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Posts Tagged “business startup”

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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To move forward, work backward

Have you ever heard someone say, “let’s do a work back”? I met with a techie recently who was talking about how he approaches creating a great website. He said, “My preferred strategy is to write out the wish list and then do a work back plan." He was referring to the same concept that [...]

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Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored…

Stepped into a cafe in Silicon Valley on the patio of a large office building – it was one of those spots with the healthy salads on the menu and all the blue-jeaned techies taking a breather in the perfect sunshine. It's hard not to imagine, as you look at each face, what important, groundbreaking new [...]

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How to REALLY make money with your eBay business

After speaking at eBay’s annual convention and training event eBay Live last June, one thing became very clear to me… So many eBay sellers had blinders on when it came to what was really going on with their eBay business. As an entrepreneur selling on eBay, you tend to have this deep urge to see [...]

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Flexibility

Penelope took a break from her desk today and went outside to let her dog get some fresh air. While she was outside, I snapped this picture of her stretching, with the Absaroka Beartooth wilderness in the background. It reminded me that in a high-growth company, flexibility is essential. Everybody needs to be willing to [...]

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Is this the golden age for entrepeneurs?

We have a lot of philosophies about entrepreneurship and small business here at StartupNation. One of them you will hear us mention often on the radio show or at live appearances is that "this is the golden age of entrepreneurship". And essentially what we mean by this is that there has never been a better [...]

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Small businesses can learn from Netflix and Blockbuster

Suzanne and I gave each other a Christmas gift this year that we’re really excited about – a Netflix subscription. Friends have been touting the internet based movie rental service for a few years and we finally cut the ties with our local video store and signed up. It seems like it will really work [...]

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Planning to Write Your Business Plan

My new company’s business plan went from beta to final release today. I’m very proud of the final product, and am excited to circle back to to prospective investors. In my opinion, Jeff and Rich have written the definitive "how-to" on business plan authorship. But how do you plan to write a business plan? I [...]

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What’s OUT! What’s IN! The ‘Wayne Gretzky’ Small Business Trend Spotting Strategy

Out: heal-hurting leather-soled dress shoes Out: Clothes Out: Web 1.0 In: run-through-the-airport rubber-soled dress shoes In: Working from a home office via computer In: Web 2.0 Out: Tanning beds Out: Thinking out of the box Out: business devices with a cord (including white cords) In: Healthy tanning……….Sunless tanning, spray or lotion! In: Not allowing yourself [...]

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Does your business plan include blue jeans?

It’s often quite fascinating to see how the mind of an entrepreneur jumps from one thought to another. Readers of this blog are familiar with how typical everyday events are the supporting content for what ends up written here. Today I was reading an article in the Washington Post about Yahoo search running on all [...]

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Cool Company of the Day: Turn Your Head

To coin a phrase, everything old is cool again, and it took a woodworker who thought just like that to come up with our cool company of the day. Tom Bashara started his Colorado Springs-based e-tail business, Turn Your Head, in 2004 after thinking up a unique way to preserve his little girls’ faces as [...]

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Infosys Technologies entrepreneur sticks to his own rules

There are many things to be impressed about by people who start and grow their own business. There is a unique success story in the news today about the co-founder of Infosys Technologies, India’s powerfully successful Consulting and IT Services company. N.R. Narayana Murthy, the entrepreneur who says he starts every day by cleaning the [...]

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Startup attitude: Act like a winner

• Confidence • Boldness • Strut These are contagious qualities. Your customers will pick up on it. Your team will rise to it. Your competition will notice it. When you start acting like you belong, you do belong. One of the ways that entrepreneurs can gather this confident bold strut is to practice and hang [...]

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Cool Company of the Day: ManageYourCellar.com

We love red wine – a lot. It’s partly the flavor, partly the infinite variety and nuances of taste, partly knowing the work and thinking that goes into that taste, partly the history and concept of it, and partly it’s that it’s supposedly healthy for you in good measure. But remembering your favorites, storing the [...]

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Inspiration

My mom died exactly 4 years ago today. She is the sweetest lady I have ever known. Now, after four years, I can think about her and not remember so much the 4-year cancer battle or the way her body failed her those last months. I remember her vibrant, smiling, lovely countenance. My mom, the [...]

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Why more people will start up

Have you read the most recent BLS report? If you’re like most people, you don’t even know what a BLS report is! BLS stands for "Bureau of Labor Statistics," and this government office puts out a quarterly report on trends in labor in the U.S. The big news from this quarter’s report isn’t the expected [...]

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Careful if you’re seated next to a Sloan brother!

We were on a bunch of flights last week on our book tour, Everywhere we went, we asked people if they’ve got a good idea for a business. Pretty much EVERYONE said, “yes.” But they also hemmed and hawed and gave all sorts of reasons why they either “won’t” start up, “would have, but…”, “can’t”, [...]

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