How to grow a business you love
1. Start with you – The only sustainable driver
Building a successful business is all about understanding who you are, what you care about and value, your passion, and finding out how you can turn this into something that can add something to the world and make you money in the process. What you care about is not hairey fairey, its actually the only sustainable driver we have. Think ahead, when a couple of years have passed and you're shipping some product that you don't believe is helping the world, your soul will likely be giving you a good kick in the ass demanding that pay it some serious attention and let it get back at the helm of your life. You've gotta have soul it'll help you do anything, so start your business on the back of it.
2. Churn through heaps of ideas
There's heaps of opportunities out there for new businesses and they're within the reach of anyone who wants to put in the time to get inspired and stick to it. The trick is working through enough ideas, then aggregating and assimilating them until you find something thats going to be unique and personally exciting. Some people may be lucky and just stumble accross something perfect and everything just adds up – oooh like the movies : ), but just like most things in movies this I think is largely a misconception that keeps most people waiting for magic instead of making magic happen, don't be caught waiting, be a magic maker! The only experience we've had, like most everyone we know in business is churning through plenty of ideas and never expecting anything to eventuate directly before its ready, this is natures journey stay on for the ride. You've got to be willing to open up your thinking about multiple areas of the world, chances are a good venture will come from understanding how multiple things are converging.
3. Verify uniqueness – Research the market immediately
If you've come up with something that excites you, then start checking out whats happening in the space immediately! Yes enjoy the buzz of new potential, but then move quickly to validating it so you can either keep on with it, or move on. Don't be afraid, if you came up with this one, you'll come up with another. This can be pretty damn quick nowadays with the web ofcourse. Find out whos doing what, maybe its the first time you've thought of it, but its already being done by plenty of others who became aware of the opportunity much sooner. This is Cool! Don't get disheartened like most do who give up, you've actually just made an important step forward towards the leading edge, the same steps someone whos now succeeding in the space made before, now you're getting on track! Keep moving.
4. Start designing a strategy – Write things down, online and in pictures
Strategies aren't just for businesses, a good strategy starts with your own life. If you figure out where you're going, and where the world is going, you'll be able to lead your business with real vision. So Don't wait until you've come up with the perfect business to build a strategy, start doing it as soon as you're ideas start flowing. It will most likely take some time before you've got a strategy that you love, will succeed, and is clear and concise. Strategy is a process not just an outcome. Signup for a free online collaboration tool where you can jot everything down and start getting your story together. These heaps of these, try jotspot. Sometimes you'll write and in the end wont directly use the results, but its all part of the process. Nat helped me build a massive wiki of over a couple of hundred pages linking together and documenting our thinking and the world we were about to enter before we started building evolutionone. In the end we'd assimilated it all and started documentation afresh, but without it to get there, I don't know where our thinking might have got to.
5. Talk to EVERYONE about your ideas
Lets face it, its going to have to make sense to people before it can go anywhere, so to test things out and solidify your thinking and ideas, and filter out the ones that you can move past, you've got to talk to as many people about them as possible. Run with your passion, tell people your evolving story, get their feedback and different perspectives. I've talked to 10's and 10's of people over the course of developing our business, and Nat and me are always tagteam pitching to people, its hard to deny 2 mad, passionate people. At the very least you'll get good input, and will have further tested and refined your thinking, at best you'll connect with people who think similar or in compliment… feel the love. Now you're starting to find business partners and get a team together… Excellent, people are everything in business, you are only as good as the people around you. (As a note you can go too far with this also, and I have managed to overdo this, just try and stay balanced and keep the excitement out of control at the right times and under control at others).
6. Focus and simplify – find an entry
After enough chaos and mind expansion, you should be starting to see whats the best opportunity. Nows the time to stop expanding on ideas, calmly work through them if nothing has stood out, and you'll soon find an angle. As it emerges, gently keep focusing and narrowing your view on what feels the best and trust that you're not shrinking or letting go of your now massive world changing vision, but more importantly now, finding a starting point for your business so you can begin the journey towards bring it to life.
7. Put Together a clear pitch and a simple Plan
Whether you're still on your own at this point, or theres a few of and bunch of supportive others, now is the time to start your business the way we'd all like to, get your pitch clear and put together a simple plan. Heres some good advice on structuring a simple plan the zen of business plans and heres another similar one on putting together a 10 slide presentation that will force you to create a winning story for yourself and anyone else you're going to get involved in your business, be they partners, employees, investors… anyone who might share in your vision.