Posts in Entrepreneurship

Focus on building followers

Following, followers, Followed:

Vitaly’s audition on Britain’s got talent is pretty much exactly how things tend to pan out in the entrepreneurship world. When you have an idea that you’re trying to execute, you’ll always get ‘experts & consultants’ standing in your way, looking sceptical and doubtful, giving you that look that says ‘so you think you’ve got what it takes, so you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, we’ve seen it all before…’ However as an entrepreneur, you just have to focus on impressing and capturing the imagination and attention of your target audience. That’s all that matters. Because once you’ve been able to acquire a massive following, once you’ve got the traction/momentum, then all the experts will come on board. The majority of investors will make you offers. Having traction and a growing following is the difference between success and failure. How many times have we seen or heard of startup companies backed by experts and well funded however they end up failing because they cannot gain that initial traction. Moral of the story is ignore the naysayers and focus on building a following. I’m currently in the process of building traction/following. Look out for a post on my experiences of building a following.

The road to success is always under construction

agile-methodolody_695x260

Success means different things to different people. In the context of this post, I will refer to success in the context of career and personal development.

Agile Development:

In software development there’s a concept known as the ‘Agile Development Cycle.’ (See diagram above). This is normally used in the process of developing a new piece of software, a mobile app or website. Those involved in this process usually follow these steps. The first part of it is to plan extensively, then to design a prototype, build the prototype, test the prototype, review and then launch the prototype to the general target audience. This process is great because it focuses on constantly making small incremental modifications/improvements that take into consideration analysis and learnings from previous steps. For as long as the product i.e. website, mobile app or software is openly available to users/customers, the agile methodology/process never ceases. It’s on going. It’s constant. This is the reason we all constantly receive notifications prompting us to update our apps/software to the latest ‘improved’ versions.

Life lessons

go-your-own-road-by-erik-johansson

This model provides a great methodology applicable to individual/personal development. You constantly have to plan for what you need to achieve out of your life, this could include goals in terms of career, health, financial, education, relationships etc. What is required is designing a strategy, building a way, testing, reviewing and eventually launching yourself into it. Say for example you are interested in pursuing a specific career path as a Lawyer or Doctor. You have to plan extensively before you embark on such a path. You have to plan which college/university you will attend. Then when you get to university, you’ve got to design or choose the specific optional subjects or a major in your chosen area of study. This process goes on until you become a qualified professional. However even while you’re qualified and in a ‘stable career,’ in order to maintain your qualified professional status and climb up the ‘career ladder’ you need to plan, design, build, test, review and launch for the role or office that you aspire to hold. This means that there’s a constant need to train & develop yourself while in the job in order to keep up with the latest practices in that specific field of work. Hence the reason why The road to success is always under construction.’ Every decision you make requires you to go through this agile development process. The time spent on each specific step will vary depending on a number of different factors that you deem important to your own pursuits. Moral of the story is to get into the habit of planing, designing, building, testing, reviewing and launching. That’s how one is able to constantly reinvent themselves time and time again. No one can afford to remain static or dormant. As one of the greatest scientists – Charles Darwin once said, “…it’s not the strongest that survive the longest, but those that can adapt to change’

If you need any help designing or developing a web or mobile product using the agile mobile development method then please feel free to get in touch here or check us out over at Refined Creatives to see what we can do for you. You might also be interest in some of our Entrepreneur Training Workshops that we run for those with ideas that they wish to turn into a business. 

Why I’m sick & tired of hearing people say “…that was your idea…”

“… that was my idea(s)…” Oh really?

How many times have you heard someone utter this phrase, “…(fill in blank – name of idea) was my idea…” If I had a penny for every time that I’ve heard that phrase, I’d probably be a gazzillionaire by now.

Wana-Preneurs

The ‘that was my idea‘ claim is normally made by the kind of person that I will refer to as a ‘Wana-preneur i.e. someone that masquerades around as an Entrepreneur of some sort while constantly standing on the sidelines without actually ever taking any risks to start any venture.

