It’s graduation time and lots of young people are moving on up and becoming (we parents hope) self-sustaining men and women. Hopefully, they have been taught to read, write, and think clearly. Perhaps they have even been to taught to think creatively and not simply regurgitate back answers, but to even think through new solutions and issues.
However, with a challenging economy, is there hope for new minds? How do you get a first chance (and even a second and third!)? By being strategic, creative, persistent and bold.
When I think of how George Eastman, Martha Matilda Harper, and Steve Jobs launched their innovative businesses, they did not form focus groups to “test the market.” Instead, they observed their current situations and found opportunities where there was no prior significant business model. Jobs explained that he didn’t use focus groups because, “How could I ask people for what they had never experienced?”
For you wannabe entrepreneurs, here’s my advice:
1. Decide if you are a self-starter, able to work long hours and persist inspire of rejection.
2. Save up or get others to invest in your idea, but don’t let that stop your idea from percolating (Note, historically, men have had an easier time getting others to put up venture capital than women have .)
3. Launch with pizzazz. Take advantage of timing, location, publicity. Example, Harper used the photo of her with the floor-length hair to attract people passing by and then invited them to rest their weary feet in her salon with all the chairs.
4. Combine your business zeal with helping the world, like Tom’s Shoes. It’s a win win opportunity.
5. Tell your story, again and again. Think of ways to get people to learn/experience your product or service. Take advantage of the internet, place stories in the newspapers, magazines, get buzz going. If you are going into social entrepreneurship, then, surely, your business provides lots more opportunity for publicity.
6. Check the books. Have some trusted soul be responsible for the books. (Could be you or someone else, but figures don’t lie.) Keep track of what your bottom line is and be ready to carry your business for at least 1-3 years until it is a money-maker.
6. Enjoy the process. Whatever happens, it will be one heck of a ride, that you can do all over again!
Let me know how it goes. Best wishes.