What is the best advice for struggling entrepreneurs? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Get unstuck using these 4 questions.
1. What is your specific business goal this year?
Before you start your business, know your goal. Make sure your goal is clear and measurable.
I always asked people in business events about their business goal for the year, it surprised me that many of them don't have one. Some do, but there are just too many cliches.
- Grow my social media site like Facebook to beat Facebook (Are you sure?)
- Become the leading brand in health and wellness supplement (Good, but how you measure that?)
- Rebrand my website and business card. (Is that even a goal?)
When I decided to start my podcast,my goal is to hit 1 million downloads. But, there is a problem too. I can easily cheat by pumping out 300 podcast episode in a year, so each of them only needs about 3,000+ downloads in the entire year.
To make sure I'm not cheating, I bumped that up to 10,000 downloads per episode. I show this goal to my buddies. It turned out that they thought the goal is too low for me with a huge email list.
At the end of the day, 100,000 downloads per podcast episode becomes my goal. It's tough. It's challenging. At the same time, it's measurable, and so it's worth pursuing.
2. What is your unique proposition?
After Facebook strikes a gold mine, countless of developers out there want to build another social media platforms just like Facebook. This happens in many other industries.
The truth is, a unique idea works because of its uniqueness. That said, your idea of creating something similar won't work.
Here comes the second question you need to ask yourself when starting a new business: What is the unique proposition that helps you stand out?
Figure out which part of your business makes you special and unique from your competitors. If you can't find that in your business, create it. A good place to start is to generate a unique business idea.
You don't need to come up with a new industry like Facebook did. All you need is to be creative, and focusing on the problems that no one has come up with a good solution yet.
A great example is, which is a business I created. I see the rise of daily deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial, at the same time, the demand of digital tools and software. With the love of free software as an entrepreneur, Appsumo is born.
If you're having trouble generating good business ideas,
3. How can you start making money this week?
Most "business" gurus will stop here, but not me. After setting your business goals and figuring out your unique proposition, the next question every entrepreneur should ask themselves is how they can start making money this week.
You may be wondering now:
- Wait, Noah. I haven't built anything yet, how can I start selling?
- My plan is to grow my following. When I hit 100,000 YouTube subscribers, I will start making money.
- No way. I don't want to sell. I will focus on building the best product, and people will come.
I don't want to hurt your feelings, but losing your cold hard cash, time, and energy hurts more. If you're wondering about the above, you have the wantrepreneur mindset.
When starting a new business, the last thing you want is to find out your business won't work after investing all your money, time, and energy into it. That's why in, I teach simple ways to start making money fast, and make everyone to validate their business idea before anything else.
Before printing the business card and building your website, think about how you can start making money this week. If you're selling a product, run a presell to see if anyone is willing to pay for it. If you're selling services, build a mini package and start selling.
Having a time constraint is a good thing. It forces you to, and get rid everything that is irrelevant. If you can get in sales in a week, you have a business. If you don't, it's far better to learn that now and adjust your plan, than 6 months down the road.
4. What is one routine to move your business forward weekly?
Now you have your goal, you have your unique proposition, and you have, the next week is to move your business forward every week to your goal. It may be overwhelming to hire people, build the product, market it, ship it, and complete a list of endless tasks.
The solution? Build simple routines and small habits that move your business forward weekly.
To give you a better picture, here are a few thing I do every week to move myself to 100,000 downloads for my podcast. Every week, I publish:
- One podcast episode
- Two YouTube videos
- One blog post
- One guest post
- Six quora answers
At the same time, I have a routine to track and measure my progress weekly.
It seems like a lot of work, that's why I'm hiring a team to make sure I get the work done every single week. And I don't just hire anyone, I only hire the A-players.
You can read more about.
The point I like to make here is not about how much content you should produce or how you should hire. Instead, build a routine. If you're just started out, you may not need to hire a team. However, the routine is equally important.
Whether it's to publish one blog post, posting three Instagram posts, or scheduling ten sales appointment every week, when you have a routine, you get to test out how well they work and adjust from time to time to grow your business.
It's easy to dream about all the financial and lifestyle gains when you succeed in your business.
- Going for luxury vacations
- Working by the beach anytime you want
- Buying your friends a round at the bar
It feels good, and that makes it dangerous. Wantrepreneurs aren't living in the present moment and aiming to solve a real problem. That's why they are stuck at the same place for 11 months seeing zero progress.
Instead of fantasizing about your success, focus on solving your customer's' problems. At the same time, have a clear goal and plan to move your business forward.
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