Are you an entrepreneur? If so, you’re an amazing breed of person.
I coach a handful of you and I thoroughly enjoy brainstorming the creation of new businesses with each and every one of you!
There are a few entrepreneurial tips I have to help you along the way.
Once you have your business idea and are rolling with it, you are walking around 24/7 living and breathing this new baby.
And you’re going to run into numerous people…potential investors or employees or people in general trying to tell you what to do (let’s call this group “Advisors”).
These advisors are going to throw a bunch of creative ideas at you.
First lesson: don’t sweat their ideas too much. If you’re into your new idea, you’ve probably thought about their idea in some form already.
You should focus on utilizing these advisors in other ways (see below).
Those who hang around with Steve Jobs say that one of his most important skills is his ability to determine what NOT to work on (whether it’s a product or a feature).
Just take a look at at the outside of Apple’s iPhone and you’ll get what I mean: it has a couple of buttons, a switch, a jack for your headphones and a glass screen (think of all the features and functionality that other mobile devices have).
Mr. Jobs had to choose NOT to add a great many things to this magical device.
Or take In-N-Out Burger…they didn’t add a single item to their menu for some 15 years (and that first item was 7-Up soda) — again, think of all the things they turned down (chicken nuggets, coffee, juice, salads, etc.).
You the entrepreneur have the same tough call to make: you have a thousand ideas and you’re going to have to pick a precious few to work on at any one time.
While you’re going to have to pick just a handful of things to work on (whether they are business ideas or product features), I have found it useful to use The Law of 7.
The Law of 7 states that you will have to try up to 7 things (around 3 to 7 things is usually about right), and work on them very hard, to find just one success.
This is similar to the Pareto Principal in which 20% of what you do typically creates 80% of your value.
But I wanted to name my own theory so I’m gonna call it the Law of 7.
Here are some Law of 7 examples:
So you entrepreneurs out there should keep in mind that you may need to try about 7 different versions of your business idea to find one that carries you for awhile.
But you don’t have to believe me…check out these famous companies and how they attempted to make one thing while ending up producing something else:
Let me give you examples of the first things that different companies tried:
I made the classic entrepreneur’s mistake when I launched the music Web site Mojam: I attempted to make it very big, very fast, with a small amount of resources.
This was 1998 and I believed the Internet was going to allow a new music brand, much the way television allowed MTV to launch.
So I positioned Mojam early on to be the “MTV of the Internet.”
The only problem was that I had only a small amount of money and no real strategic assets.
So, after studying the music market I found that the music industry consisted of three main markets:
So, I switched gears on my “MTV of the Internet” strategy and instead focused on the one part of the market that the Internet seemed to ignore: Live music.
No one was doing much in the live music space back then and our team was able to acquire a small database of music events and launch a concert listing service.
Interestingly, Wolfgang’s Vault, the company that acquired Mojam, was in the other two markets: recorded music and merchandise.
So, they were a better bet to take Mojam and go after the bigger music market (closer to the “MTV of the Internet”).
So, if you have little in the way of resources, go after some small wins.
Don’t forget: Craig took an email list of San Francisco events and turned it into Craigslist and Mark Zuckerberg took a Harvard alumni network and turned it into Facebook!
There are many other tips to help entrepreneurs — I hope you found these four helpful.