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Archive for “Get Inspired”

How to Conquer Your Business Startup Fears with Mind Mapping

Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, and financial competency. The dreaded, “what if I can’t do it?” question creeps into our daily thoughts. We start reasoning that it might be better to “just wait another year.”

These fears are extremely common and unfortunately well founded. Reports show that as much as 50% of all new start-ups fail within the first year. That is not exactly encouraging odds. However, we all have a choice when it comes to creating our destiny. We can use statistics like these to confirm our business’s certain death, or gain confidence from the fact that you could be part of the 50% that become a success. In the famous words of Zig Ziglar, you just have to eliminate your “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”.

One of the tools I use to overcome my fears is mind mapping. It’s a terrific tool that can help you isolate the source of your fears, bring much needed perspective, and help brainstorm solutions to your sticking points. There are several “mind mapping” tools out there and many are free to use. I prefer to use the tool by Wisemapping since it’s free, allows me to add notes and web links, and I can publish or share the completed map.

To demonstrate my fear mind mapping strategy, I’ve created an example below.

Startup Fear Mindmap

First, I outline my top fears associated with starting the business. I then brainstorm how I can overcome those fears. My final step will be answering those questions. My goal is to find a positive solution to each of the questions I’ve asked. For example, for the question, “Can I reduce my startup costs with outsourcing?” I would research potential manufacturing possibilities until I could answer the question with a “yes.” If I can’t find a way, I then brainstorm ways to overcome the obstacle. A “no” isn’t necessarily bad, it just means you need to tweak your business plan to compensate for this reality. Try to be as thorough and honest as possible with your mind map. The goal is to solve your sticking points on paper before you’ve invested your time and money. I use this tool regularly for many of my business decisions including product launches, partnership agreements, and even potential marketing opportunities.

It’s amazing what this simple exercise can do for your confidence level. You are no longer living in fear of the unknown. Instead, you are on a mission with a powerful road map to your business’s success.

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Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, [...]

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Experience Businesses: Sarah’s Smash Shack

If you position it right, you can market anything — especially if it aligns with a core human need. In this case,  Sarah’s Smash Shack was conceived to relieve people who are stressed-out. Could the timing be any more appropriate? Customers in San Diego can choose fragile tableware from the Smash Shack Menu—for example a [...]

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My comments on CNN this past weekend

Here’s a transcript of my comments on CNN’s Your $$$$ this weekend. Thought you might enjoy… ALI VELSHI: Businesses start up with in these economies, and by the way consumption we were over consumers and that’s going to change, but we do remain consumers. People do buy things. CHRISTINE ROMANS: That’s right. VELSHI: Richard Sloan [...]

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Friendly Advice From George Will

3 Pieces of Life Advice from George Will on this week’s Roundtable Don’t play poker with a man named Slim. Don’t buy a Rolex from a guy out of breath. Don’t take advice from someone who is screaming.* *context: he was referring to the panic being felt on Wall Street. What life advice do you [...]

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Using Severence Pay to Start It Up

This post is simple: A reporter for one of the top 3 news sites in the world contacted me. She interviewed me already, but has now asked that I inquire within the StartupNation community as to whether any of you have used severence pay to start a business. She’s looking for a lead person to feature [...]

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Practical Advice from Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp

My team visited Scottsdale, Arizona last week as exhibitor and sponsor of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Boot Camp.  We had a chance to sit down with organizer, Susan Ratliff, and discussed key marketing tips and business tactics for beating the recession in 2009 and I thought I’d share some of her insights. Susan happens to be [...]

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“Working on a Dream” – new anthem for entrepreneurs?

We entrepreneurs are a passionate lot. We’re all driven, each working on transforming our dreams into reality. That’s why I propose that we StartupNation members officially make a song from Bruce Springsteen’s latest album – blasted out to the world during halftime at the Super Bowl yesterday - the new anthem for entrepreneurs: “Working on a Dream”. [...]

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StartupNation.com, 2008 Summary by the Numbers

Thought I’d share some internal information about StartupNation and its performance as derived from Google Analytics over the year gone by. I figured, you, our coveted members and new visitors, deserve complete transparency. So here goes, in the form of a 2008 vs. 2007 comparison: 2008 vs. 2007, and % change     1) Number of Visits: [...]

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Laid Off? Do This to Run Your Own Business

You just got fired for the last time. Now you’re in charge of the hiring / firing policy. Why? Because you are starting your own business… FINALLY.   To hang the “BOSS” sign on your door, here are 5 quick tips:   1)      Play to Your Passion: Figure out what turns you on – if [...]

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2009 Looms Big for Entrepreneurs

My prediction? Some of the most exciting businesses of the next few years are going to be born in 2009 and grown from 2008 toil. It’s my strong view that the economic duress we’re all under as entrepreneurs is going to make us smarter, scrappier, more effective and ultimately far more successful. To help you [...]

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The Capitalization of Community

Late last year (as if it was so long ago) I attended a keynote presentation featuring Larry Brilliant of Google.org and Malcolm Gladwell author of The Tipping Point. Larry Brilliant shared his inspirational story of leading the first organization of doctors to rid the world of smallpox and how it eventually lead him to his [...]

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Best Advice I Can Give You

Wondering if now is the time for you to start up? Intimidated by all the complexity and confused by the possible options at hand? Here’s my simple advice today: Start taking steps, even baby steps, but just start…

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This Year, It’s Turkey Tandoori-Style

Well folks, next week is my favorite holiday. I love the family time, I love the non-material/inclusive nature of the holiday, and of course, I love the food. But there’s one thing I love more: Inspiring people to start and grow successful businesses. That’s why I passionately accepted an invitation from Franchise India, Asia’s largest [...]

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Good Idea- Monday Morning Memoir 11/10/2008

When you’re running a business you never have a minute to just think.  “Focus time” helps to just unwind those thoughts and get in touch with the answers.  Once a week I turn off the office phone, my cell phone, close the door and place an appoitnment in my calander called “focus time”.  I try to only do [...]

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Stella’s Startup Cycle

I have found that inventing, starting a business up, and other entrepreneurially thingies follow the same emotional pattern as your first roller coaster ride. Step 1: I’m so excited I could just pee. This is when you size up the ride. You’re caught in the moment considering the immense possibilities of your idea. The dizzying heights and [...]

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An Entrepreneur’s Day Out or Why I Shop Alone

Entrepreneurs are different, that’s a common theme on Startup Nation. We work differently. We think differently. And, by the looks of my Startup Nation profile pic, we dress and wear our hair differently. But, maybe that’s just me. A case in point: I went shopping with my friends. They’re your average corporate hard-charging, salary-seeking, bonus-pimping 40-hour-a-weekers. [...]

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Economy Got You Down? 9 Things to Do NOW

With the non-stop news reports of Wallstreet’s record losses, the rising unemployment rate, and the dismal forecasts for holiday spending, it’s easy to become paralyzed with fear of the unknown.  While there may be several factors effecting the economy and markets today that are out of our control, there are plenty of things that we [...]

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