Samsung will show off its new Galaxy S4 on March 14th in New York. The reviews on this phone have already been great!
Samsung will show off its new Galaxy S4 on March 14th in New York. The reviews on this phone have already been great!
What’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail? The answer lies in these six decisions.
If you want to turn your great idea for a start-up into a real business, it won’t just happen because you want it to. In fact, the odds that you can succeed are stacked against you. And while you’re trying to beat those odds, you will be putting your reputation, the time of your co-founders, and possibly the cash of your friends and family at risk of loss.
Over the last two years, I have been interviewing start-up CEOs–about 180 at last count–in a quest to figure out what makes the difference between the few who succeed and the many who fail. You can read the result in my new book, Hungry Start-up Strategy: Creating New Ventures with Limited Resources and Unlimited Vision coming out in November.
Here’s a hint for you: it all depends on how well you make six vital decisions.
1. Set goals
When you start your venture, you most likely have nothing to offer the people who you will try to recruit. Yet I talked to many company founders who were able to recruit outstanding people and raise capital from some of the most prestigious of venture capitalists.
To do that, these founders set three kinds of goals. The first–for recruiting others–was a mission that gave the new venture so much meaning to those recruits that they could not resist.
The mission will only get you so far though–you also need a long-term goal for investors–something like going public in five years or finding a corporate acquirer. And you will also need to set short-term goals that help you learn what you need to do to grow without burning through your resources.
2. Pick markets
If you can set goals, you’re far from out of the woods. After all, you need to figure out who will use or buy your product. And to do that, you will need to pick the markets that you’re going to target.
Two hints for picking the right market–you have to have a personal passion for solving that market’s problem and the customers in that market must see your product as a compelling answer to a problem that none of your competitors are solving.
3. Raise capital
It goes without saying that everyone has bills to pay. So if you are going to hire people or buy supplies, you will need money. But where can you get it?
The best place to look initially is probably your customers. If you can get them to pay you more for the product than it costs you to build it–and cover your fixed costs–you are going to be in a good position. You might also try to get your suppliers to extend you favorable payment terms. If neither of those suffices, you can try tapping your own bank account or your credit cards.
You can probably forget banks unless your start-up has some kind of collateral that the banks can seize or sell if you don’t repay.
And I’ve found that you may want to match your efforts to raise money from other people (friends and family, angel investors, venture capitalists) to the stage of your start-up’s development, moving up that ladder as you ramp your sales.
4. Build the team
You can’t do it all yourself, but resist the urge to hire friends unless those friends have skills in areas critical to your venture’s success that complement your own. I found that the most successful ventures do a great job of dividing up the work that must be done among the most talented people. And they create a culture that binds them all together to focus on shared goals.
5. Gain market share
To grow, you must get customers to use your product and eventually pay. But I found that many customers are afraid to get too dependent on a start-up that could go out of business and leave them in the lurch.
To overcome that, you have to offer the customer what I called a quantum value leap (QVL), a product that solves a problem that customers care about better than the competition, and to give that solution away. If that QVL actually delivers those early customers will tell all their friends. And you can eventually upgrade the product and start charging customers to use it.
6. Adapt to change
You might think getting those five decisions right would be enough, but you would be wrong. That’s because customer needs, technology, and competitors all evolve and the very success you achieve by making those first five decisions well could doom your venture to destruction.
Unless you can adapt to those changes–seizing new opportunities and guarding against evolving threats–your customers will flee and your venture will be decline. I found that winning ventures follow three approaches to keep this from happening–one of these is to craft a vision of the skills at which the start-up must excel and to make acquisitions and strategic hires to close the capability gap.
If you want to beat the odds and win in the start-up game, you must make these six vital choices the right way. Otherwise, you’ll let down yourself as well as your co-founders, customers, investors and employees.
1. A winner makes mistakes and says, “I was wrong.” A loser says, “It wasn’t my fault.”
2. A winner credits his good luck for winning even though it wasn’t luck. A loser credits his bad luck for losing, but it wasn’t luck.
