Entrepreneurship & Growth

  • Principles
    • The best business is to create the Disneyland experience where they want to come back and bring all their friends.
      •Think and act ruthlessly long term.
      • 4 Pillars of a good company
      •Constantly implementing better business design
      •Identifying and hiring talent
      •Creating amazing culture at your company
      •Creating and executing the brand vision
      • Personal touches pay off
      •Tips go up 3% when a waiter serves a customer a wrapped chocolate.
      •Tips go up 2% when a waiter writes “Thank You” on a check.
      •Tips go up 4% when a waiter includes a weather forecast (i.e. “Tomorrow is looking to be a sunny day!”) on the back of a check.
      •Tips go up 8% when a waiter introduces himself to the table by his first name.
      •Tips go up 5% when a waiter touches a diner’s hand (this only works with female servers, apparently).
      • Percentage of monthly revenue from new customers vs. retained and referrals will tell you how well built the company is for long-term success (good example is Athletic Greens).
      •Types of value for customers
      •Simplicity (Basecamp)
      •Risk reduction
      •Elegance/style (Apple)
      •Environmentally friendly
      •Civic duty
      • Getting in touch with influencers
      •1. Search their name on LinkedIn. Send them a connect request as a friend with a CUSTOM message. “Hey <first-name>, Huge fan of your business and wanted to talk about some cool products for your customers.”

      •2. Email them.

      •I wait a day here as to NOT annoy them. If they don’t respond, then proceed to 3 and 4.

      •3. Facebook message them with: “Hey, just wanted to make sure my message got through”.

      •4. Tweet them. “Hey @twitter-handle. Love to see if we make some magic together. What’s best email for you?”
      •Humility goes a long way. Rather than saying, “I did this, this, this and this. Let’s meet and swap ideas,” be very humble about it and say, “I’ve done as much research and background work as I think I can. Here are just three questions I’d love to ask you.” Start with just two sentences on who you are, why you’re credible and not a stalker. Instead of, “Let’s spend ten minutes on the phone,” just ask your questions right there in the email, adding, “If it’s easier for you, please feel free to call me. Use *67 if you don’t want me to have your number.” Then they’ll either get back to you by email or they might just call you.
      •Single most important thing for business success if you want to be a leader, CEO, anything: hire.
      •Latch on to a popular service, then simplify it for others (e.g. Evernote Essentials book).
      • Look at what the rich are doing to know where businesses will go next. Cars are a good example, which used to be for only rich people. Now it’s experiences.
      • Another business progression is increasing nuances and diversification within one product class. E.g. Not just watches, all types now available.
      •Over the years, niche networking groups have developed in order to increase the effectiveness of local relationship building. Some common networking groups include:
      •LeTip – LeTip groups meet once a week and only one business per category is allowed (to avoid competition within the group). Members are required to either provide a business referral or do business with a member each week. This helps members understand what each other’s businesses are – thus catalyzing the networking effectiveness of the group.
      •BNI – Business Network International is similar to LeTip, but has groups outside of North America. The group mechanics are very similar in operation to LeTip.
      •Your local chamber of commerce – The beauty of your local chamber of commerce is that they connect you with your city’s movers and shakers. These relationships can be hugely effective.
      • Jason Fried – Basecamp CEO
      • Underdo the competition to help the people who are struggling just to get the basics down. Don’t one up the competition. simplify.
      •You don’t have to recoup losses the same way you lose them.

