made incredibly successful careers for themselves do things on the surface that might sound like a bad strategy.

The problem with other video sites is that people go to YouTube. People don’t go to Vimeo to browse around.

CPM is number of dollars per 1,000 views.

Nobody clicks on ads on mobile.

You end up with about $1.80 or $1.90 per 1,000 views.

Don’t make television on the Internet. You need to make Internet on the Internet.

Success is looking at what your talents are rather than having to do it the way everybody else has done it in the past.

Developing an idea for a business

Often wanna-be entrepreneurs place too much emphasis on the idea and not enough on the hard work that follows. However the idea is not to be discounted. It is the zygote that grows into your business.

I specifically used the word “developing” in the title of this post rather than “finding”, “thinking of”, or “creating”. Rarely does inspiration for a business arrive with a flash of lightning. Rather you notice something and think that you can fix it or do better. You further refine and develop that idea as you think about the market and marketing, about creating and accounting, and about failure and success.

Often an idea is pivoted on many times before an entrepreneur deems it ready to start a business. It continues to evolve based on the obstacles presented up to, and after, getting their product or service in front of customers.

Before looking for business ideas it is important to remember that a great business is one that provides a solution to a problem.

Here are a few places to search for inspiration:

Your place of work

 

Every single company has inefficiencies

Every. Single. Company. Has. Inefficiencies.

Every problem is an opportunity so when you or a co-worker complain about a process that is broken what you really have is something that needs a solution. You can be the one to provide that solution.

Paper forms are a classic place where there is an inefficiency that either need not exist or can be lessened through technology. Pretty much any tool of bureaucracy (including more modern ones such as email and CRM systems) is as much of a problem as it is a solution. Fertile ground for a dedicated individual or group of individuals to disrupt.

Every problem is an opportunityThere are many advantages to creating solutions for problems in your workplace with the two main ones being your industry expertise (often referred to as your unfair advantage) and the fact that businesses are willing to pay for solutions (whereas consumers are often not). Even seemingly small things such as industry-specific Excel templates or Powerpoint consulting can yield big bucks.

Other industries

Many times, particularly when it comes to technology, advances in other industries will eventually reach yours. Examples that come to mind are CRM systems for contractors and ordering from restaurants on the web or phone apps.

Ask your friends about new things that happening in their industries and see if you have ideas about how to apply it to yours.

Other countries

Due to technology, language, and culture many businesses start in one country and take time to cross borders. After eBay started up entrepreneurs around the world created auction sites for their own country and in their own language. eBay ended up competing with or buying many of them but some are still around today. A more recent example is local car-sharing companies starting up in cities around the world before Uber entered them.

This phenomenon isn’t restricted to technology. There is a Japanese-style cat cafe coming to a city near you.

Your hobbies

Passion is the most important trait for an entrepreneur.

This method of finding business ideas is better than any other for one reason. If you do something as a hobby the chances are that you are passionate about it and passion is the most important trait for an entrepreneur.

The catch to monetizing a hobby is finding a way to present it as a solution that somebody would pay for. It is much easier said than done as many craft-lovers have found out. (Luckily sites like Etsy have made it easier for people to find buyers for their goods.) The challenges of turning a hobby into a business have soured many would-be entrepreneurs on both their business and their hobby.

If you go this routes then taking baby steps while you still work full-time is often a prudent approach.

The news

Keeping abreast of macro changes to industries and the economy can yield a wealth of business ideas. When something fundamental changes it opens up opportunities that didn’t previously exist. You’re reading this on the biggest fundamental change of our lifetimes: the Internet.

Legislation can create opportunities as new laws, or the repeal of old laws, open or level markets. Subprime loans created many opportunities to make a lot of money in the run up to the housing crisis and the fallout opened up other opportunities.

Keep an objective and open mind when you read a news article and ask yourself these two questions:

  • What are ways that somebody can make money off of this?
  • Is this something I would want to spend the next ten years of my life doing?