Unless I’ve seen some evidence that would prove otherwise, my first response is always, (and this might sound harsh), “no such and such was not your idea, because if it were your idea, then you would and should have taken ownership of the idea. And the way you take ownership of an idea is by actually doing something about it. It’s the simple step of taking action that matters. You pursue it, go after it, research it, talk about it, write about it, build it, test it and the list goes on. Only then can you have some merit to the fact that whatever you’re claiming was indeed your idea. Otherwise you will just sound like a deluded bitter old fool. I have so much more respect for someone that attempts to get an idea off the ground and fails than any loud mouth that is all talk but no action. Peter Thiel in his book Zero to One, explores this in great detail. The hardest part of getting an idea off the ground is going from zero to one, which is basically getting started. This is due to a number of factors. This perhaps explains why although plenty of people constantly talk about all these grand ideas, very few actually ever take any ownership by taking any action. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Patents & Trademarks are granted to those people that submit their applications first. However once you’ve moved from zero to one, accelerating progress is easier at that stage. The famous Levi Roots of Reggae Raggae Sauce was not the first person to come up with a delicious sauce recipe. However he took ownership of the idea and some may say controversially but he took action. Now I’m not saying that it’s easy, however it is the first step.

How to get started.
“…the secret to getting a head is getting started…” – Mark Twain.
                            mark twain
The Actor & TV Show host Steve Harvey, once said that we each have a gift. We all have something that we do extremely well with the least amount of effort. Something that doesn’t actually feel like work, that something in some cases is a hobby. So ask yourself, what’s the thing you do the absolute best with the least amount of effort. Look within yourself not without. Too many people miss out on their gift because they refuse to sign the lease on their gift, especially if you keep looking for it outside of yourself.- Steve Harvey
Perhaps another practical step worth noting is this. Surround yourself with people that are either vigorously working hard and are on their way to achieving their dreams or have already achieved their dreams or are accomplished. Immerse yourself in the culture of action, making progress and success. This will rub off you, it always does.
So go on, take official ownership of that idea(s) in your head by making a move today.

The Difference between a Startup CEO & Corporate CEO

So what’s the difference?

I always say that there’s a huge difference between the definition of a CEO in the Corporate and startup worlds. In the corporate world it just means Chief Executive Officer, we all know what they do.

Chief Everything Officer:

However in the startup business world CEO stands for Chief Everything Officer. You’re literally the Chief working officer, chief motivational officer, chief risk officer, chief flexible officer, chief hustling officer, chief financing officer and the list goes on as if and when required. Although it’s great to be great at one or two core skills, in a startup you’ve pretty much got to be a jack of all trades, you’ve got to be a bit of a dell boy, a grafter, a hustler, a problem solver and generally as adaptive as possible.

You’ve got to demonstrate to present and future employees or team members that at one point you’ve executed or done one of the roles that you are hiring them to do. You will carry more credibility this way. Being Chief Everything Officer also means that you will be working round about 100 hours a week for little or no pay. You’re simply just fuelled by passion. So you’ve got to be honest with yourself, are you cut out for this? Can you handle this? Because it is hard, damn bloody hard. It is chaos. To most ordinary people entrepreneurship seems glamorous and cool but it’s far from it. It’s a crazy roller coaster of emotions. One moment you’re up and next minute you’re down. So far on my entrepreneurship journey I’ve developed a number of skills that I needed simply out of necessity of being a Chief Everything Officer. I’ve become a jack of many trades. I’ve learnt how to design and develop websites in wordpress, I’ve learnt how to design web and mobile user interfaces and experiences. On dozens of occasions I’ve had to interview and hire freelancers to work on various aspects of projects. Then there’s the marketing, financing, project management and so much more. Essentially I’ve learnt how to manage the conception, development and delivery of a digital project.

Can you handle the heat?

I read somewhere once that people who come from dysfunctional homes or backgrounds tend to make the best entrepreneurs because they are used to chaos and unpredictability. They are comfortable with it. Even if they are not, they just know how to adapt in times of uncertainty. So if you don’t like the ‘excitement’ of unpredictability then please keep your 9-5 day job because you won’t be able to hack it. As the saying goes, the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence but you still have to mow it.

 

Yours truly,

Simon.