I had the pleasure of meeting up with a woman last night who worked in corporate for a long time. But she decided it was time.
It was time to start her own venture.
The next chapter can come with a lot of overwhelm. “I have this idea, but what is the best next step?”
I wrote up some important questions to ask yourself to inform that next step:
Simon Sinek wrote a whole book about this. You could be a widget making company. There are 5 other widget making company. But WHY ARE YOU the one I should buy my widgets from? What are your values? This is important when it comes to hiring or partnering decisions. While the skillsets listed on a resume are important, for me, it’s important to work with someone who communicates, asks for help when they need it, follows up and follows through.
I took an important branding course with Julie Cottineau, someone who once worked for Richard Branson and has an incredibly smart brain. We spent the better part of the several week course dedicated to this all important question. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Build an avatar for your ideal client. Where does he or she vacation? What does she read? Is she married or single? Does she have kids? What does she typically do on weekends? What profession is she in? Does she spend time on her own personal development? Then do as Michael Port, author of “Book Yourself Solid.” Fall in love with the clients you want to work with. That will attract others with a similar profile.
Rather than lead with the what (your product or service is the WHAT) ask yourself, what problem are you solving for your ideal client? Do your market research. Who else is maybe solving the same problem? What is your unique value proposition?
I had the privilege of interviewing Michelle Cordeiro Grant, founder of Lively, a lingerie company. She had never run a company before. So she went to work at a startup to understand the culture first. Then she made a list of all of her fears around running a business. Next to each fear, she listed a person in (or not in) her network who would become her ‘go-to guru’ on the issue. She went one step further and made each of these gurus her best friends. Having a customer service crisis at 3am? Be sure to call up that customer service contact for advice and next steps.
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