Smart Start-up Tips: 21 Really Smart Ideas – A Random List to Inspire Innovation
#1: Establish Demand FIRST – Launching a new product or service? Start by selling a few FIRST. Then use that revenue to build the fancy web site, print the brochures and invest in hiring salespeople. For example, leverage sites like eBay or Etsy to sell physical products.
#2: Ask Questions (a LOT of Questions) – What you know what they say about assumptions? They make an ASS out of U and ME! Don’t assume anything. Ask questions about everything and anything to do with your business BEFORE a false assumption bites you in the ass!
#3: Focus, focus, focus! – It’s tempting to throw everything AND the kitchen sink into your business model and a diverse business model that has multiple revenue sources is a good idea, it isn’t a good idea right away. Focus on ONE thing at a time, perfect that one thing and then move onto the next!
#4: Don’t be a Copycat – Me-too businesses rarely stand out. Don’t be a poor imitation of your competition – crave out a unique niche and OWN it!
#5: Trust your Gut Instincts – It’s tempting to follow the crowd, especially with new shiny objects bursting onto the scene almost daily. Trust your gut instinct when it comes to deciding which hot new trend to follow and which one to wait and watch from the sideline.
#6: Focus on Win-Win – Everything you do needs to have a win-win on both sides. Get clear on what that win-win is at the beginning of the relationship!
#7: Watch Smart People – It’s not always the smart ones who are busy doling out advice. Instead observe what smart, successful people do and be cautious about learning from the teachers who aren’t doers.
#8: Invest Wisely – Place a premium on those things that you can never get back: time and your health. Invest in your time by protecting it and your health by never sacrificing it to other priorities.
#9: Ask for the Sale – “Mama needs a new pair of shoes” so if you don’t ask for the sale, chances are the client isn’t going to buy. There’s a big difference between not wanting to be pushy and neglecting to even put a price tag in front of the prospect.
#10: Take Inspired Action DAILY – Do 2 or 3 right things every single day that step you closer to your ultimate goal.
#11: Make It Easy for People to Help You – People want to help you, but like you, they are busy so make it easy for them. Give them all the tools so all they need to do is click a button!
#12: Pay Attention to Trends – Watch what’s going on around you and ask yourself how it impacts your business, your customers, your suppliers. That’s where you will find opportunity and insight.
#13: Learn from Failures – As the old saying goes “Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it”. Ask yourself “What could I have done differently?” and move forward with that knowledge.
#14: Make Decisions in a Calm State of Mind – You know how it’s a bad idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? The same holds true for decision-making. Avoid the temptation to make snap decisions when you’re angry or feeling frustrated. Step back, calm down and then decide.
#15: Listen to your Customers – What you think you are selling may not be what they are buying. Pay attention to what your customers say about you and use that knowledge to market to others like them.
#16: Make your Boundaries CLEAR – Don’t want to work on the weekends? Don’t like clients using your mobile number? Don’t accept rush projects? Be very clear about where you draw the line in both words and action. That means no replying to emails on the weekend, no returning calls from your mobile without blocking the number and no making an exception “Just this time”.
#17: Know When to Quit – Trying something new? It’s important to know when to pull the plug no matter how much you have invested in that path. The worst mistake you can make is using how much time or money you’ve invested as the reason to continue.
#18: Ask for Help – Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Ask for help, ask for support, ask for a hand up – just ASK!
#19: Work the Systems BEFORE Handing Off – Perfect your systems and processes before handing off to your team. Not only will it ensure a smooth transition, it will cost you a lot less than training them to follow a sloppy, inefficient methodology.
#20: Give Twice, Ask Once – Consider this the golden rule of networking: give generously before asking for generosity in return. Giving can be anything from a helpful tip to a strategic introduction.
#21: Surround Yourself with Amazing People!