Leads: Bad to Worse

This post originally appeared on #entrepreneurfail.

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As you begin your hunt for customers, you will come across many who are not interested in your offerings. Perhaps the price is wrong or perhaps you are not solving a problem they have.

However on the spectrum of NOs, you should be happy if you get a straight out NO! This is the best case scenario as it saves time and wasted effort.

Continuing on the range of bad leads, next come the potential customers who just don’t respond. You may send emails, make phone calls, get referrals, ping them in other ways, but you’ll get no response. You may think of giving up, or you may choose to be persistent, but either way, these bad leads are frustrating.

Finally, the worst are the leads who give you a false sense of hope. These are the folks who casually say “maybe” or “let’s discuss”, but they have absolutely no interest in ever buying your product or service. Be wary of these potential customers as they will spend your time and you’ll get nothing in return.

Who are the worst leads you’ve dealt with? Let us know in the comments below.








Step by Step

This post originally appeared on #entrepreneurfail.

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As a new entrepreneur starts a business, he/she may wear many hats. The new founder may serve as the strategist, product developer, business developer, and the CFO, just to name a few of the roles. In fact, the new entrepreneur may vehemently deny needing anyone else to help with the business. It may seem like more effort to get others onboard, rather than to do the work alone. This also applies if there is a cofounder. The founders may feel like they are all they need to succeed.

Eventually, the entrepreneur will realize a team to help with the business is not only useful but essential. This is the next step in the venture.

Finally, when the entrepreneur is ready to truly get to the final step, he/she realizes that to scale, ancillary as well as critical tasks must be delegated to the “army” of help. This army is the crux of the business. So, take it one step at a time, and soon you’ll be at the top.

What step are you on? Let us know in the comments below.








Bit by the Startup Bug

This post originally appeared on #entrepreneurfail.

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Doctor, the last dose of the corporate drug didn’t work!

It’s a plague, highly contagious and extremely persistent. If you’ve been bitten by the startup bug, take precaution. Symptoms may include an entrepreneurial “itch” that may cause “rash” decisions. This is a lifelong ailment. Symptoms may be alleviated by finding a cofounder and launching a business. However, the itch never fully recedes.

Often, this ailment causes delusions of grandeur. In rare cases though, the long-term effects of the bite may cause extreme happiness, fulfillment and prosperity. This is only if you carefully follow the medical treatment prescribed by other entrepreneurs and mentors.








More Work Coming at You

This post originally appeared on #entrepreneurfail.

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No Good Work is Left Un-Rewarded.

As a new entrepreneur building your business, you may be tempted to take shortcuts. After all, there are only so many hours in the day. When working to complete a product or finish deliverables for a client, it is tempting to rush through tasks or attempt to multitask. This leads to mistakes, lack of focus and less understanding of why the work being performed.

On the other hand, focused, customer-centric, persistent work will reward you with one thing – MORE BUSINESS! The right effort is viral, and soon your customers or clients will spread the word and want more.

What are some ways to make sure you are putting in the right effort?

Market research to identify a true customer need and validation of your current effort. Understanding and identifying the one thing you are providing and putting your best efforts to make sure it’s delivered impeccably.

Establishing streamlined and scalable processes to help deliver your services with quality and reliability. Very often, entrepreneurs confuse being busy with the right effort. Just like a boomerang, which needs to be ‘thrown’ correctly for it to come back, any work done must be done with the right effort for it to provide recurring benefits to grow your business.








Jack of All Trades or Master of One?

This post originally appeared on #entrepreneurfail.

 
If you are launching a service business, you have choices: Be everything to everyone, or be very targeted with a niche service to a small subset, or be somewhere in the middle.
 
There are benefits to being a generalist, but in our experiences, building a business as a specialist allows you to focus and enjoy higher rewards.
 
The benefits of providing “general” services include the ability to adapt to new opportunities in the streamlined way. There is less bureaucracy and process. Your target market is huge and endless.
 
However, the benefits of providing a “specialized” service is most apparent in business development. If you are solving a problem with a service that no one else is and targeting a market that no one else is, you will have potential customers knocking on your door inquiring about your services. Since the services are focused, it is very easy to say “no” to business that doesn’t fit your mold, and very easy to scale.
 
Is your business providing general services or specialized services? Let us know in the comments below.








Target the Low Hanging Fruit

This post originally appeared on #entrepreneurfail.

The most important step in a new business is finding the first customer. And then finding the next customer after that and the one after that…
Many new entrepreneurs blindly seek customers without understanding their own capabilities, the customer profile and where to find the customer. Finding a customer can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but with certain steps it can become easier.