Your idea is not unique

You are not the first person to have you idea. No matter what somebody else, somewhere, has had the same idea. Maybe the acted on it and maybe they didn’t. If you think your idea is truly unique then that is a cause for concern because if nobody else has done it then maybe there is no market for it.

Part of developing your idea is creating a business plan (even a basic one) which forces you to think objectively about the prospects and challenges for your business. You’re going to be way too optimistic the first time around so have somebody you respect read it and let them poke holes in it. The process will hurt but not as much as failing farther down the line when a lot more is at stake.

Eventually you will have developed your business idea enough that you cannot do anything else but move forward. Starting a business is both very exciting and very scary. Remember that you cannot fail unless you quit trying.

How to Set Annual Goals

Episode 268 | How to Set Annual Goals

Date: 2015-12-22

Link: Startups for the Rest of Us

 

Startups for the Rest of Us(When you give an infoproduct away for free) put a price on it to communicate the value if it had not been subsidized by the business.

You can’t put a price tag on a white paper or something you put out that is not valuable because that will come back to bite you. It negatively impacts the brand.

SMART method of setting goals.

Make the time to set your annual goals.

Make them a priority and not an afterthought.

Recap the current year.

Limit yourself to one or two major goals.

Most of us overestimate what we can get done.

Identify specific ways you can hold yourself accountable.

Identify your emotional triggers.

Recognize if you are de-motivated. If you don’t recognized it is a problem you can’t do anything about it.

Being in a new environment tends to spark creativity.

If you’re not enjoying the journey along the way then you’re not going to enjoy the destination when you get there.

Set up a reward system for meeting your goals.

How to Cope with Hard Times

Episode 266 | How to Cope with Hard Times

Date: 2015-12-08

Link: Startups for the Rest of Us

 

Startups for the Rest of UsOne of the first things that happens when company come on hard times is they start cutting services

It is hard to make decisions based on current information.

Due diligence can fail pretty quickly.

Reflect on the situation. Realize that everything is not your fault but you should take responsibility for the things that are.

Take responsibility for as much as you can handle.

Accept that you have limitations.

Recognize that everybody makes mistakes. You’re not going to go out and be successful at everything you do.

If you’re not willing to make mistakes you’re not going to learn and grow as a person.

Ask, “what is the worst case outcome of the situation?”

Remember you are not alone in the world.

Map out appropriate course corrections.

Ask people for help.

Productized #3 – An Expert’s Advice

TMBA321: Productized #3 – An Expert’s Advice

Date: 2016-01-28

Link: Tropical MBA

 

Tropical MBA(Productized services are when) use choose one thing you can do over and over for a broad range of clients and charge a flat fee for it.

It can seem very limiting to stop doing 80% of what you do and start focusing on 20% of what you do but that is what enables you to have something to sell.

One thing that freelancers lose (when starting a productized service) is jumping on the shiny new thing.

Focus until it hurts.

You can get hung up on building the product. You can spend too much time on that before getting in front of customers.

Launching a productized service launches your brand.

One of the things about entrepreneurship as a career is that you are building a skillset that transfers.

Look at who is the customer you are trying to serve and what is a top priority problem they have that you are also qualified to build a solution for.

It is really easy for entrepreneurs to get lost in the weeds.

Entrepreneurship isn’t about knowing the right things. Entrepreneurship is about doing the right things.

The Mind Game of Making Over $100,000

TMBA319: The Mind Game of Making Over $100,000

Date: 2016-01-14

Link: Tropical MBA

 

Tropical MBAIf you are having trouble generating $100,000 in revenue for your business the place to look is your mindset.

If you’re having trouble getting to $1,000,000 in revenue the place to look for the problem is in your marketing.

If you’re having trouble getting beyond $1,000,000 the place to look is your human resources.

Stop trying to turn the Internet into an ATM machine and just build a business. Build something that people want and provide value to them.

The first thing to be successful as an entrepreneur is to create your own structure.

Talking about success can sometimes be taboo.

Everyone needs a competitive advantage.

You can create an organization that doesn’t have a bureaucracy. You can create an organization that people are excited to work at.