You’ve heard the song. A hundred times, at least. You might have grown sick of it already. That, or you’ve been dancing and singing along to it. (It’s cool, it’s cool.) But Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” isn’t simply one of the biggest hits of 2012; it also happens to be one of the best and most unlikely sources of inspiration for developing, launching, and growing startups.
I’m dead serious, too. If, like me, you’re the sort of entrepreneur who’s always moved to think of things differently, then you’ll listen to “Call Me Maybe” and take away from it something other than the bubblegum sounds, the YouTube video parodies, the viral memes, and the quirky covers – something, that is, that can help make your startup story a success.
Check it out: a list of startup lessons from “Call Me Maybe”.
1. “I’d trade my soul for a wish; pennies and dimes for a kiss.”
I know this is supposed to be a romantic line, but an entrepreneurial mind can take it to mean how important it is to take risks. Sure, it’s nice to have generous investors who’ll support your startup, but if that doesn’t happen, ask yourself the question: “Am I willing to risk what I have to achieve what I want?” If your answer is yes, if you’re convinced that your startup’s ROI is going to be high (because it’s a great idea and you’ve worked your butt off for it), you’ll realize that putting your life savings on the line or cashing out your 401k is worth your while. Just look at Henry Ford, who revolutionized the automobile industry after risking his personal finances and going out of business with his first few ventures.
2. “I wasn’t looking for this, but now you’re in my way.”
Sometimes we turn away only to find what it is we’ve been looking for. My advice: seize every opportunity that comes along. My new startup, Review Trackers, was founded after I realized there weren’t any reliable review monitoring solutions that my Internet marketing clients could use. I certainly had other business ideas, but Review Trackers emerged suddenly and I just couldn’t stand the thought of not developing it and addressing my clients’ needs.
3. “This is crazy, but…”
Actually, it might be better to just scratch the “but” part. I mean: who cares if it’s crazy? Crazy is a compliment. Crazy pays off. Thinking big pays off. Harland David Sanders was crazy enough to believe that his secret fried chicken spice mixture was absolutely going to be a winner – even after over 1,000 restaurants rejected it. He was right. It was a winner. Now, his face – “Colonel Sanders” – is the logo of every KFC restaurant.
4. “Here’s my number. So call me, maybe?”
Behind every successful startup is a team of people working together to turn ideas into action. But you’re not going to be part of any sort of team if you don’t actually go out and meet people. So leave a card. Give out your number. Reach out energetically to your local social, capital, or entrepreneurial networks. As one of the organizers of Chicago Startup Weekend, I’ve witnessed all sorts of startups develop, launch, grow, and succeed. But the best part is always the chance to meet a lot of people, a lot of entrepreneurs, who are extremely passionate about sharing new ideas, building new products, developing new companies, and generating new opportunities.
5. “I beg and borrow and steal; have foresight and it’s real.”
Well, I’m not actually advising you to steal. I’m just saying that every successful entrepreneur doesn’t know how to give up. When I first applied for a program called Start-Up Chile, I didn’t get accepted. But I didn’t dwell on that. Instead I continued with my research. Kept working. Asked advisors and friends about how I could make my next application a successful one. And it did turn out to be a successful one: I’m now headed to Chile, where I have an incredible opportunity to grow Review Trackers and put to good use $40,000 (USD) of sweet, equity-free seed capital, a temporary 1-year resident visa, and access to Chile’s growing capital networks. So don’t give up. Just do everything within your power to steer your way to success.This post was written by Chris Campbell, the founder and Chief Tracking Officer of Review Trackers. When he is not building companies he volunteers as a Startup Weekend facilitator and has attended 20+ Startup Weekends.