FIRST THINGS FIRST... LET’S ASK OURSELVES THE TOUGH (LOVE) QUESTIONS
DOES THE WORLD NEED YOU / YOUR PRODUCT / YOUR SERVICE?
WHY DOES THE WORLD NEED YOU?
WHAT PROBLEM DOES YOUR BUSINESS SOLVE?
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DETERMINE YOUR FOUNDER PERSONALITY
- Visionary: Unwavering commitment (almost to the point of frequent burnout), willing to take on personal risk at the upside of seeing their vision come to fruition authentically, mission + vision focused over traditional data analytics, creativity and passion infused into all staff meetings and customer interactions, can get easily distracted by creativity over management
- Doer: Never stopped by the word NO, focused on timelines, organization and sense of urgency, works well in chaos and gets inspired to create during these times, makes quick pivots that can be challenging for associated team
- Empath: Integrates customer and staff moods and needs into the business, creates non-competitive work environment, focused on the NOW, guides business strategy through intuition
- Analyst: Practical and analytical, not likely to take risks, obsessed with data and competitor analysis, focused on organization and management over creativity, focused on future results over the NOW
- Want-repreneur: focused on living the lifestyle with little to no skin in the game, consistently looking to other successful businesses or IG accounts to do “something similar” but I’ll make it different by “X,Y,Z,” puts themselves up on a pedestal to supporting staff and rarely has anything inspirational to say as they are simply duplicating some else’s successful ideas to make money, all discussion of WHY becomes inauthentic and staff can sense it
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NOT EVERY PASSION IS A BUSINESS
Every business must somehow solve a problem or disrupt a standard of practice or execution. It can be easy to burnout when you attempt to turn a passion into a business for the wrong reasons. Here are some of the most common issues I see in the new generation of want-repreneurs:
- Choosing to be an entrepreneur because it’s seemingly the path of least resistance (it’s EASY to make money and be an instagram model, it’s EASY to be a lifecoach, it’s EASY to build on online course)
- Choosing to be an entrepreneur because of the lifestyle - be forewarned the instagram entrepreneurial lifestyle is FAKE and often staged
- You can’t decide what you want to do, so you choose to “build up your instagram”
Not all people in life are destined to get paid the amount of money that they want for work they LOVE. Sometimes we have to build a career that affords us financial access, partnerships or honing skills to be able to afford a life filled with passion projects, hobbies and adventures. Not knowing when you're trying to execute a passion as a business can lead to extreme burnout, frustration and feeling like a failure.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM EVERYONE ELSE?
This idea that there is enough room in the world for everyone to shine is frankly BS and I’ll be the first to admit it. Many industries are oversaturated with copies of copies of copies and the true innovators need to step up. Statistically most of you will go on to attempt to copy pieces of someone else’s business or passion and execute it as your own unless something gets through to you. WE DO NEED YOU - we just need the real you - not the you that’s afraid to take risks, be authentic and bring a NEW vision into this world.
MAKE A COMMITMENT TO BEING AUTHENTIC TO YOUR VISION OR GOALS RIGHT NOW. WRITE IT DOWN.
HERE'S HOW WE ARE GOING TO DO IT:
1. PRACTICE INTENTIONAL IGNORANCE // THE ONLY WAY TO ENSURE BRAND + MESSAGE INTEGRITY
- Use tunnel vision effectively so that you don’t dilute your brand vision by looking at what “other people” are doing
- Dedicating significant periods of time “studying the competition” or looking to be inspired by another’s business model or content takes away from the TRUE expression of your business or creative passion (it also leads to copying)
- The way it “worked” for someone else is NOT necessarily the way it’s going to work for you and perhaps attempting to “copy” their model or message will permanently change the way your brand or business gets consumed
2. PREVENT BURNOUT BY ALIGNING PASSION WITH PURPOSE
When passion and purpose are aligned, you move through obstacles and roadblocks with ease. It is essential to evaluate WHAT your passions are and WHAT purpose they serve in the world / humanity / business world.
PASSION: the vision, the creativity, the ideas, the drive, the ambition
PURPOSE: the mission, the impact, the problem needing to be solved
3. JUST SAY NO TO FRIENDS + FAMILY
While it may seem like the easiest hiring solution, it does the most harm and sets your business back exponentially. Taking the time to hire the “right” people that have the proper skill set or areas of leadership that you currently lack can be extremely beneficial to growing your business. This dynamic loses its impact when hiring family or friends who inevitably bring in more complex interpersonal communication patterns to the business. As much as you LOVE your friends + family, they will:
- Ask for the most money (even if they don’t do it right away)
- Ask for favors or to borrow money
- Use your personal life and their knowledge of it to change the power differential at work
- Cause you TONS of stress by making business pivots or changes nearly impossible because you’re afraid of ruining the relationship
4. LEARN HOW TO EXECUTE EVERY FACET OF YOUR BUSINESS - YES. YOU!
It's tempting to hire employees or independent contractors to do the work you:
This is a huge mistake in the initial phase of executing your business. We live in a world of endless (and often free) access to online education and there is absolutely NO EXCUSE to cut corners and not learn how to do something yourself. This gives you a new understanding of your business and each of its touch-points. This is NOT to say I think you should do everything forever. The point is - in learning HOW to do everything from marketing to tech, advertising to graphic design and branding - you are able to see your business and how it interacts with customers multidimensionally AND hire a team that you can trust and monitor properly. How can you monitor someone's work or release an ad budget if you don't know how to verify their work or see if you're being taken advantage of?
5. MAKE EDUCATED CHOICES FOR FUNDING // THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY
BOOTSTRAPPING: keeping a lean team, finances + reinvesting capital to grow the business so that you retain ownership (equity) in the business ** important to plan for desired exit at least 3 years ahead of time
LOAN (CONVERTIBLE / ANGEL): looking to friends + family to fund small portions of business growth with a clear strategy for how funds will be used ** important to NOT use this for expensive hires whenever possible, this should be used for product development / expansion / marketing / technology development, etc
VC / PE: your business has grown extremely quickly AND is not purely based off of a personality, you need to scale and do so quickly, you’re willing to give up large percentage of your company for the long-term payoff ** must have product offering / app / Saas / technology component
ACQUISITION: you’re ready to be bought out entirely OR at majority share, your business is on an uptick and you don’t have what it takes to bring it all the way through scale, your passion or vision for the business has diminished but the revenue is still growing - perfect time to sell! ** must have product offering / app / Saas / technology component
Be realistic in your desire for funding and make sure you are 100% clear of what you want to use the money for. Chances are, if your answer is to take as a salary, most investors will run for the hills and your parents might too. If your answer has to do with product development, inventory or advertising budget for a fully-vetted funnel - they are more likely to say yes. And for god sake - BOOTSTRAP as much as you possibly can. I took on angel investment early on - most of which went to pay salaried employees that I shouldn't have had at the time (financially speaking). Eventually - I saw the error of my investment ways - fired everyone except myself and decided to cut our operations expenses by 3/4 for a set period of time to re-orient the business. Can you guess what the result was? We grew 400% in just 9 months. It can be tempting to look elsewhere for help, funding or advisory services when you're exhausted BUT I urge you to dig DEEP with yourself first. You won't regret it.
SO, WHAT NEXT?
If you're interested in setting up a business consultation discovery session, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tune in for more business-focused episodes at: https://soundcloud.com/themoderngood