A startup growth advisor and Founder of Startup Growth Mode who has consulted for more than 200 high-growth companies.
We are headed in a new digital direction when it comes to technology. Remote environments and digital storefronts are becoming the new normal, and business models are shifting in response to the coronavirus. Entrepreneurs need to know how to prepare.
As a startup consultant, I believe meeting the needs of today goes beyond simply having a valuable product. Below are my recommendations for how entrepreneurs can navigate and survive today’s uncertainty.
Prioritize meaningful work over money.
You might believe that money is the most important thing when running a business, but I consider community and passion the two key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur. From my perspective, when entrepreneurs only go after money, they can fail because their passion dies if the money stops. Then, they’re back to square one. I believe we are moving into an age when running a business can no longer be about the money, but how we can help one another get through these troubled times.
I believe everyone has a purpose and a gift. Think about what you’re passionate about and how you can incorporate that in your approach to entrepreneurship. Personally, I’ve navigated a number of failures. But it wasn’t until I pivoted and started building a health business related to my passions that I started building a community.
I started sharing free and easily accessible information and content related to the new direction I was taking, and I started connecting with an audience who found that information valuable. I then decided to create more of this type of content and so that I could help even more people. As a result, I was able to build a community and a business centered around my passions. My efforts had nothing to do with money and everything to do with purpose.
Pay attention to your health and well-being.
I’ve observed that many entrepreneurs are so invested in their business that they do not take proactive measures around their health. But ensuring you and your team are taking care of your health, both mentally and physically, is essential. This doesn’t mean just having an annual doctor’s visit; it means focusing on your health daily.
My goal as a leader is to have a balanced, healthy life and to lead by example. To do this yourself, you can share with your team how you lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as your philosophies and goals that go along with it. Share your own story, and support your employees who are trying to do the same.
Know your audience and the solutions they need.
Throughout my time in the startup space, I’ve learned that a business plan is useless without having a community. There are countless entrepreneurs who believe the way to start is just by creating a business plan and then getting investors. But to me, there is no reason for a business plan if you are not going to have buyers for your product or service.
This is why the actual first step to running a business is learning about your audience and seeing if the problem you want to solve is actually valuable to them or if it is not worth your time.
I built an interest group to learn more about my audience and who I wanted to work with. Although my interest group wasn’t my core set of buyers, I learned who my buyers would be and who I wanted to work with. If I hadn’t built this group, I wouldn’t have understood my buyer as well as I do now. When you know about your audience and the solutions they’re looking for, you can know how best to engage them and build a valuable network.
I’ve worked with many people who believed that the only way they could really build their business was by having the credibility brought by high-level degrees to start something new. Otherwise, an audience would not be interested in what they had to offer. I’ve found many people don’t consider a college degree as the most important factor in entrepreneurship. Instead, they care about the chemistry they have with you when working together, they care about the experience they receive and, most of all, they want to know your “why” — your story.
Your story is unique to you in the way that no one can take it away from you. I might look at degrees as a way to help qualify someone for a certain role or build a foundation of knowledge, but your skills and why you’re passionate about what you’re doing are what matter. Whether you’re starting your own business or searching for a new role, it’s important that you have the ability to reap results and help the company succeed, degree or not.
The world is changing, and many entrepreneurs might not know how to keep up or which way to move with their business. I hope this guide gives you a few ideas on how you can flow with the shifts taking place and thrive.