3. A winner works harder than a loser and has more time. A loser is always ‘too busy,’ too busy staying a failure.
4. A winner goes through a problem and a loser goes around it.
5. A winner shows he’s sorry by making up for it. A loser says he’s sorry but he does the same thing next time.
6. A winner knows what to fight for and what to compromise on. A loser compromises on what he should not and fights for what isn’t worth fighting for. Every day is a battle for life and it is very important that we are fighting for the right things and not wasting our time with trivia.
7. A winner says, “I’m good, but not as good as I ought to be.” A loser says, “Well, I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.” A winner looks up to where he is going. A loser looks down at those who’ve not yet achieved the position he has.
8. A winner respects those who are superior to him and tries to learn from them. A loser resents those who are superior to him and tries to find fault.
9. A winner is responsible for more than his job. A loser says, “I only work here.”
10. A winner says, “There ought to be a better way of doing it.” A loser says, “Why change it – that’s the way it’s always been done.”
Mrs. Broomfield’s dishwasher quit working, so she called a repairman. He couldn’t accommodate her with an evening appointment, and since she had to go to work the next day, she told him: “I’ll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll mail you the check. By the way, don’t worry about my Rottweiler. He won’t bother you. But whatever you do, do not under any circumstances talk to my parrot!”
When the repairman arrived at Mrs. Broomfield’s apartment the next day, he discovered the biggest and meanest looking Rottweiler he had ever seen. But, just like she had said, the dog just lay there on the carpet, watching the repairman go about his business.
However, the whole time he was there, the parrot drove him nuts with his incessant squawking and talking. Finally the repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer and yelled: “Shut up, you stupid bird!”
To which the parrot replied: “Get him, Brutus!
Lesson: Instructions are provided for a reason. You may save yourself tons of grief and pain if you follow them.
MIR is proud to announce a new promotion. April Kosinski who has been with MIR for two years, has been promoted to Asst Manager of our sales team. Since April started she has displayed a great work ethic and passion for people and there success. In less then two years April has built and trained a successful sales team.
In April`s new role she will be learning new aspects of our business including who to run a new branch for MIR in the Detroit market. Our plans are to expand into Detroit by early 2013 with April`s guidance.
MIR is proud to announce it has competed it`s move to our new headquarters located at 745 McClintock Dr. Duite 300 Burr Ridge IL,605827. The new 7,000 sq ft office will allow MIR to serve it`s customers and employees better to meet there growing needs. “We Love the new space it allows our team entertain & impress our clients” Says Jayme Johnston a operating partner of MIR. Burr Ridge offers several amenities we are excited to take advantage of with a great restaurant selection right out our front door.
Check out this video! Great info on AT&T`s Hosted PBX solution called VoiceDNA.
An unemployed man is desperate to support his family of a wife and three kids. He applies for a janitor’s job at a large firm and easily passes an aptitude test.
The human resources manager tells him, ‘You will be hired at minimum wage of $5.35 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day.’ Taken aback, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address.
To this the manager replies, ‘You must understand that to a company like ours that means that you virtually do not exist. Without an e-mail address you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm. So, Good Day.’
Stunned, the man leaves not knowing where to turn and having $10 in his wallet, he walks past a farmers’ market and sees a stand selling 25 lb. crates of beautiful red tomatoes. He buys a crate, carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than 2 hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.
During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day. By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly.
Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck.
At the end of a year he owns three old trucks. His two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife is buying the tomatoes, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.
By the end of the second year he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. He continues to work hard.
Time passes and at the end of the fifth year he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse that his wife supervises, plus two tomato farms that the boys manage. The tomato company’s payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work. His daughter reports that the business grossed over one million dollars.
Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance.
Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.
When the man replies that he doesn’t have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address, the insurance man is stunned, ‘What, you don’t have e-mail? No computer? No Internet? Just think where you would be today if you’d had all of that five years ago!’
“Ha!”, snorts the man. “If I’d had email five years ago I would be sweeping floors at a hi-tech firm and making $5.35 an hour.”
MIR & Associates is proud and excited to announce we will be expanding our offices to meet our client and customers’ growth needs. MIR is moving to Burr Ridge June 1st and is currently remodeling the space to suit our needs. “In a time of recession to be able to grow our headcount by 200% is exciting” says President of MIR, Robert Parker. MIR’s new space is over 7,000 sq ft and will be the Headquarters for the sales and technical staff.