Are you looking for advice on getting your business up and running quickly? Scroll down for expert tips. If you like them, share this on Twitter with the hashtag #30DayChallenge. Got a question for one of the entrepreneurs mentioned below? Skip ahead and leave it in the comments.
Do you have questions about starting a business quickly? Ask an entrepreneur!
A lot of people are looking to get a business started quickly. I got to round up a group of great entrepreneurs who had been there, and get their tips so we could share them with you. I talked with people who have started in 30 days, those who tried, and those who are still in the midst of it! Read on for excellent advice and a few words of warning. And if you’ve got a burning question for them, go ahead and ask it in the comments!
If you’re ready to start your business in 30 days, don’t forget to check out our step by step guide.
1. Avoid making common mistakes and feeling overwhelmed
Advice from Rohan Gilkes, CEO of Wet Shave Club
On common mistakes to avoid:
1. “Skimping on design. Your design will be the first look at your execution.You should be splurging on design, branding, etc., because no single other factor will impact your conversions more than having a good design. Get it designed well, then go from there.
2. Trying to come up with some awesome idea. You do not need an amazingly unique idea. Find something that someone else is already doing, where there is a nice sized market and money is being made. For businesses that need to be started quickly, just go where people are already making money and throw your hat in the ring.
3. Getting overwhelmed by the big picture. What about hiring, taxes, LLCs, operations, scaling? Make $5000 first, then solve each problem in a systematic way. Otherwise you’ll spend money on these things, then realize you’re not making any money in the biz, and end up wasting more time or money in the deal.
4. Being hindered by information gathering. Demographic research, industry surveys, market size data, competitive analysis; the list goes on. Don’t try to convince yourself that the idea isn’t feasible and use it as an excuse to push the real action further into the future. Build, launch, learn, repeat, fail, repeat, win! This is the way to approach business, not getting caught up in over-analysis.”
Advice from James Griffith, Co-founder of Mous
“Phone accessories is an industry which operates at light speed. You have to keep up with innovation from the leading phone brands, have to second guess what they might do next and normally you end up designing a phone case for a phone you haven’t even seen yet! Instead dragging out the process of corporate life in the daytime and flexible startup in the evening, we have decide to make the jump early. Three weeks ago we left our full time jobs to attempt to launch a business in 30 days. A true zero to hero, from prototype to building a brand, funds, manufacturing line, the lot. It doesn’t look like we will manage 30 days, probably more like 45 days. But we’ve learned so much in this process!
Begin with the end in mind or risk being side tracked, wasting time and money. From day one invest time to think and create a clear vision, purpose, business values, and brand personality. You will be able to refer back to this when making tough decisions and it will keep you moving in the right direction.
Everything takes longer than you think. Factor in issues, delays and people letting you down. The main reason we failed to launch in 30 days is we were too optimistic on how many trials are needed to get samples right. Knowing your critical path will avoid these surprises and will allow you to sleep at night.
Social media can supercharge your launch. We like many businesses are lucky enough to have some early supporters. Our favorite tool is Thunderclap. It allows your supporters to pledge to their social media accounts following your launch date. That way, all of your supporters tweets, Facebook shares, and Tumblr posts are sent out at one time, on launch.
You can’t do everything. Yes, you might be a boot strapping entrepreneur but you haven’t got months to launch. Just ask people for help. Use Twitter and Linkedin to reach out to experts. Be specific with your issue, and you will be surprised how many people help.”
3. Don’t wait to create the perfect product
Advice from Samantha Strom, Co-founder of Hazel Lane
“Trust your gut and then trust the data. The biggest piece of advice I can say is to be brave and just dive into the business. Launch before the product is perfectly fine! I came up with the idea for Hazel Lane in November 2013 and we launched our first box in December (with subscribers and everything!), which in hindsight is pretty rad.
I consider business an art and true art is never completed, so you will continue to tweak as long as you run the business. It’s the blessing and curse of the entrepreneur. Get a technical co-founder. Every Jobs needs his/her Woz and it will make your life 1000x easier. The toughest part is that my cofounder and I are non-technical co-founders. We are on our 4th iteration of a website right now.
