Nell Merlino, CEO of the nonprofit women business mentoring organization Count Me In, offers five gender-neutral tips to grow your startup.
1.Start with the end in mind: Write down or cut out pictures of what you ultimately see for your business. The more specific you can be, the more likely you will be able to communicate your vision to others so they can help you get there.
2.Set specific, time-sensitive goals; write them down and post them where you can see them. Hone your unique definition of success by determining the actual numbers, dates, dollar amounts or other specific markers you want to achieve. This way, you’ll be able to recognize incremental successes and celebrate when you’ve reached your ultimate goal. Vague goals produce vague results.
3.Expect and listen to resistance: Whenever you try to exchange and grow, you will undoubtedly experience resistance, fear and criticism from other people and from yourself. Anticipate this, listen to the concerns and have a strategy to incorporate the valid ones into your plans.
4.Get more opinions than your own: Confidence is a huge asset, but it doesn’t replace the need to test your ideas and plans with other people. There is great value in seeking advice from people with more experience, less experience, different backgrounds and various dispositions. Trust your instincts and do some market research.
5.See your life as part of a bigger picture: You are rarely the only one in the world who wants the life you want or has the dreams you have. Access the wider world of people with your interests and goals and use this network for support, encouragement and an occasional kick in the pants.
Inventors Digest asked its Facebook fans for business feedback.
The folks at Salient Technologies, Inc. had this to say:
“Know the market.
Know if there will be enough people to buy it.
Keep your product as simple as possible; not everything is a Swiss Army knife.
Nobody cares about your product as much as you do: people won’t chase after it… you have to push it.
Plan ahead with your budget: keep everything from design, tooling, production, sales and marketing in mind.
Keep it secret, keep it safe; patents, NDAs and confidentiality agreements.
Define your goals early: Am I going to license the idea? Am I going to manufacture it myself?
Design so it can be manufactured at an appropriate price point.
Avoid big promise expensive scams.
Go, go, go! The design cycle is shrinking and someone is racing you to the same customer.”
Tim Wakefield Jr. offered this food for thought:
“It’s not all about getting to 100%!
In fact you should strive for 80%-90% complete then work on marketing.
No matter how sure you are about being complete you will always make last-minute adaptations. I always say, ‘Innovate, Develop, Evaluate, Adapt, Succeed!’”