In The Art of the Start, author Guy Kawasaki lists five things an entrepreneur must accomplish when getting started. Here they are.
The first task is to make meaning. No, meaning is NOT about money, power, or prestige.
Rather, you make meaning by creating a product or service that
- Makes the world a better place.
- Increases quality of life.
- Rights a terrible wrong.
- Prevents the end of something good.
A mantra will set your team on the right path. To create one, answer these questions.
What do you do?
How will you serve your customers?
What meaning will you make?
Mantras are guidelines for what you do in your job. Keep it short, sweet, and memorable. Repeat it daily.
For instance, Nike’s mantra is “Authentic athletic performance.” For Starbuck’s, it’s “Rewarding everyday moments.”
Don’t create a business plan, craft a sales pitch, or build a financial projection. Now’s not the time.
Instead, build your prototype and offer your services. Get started, and get it to the market. It won’t be perfect, but that’s okay for now.
Then get feedback, improve your prototype, and repeat the process. But improve it because your customers already love it.
If you wait for ideal conditions in which you have all the information you need, the market will pass you by.
Define Your Business Model
To do this, you need to do two things.
- Define your customer, and
- Create a sales system to make sure revenues exceed costs.
Here are some tips to help in the process.
Keep it Simple
Describe your model in ten words or less. And don’t use business jargon. For instance, eBay charges a listing fee and a commision.
Simple as that.
Business has been around for a long time, and every possible model has likely been created already. Take advantage of this.
Relate your model to one that already works well.
Weave a MAT
Some of your goals are more important than others – these are milestones. Milestones show progress towards success, and there are seven you must focus on.
- Prove your concept.
- Complete design specifications.
- Finish a prototype.
- Raise capital.
- Ship a testable version to customers.
- Ship the final version.
- Achieve breakeven.
Assumptions that you should make about your business include
- market size
- gross margin
- length of sales cycle
- customer ROI
- cost of parts and supplies
Track these factors, and if they turn out wrong, react to them quickly.
These are required to design, manufacture, sell, ship, and support your product or service. They include
- renting office space
- finding key vendors
- setting up accounting and payroll systems
- filing legal documents
This list will help you understand the magnitude of what you need to accomplish, so that nothing slips through the cracks.
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