Connecting with other entrepreneurs is key, that old adage “You are the five people you surround yourself with” couldn’t be more true in starting a business fast. People are either going to support you or distract you and it’s up to you to spend your time and energy wisely.Oh and LOTS of Philz and Coava coffee always helps too!”
Advice from Ann Rea, Painter
“What I did do was to define a SMARTER goal. I learned this planning skill during the days I dwelt in a corporate cubicle and it came in very handy.
What is a SMARTER goal? Here’s how I define the acronym:
- M=Measurable. It’s easy to measure when it is done or not.
- A=Actionable. You can get moving on it today, not after you have completed something else.
- R=Result. Reaching the goal yields the result you are after.
- T=Time bound. The date by when the goal will be accomplished.
- E=Evaluate. It’s good to review your goal and determine if it is still SMART.
- R=Revise. Revise if it’s not so SMART.
I outlined all of the milestones that I needed to complete in order to reach my SMARTER goal, such as: launch a website, gather a list of prospects, craft a pitch. Then I put each milestone in a chronological sequence and knocked them down, one by one.
Before I went to bed each night I would write down six bite-sized action steps that I aimed to complete the next day. I arranged them on my calendar in order of their priority.
First thing each morning, I knew exactly what I would sink my teeth into. I focused on the first action step, completed it, then I moved on to the next. Sometimes I completed all six tasks, sometimes I didn’t. Even if I did not complete each task, at least I was focused on my priority.
Define a SMARTER goal and take daily focused action.”
Advice from Andy Karuza, Co-founder and CMO of SpotSurvey
“We did a startup weekend [with our new company, SpotSurvey] about six months ago, but didn’t do anything with it after. We then rebuilt it and added a ton of new features/opened a business within less than 30 days. Here’s my advice: Get a good team. Without a good team, you’re only as good as the slowest person, especially in software development. Whether it’s this business or the next, always make a serious effort to be recruiting the best people you can possibly have on your team.”
Advice from Andrew Thomas, Co-founder of SkyBell
“Software might be doable, but I’d caution against a 30-day timeframe for anything hardware related. We raised $585,000 in pre-sale by launching a 35 day crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo. We shipped our product four months later, a timeline unheard of in hardware/crowdfunding. If you want to launch quick, you must have your development plans and partners locked down. I also recommend launching on Indiegogo. The fact that you can get funding, market validation, and customers in 30 days in incredible.”
Advice from Michelle Smith, Co-founder of The Vintage Vaporium
“My business partner and I opened a vape shop/e-cigarette store, The Vintage Vaporium, on May 1st of this year. We got our business license in mid-April and opened three weeks later. We literally immediately got in the car and drove to the Secretary of State’s office and formed an LLC and went back to work that afternoon.
While continuing to work full time as an employment case manager in a homeless shelter, I wrote a business plan, contacted every vendor I could find on the internet, secured insurance, found a credit card processor, and we went to work on the storefront, which had been used as a skate shop by the previous tenant. I worked at least five hours a night after I got home, and the entire weekend. Most evenings I got to bed around 2 a.m. and woke up at 7:00. I looked into getting help with a Small Business Administration loan through an organization in our state, but they will not even entertain any sort of loan for an e-cigarette business. Our funding ended up coming out of my business partner’s kitchen remodel fund.”
Words of advice:
“Ask yourself: Are you the sort of person who can work 18-hour days? Can you put everything on hold? Your family, your hobbies, having fun? Because you will have to. Can you do a lot of research quickly, sift through all that information, and make fast decisions? Are you working with people who you trust to make decisions without your input? Can you say the same about yourself? You will have to decide on a course and let any second-guessing go.
Take a day to do your research and get your business plan written. Do not do anything but working that business plan until it’s done.
Our Chamber of Commerce president called a friend who wrote a newspaper article on us. Find someone like this—joining business organizations are a must.
Accept what compromises you have to make, make do with less, and open with what you have. Just jumping straight in will get you closer to what you’ve imagined, but over-planning and doing nothing will not.
You will feel overwhelmed. You will second-guess yourself. You will feel as much fear as excitement. Just plow through it. Be smart, do your research, and ask everyone you know for more information, and make it happen. Like I said, doing nothing gets you nowhere closer to what you want.”
Have a question for one of these entrepreneurs? Ask it in the comments below!