    • Decision making
      • A vs b is a self created dilemma, a false dichotomy. There are ALWAYS more choices. Brainstorm. Eg.g Can delegate out your company, do your company at your current job, work for the expert to become more strategically positioned when you launch your company etc.
    • CEO of SpikeBall
      1.Surprise and delight your customers.
      2.Focus on community and use them as your r and d.
      3.Use a good story to differentiate and sell above your competitors.
      4.Trademark is worth more than the patent. Patent can be bypassed but your name and brand is worth everything.
      5.Don’t submit to industry norms like net terms. Challenge the status quo.
    • Think about what your industry needs, more from a perspective shift or something that they aren’t currently being served as they should, etc.
    • Liberate yourself by being you. Dress and act as you are. You don’t have to be or dress a way just because it’s industry standard.
    • The best option is the one that creates more options. (Derek Sivers directive).
    • Finding a mentor, apply the following to questions. Are they doing what they teach TODAY? In the past doesn’t count. Are they making money from doing that today, not just money from teaching you?
    • Ask big questions. What do I need to do to grow 10x. What can I offer someone for  $100,000 and who would I have to target?
    • To reduce customer churn, change their behavior and get them to adopt your value offering within 90 DAYS.
    • Get people to buy your product before you create it to validate the market need.
      Shoot to get 10% of your list to preorder.
    • Financial Freedom
      • Start a business
      • Invest the profits
      • Create cash flow assets
    • Your business should take your customers on a journey of natural development. Take care of them after the CTA. Find their next needs.
    • Do things that make you happy, are smart for your future, and useful to others. Having just 2 is not successful long term.
    • The Margin Manifesto: 11 Tenets for Reaching (or Doubling) Profitability in 3 Months
    • Deadlines over Details – Test Reliability Before Capability: Skills are overrated. Perfect products delivered past deadline kill companies faster than decent products delivered on-time. Test someone’s ability to deliver on a specific and tight deadline before hiring them based on a dazzling portfolio.
    • The Customer is Not Always Right — “Fire” High-Maintenance Customers: Not all customers are created equal. Apply the 80/20 principle to time consumption: What 20% of people are consuming 80% of your time?
    • Limit Downside to Ensure Upside — Sacrifice Margin for Safety: Don’t manufacture product in large quantities to increase margin unless your product and marketing are tested and ready for roll-out without changes.
    • Pricing before product. Leave enough margins for resellers and distributors.
    • Limit and control the distribution. Avoids price cutting between distributors.
    • Net-0 terms by creating end-user demand.
    • What gets measured gets managed. Measure key KPIs.
    • Don’t avoid praising your competitors or other influencers. Avoid the scarcity mentality that they will leave you and go follow them if you tell them how great someone else is.
    • Prove viability first. 33% more likely for company to succeed if founder kept day job until proven viability, versus jump out and go all in. Myth of entrepreneurs being more risk taking.
    • Three vital ingredients for the most successful companies. Not focused on productivity or time spent, just ensuring the 3 are met:
      1. Hire the best people
      2. Make sure company doesn’t run out of money
      3. Set the vision and direction
  • Mindset
    • Think in terms of possibilities, not capabilities.
    • Constantly test your assumptions. You don’t know how the market will respond until you test.
    • Progress vs. perfection.
      Execution over consumption.
    • High stakes:
      Little Brian will sit out. Big Brian is up off the bench for this.
    • What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
    • Mental roadblocks / anxiety
      • Journal why you don’t think you can do/achieve X for Y reasons.
      • Why Y? Then journal through explaining why you believe the derivative reasons for that. Keep going.
      • Review all the untested/unproven Y reasons. Disregard them as completely groundless or test them to negate them so you can move forward and take the action.
    • Two things to always cultivate and have as an entrepreneur are confidence and gratitude.
    • Avoid I am or I always inner thoughts. Realize you are fluid and don’t box yourself in some negative state. I am a mean person today, instead of I am a mean person. Avoid these self defeating thoughts.
    • Millionaires read nonfiction and how-to books.
    • Pretend you are coming to yourself asking for advice, as if that person was another employee. Give them the advice and act on it. You only talk to yourself. Yourself doesn’t talk to you.
  • Software / Services
    • Can buy and sell businesses through brokers. This can short circuit the grind up front if you want to be an entrepreneur.
    • 1password is the best for password and security protection.
    • Chris Ducker’s “business of you” is about creating the whole business of you, your interests, and your personality. “Your vibe will attract your tribe.”
    • Ziprecruiter to find employees easily
    • buybizsell.com – buy and sell businesses
      freedcamp.com – free Basecamp / project management
      outsite.com – for travel and “workation” with peers

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