 

Here are a few pointers: 

  • Understand what problem the product or services solve and define the value proposition.
  • Understand the target customer profile.
  • Identify where the customers are located and ensure sales and marketing material reach customers where they are.
  • Conduct research to gauge various customer segments.
  • Identify customer’s ability and willingness to pay.
  • Understand the sales cycle and develop a sales funnel.
Search for the low hanging fruit. Often, your customer is in front of your nose, but you don’t even notice.







Need a Startup GPS? (Comic)

#entrepreneurfail Entrepreneur's Compass

“The opportunities are endless.”  You may have heard that when you embarked on your startup journey. However, little did you know that it is an understatement.

In a corporate job, you get direction from a boss. For an entrepreneur, every direction can be the right direction or the wrong direction, simultaneously. Every decision can make a profound impact on the course of your company; however, it is unknown if you’ve made the the right decision until long after it’s made.

That’s why there is no ONE route, guide book, playbook, piece of data, or compass an entrepreneur can use for a definitive direction.

The combination of these following tips​ will help entrepreneurs find their path:

  1. Gut instinct – Trusting your sixth sense will help drive your decisions quicker.
  2. Data Analysis – Assessing both historical and proxy data can provide “guesstimates” for your decisions.
  3. Customer Validation – Ask, learn and create for your buyers and users. They can serve as a big part of your startup compass.
  4. Tools – Modeling techniques such as weighted probabilities and decision trees can add a structured component to driving your company.
  5. Resources – Online and offline, there are best practices that you can leverage so you don’t reinvent the wheel.
  6. Mentorship – Find one ASAP. Generally, the more informal the better, as it is most successful when you have not only an experienced mentor, but a friend.

Remember not to overuse any of the above points, as then you may be pulled down the wrong path.

Tell us how you make your decisions in the comments below? What do you use as your startup compass?

This was originally created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.








Ideas vs. The Execution of Ideas (Comic)

#entrepreneurfail Thinker Doer

This one is dedicated to all of you soon to be new graduates. What a bigger driver? Strategy OR the tactics to bring those strategies to life?  The answer is that it depends on the role you will pursue. However for the entrepreneurial path, there is only one answer: BOTH are equally important.

To those thinking of going to work at a university: to succeed you have to excel and shine with your thinking and ideas. Your varied thoughts and points of view will be rewarded.

To those who will be joining the eventual ranks of middle management, Dilbert, and the cast of The Office, be ready to run nonstop if you want to succeed. You will get promoted based on how many things you can juggle and how well you can keep them in the air, not by generating ideas.

And finally to those thinking of jumping off into the startup deep end, ideas and execution are two sides of the same coin. Both are equally essential and skills in both will get you closer to success.

What are your thoughts? Share in the comments below.

This was originally created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.








Entrepreneur's Mousetrap: The Greedy Get Trapped (Comic)

#entrepreneurfail Mousetrap
  • Overnight millionaire!
  • Strategies to get 100K Facebook Fans Today so you can Retire Tomorrow.
  • Work from home for less than an hour a week, and Die Rich!
  • Get thousands of customers with a click of a button and have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
  • Attend the event that will teach you the alchemy to grow gold in your freezer.
  • Pay only a small amount a month, and earn more than anyone you know.

The list goes on and on. These promises are abound all over the business world, and especially on the internet. So how do you spot these Ponzis and too-good-to-be-true opportunities and separate them from the real ones?

To determine if something is really an opportunity or potential venture and not just an #entrepreneurfail, it must meet most of the following criteria:

  • Involve hard work – if the plan involves no effort from your side, it’s a red flag.
  • Be long term – if the opportunity is a one-time, one-person quick fix, run far, far away.
  • Be from a reliable source – if the social proof of a project looks fake, it probably is.
  • Must NOT be too-good-to-be-true – if your gut is telling you to steer clear, listen!

On the flip side, when you are creating your own product or service, and marketing it to your target customer, make sure your promises are tried and true. The litmus test is easy – if you share it with 5 people who think what you are offering seems unreal, then you need to show some proof.

So have you fallen into any of the traps out there?  How did you figure out if an opportunity or a product was really worth your while? Let us know in the comments.

Please note no animals were harmed in the creation of this comic.

This was originally created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.

 








5 Things Every Designer Should Know When Dealing With Clients (Comic)

Interested in practicing your design skills, networking with your local startup community, or maybe even pitching that business idea you’ve been sitting on forever? Find a Startup Weekend near you…and GET STARTED!

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Source: Josuedric.com