The love affair started about ten years ago. I was flipping through the channels on late night television and stumbled across one of Felix Trinidad’s early fights. He was an amazing athlete full of unwavering determination, brute physicality, and an innate ability for overcoming obstacles. It was no secret that he would often get knocked [...]Continue Reading
Posts Tagged “small business advice”
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.
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.
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, [...]Continue Reading
Reprinted from tensionbreaker.com: How the Recession Affects Sesame Street After its expenses come under increased government oversight, the number 4 pulls its sponsorship. Cookie Monster being replaced by his cousin, Ramen Noodle Monster. Elmo’s World downsized to Elmo’s Corner. Bob finally forced into retirement. Zoe replaced with an orange sock from the Dollar Store. Grover [...]Continue Reading
If you are on a bootstrap marketing budget and looking for do-it-yourself publicity, you need to be on “GARD” for media opportunities that can catapult your brand to the next level. In this video, I explain the “do it yourself” system that has helped me garner media features from such outlets as USA Today, E! [...]Continue Reading
Without a doubt, one of the hottest things in social media networking these days is Twitter. The social media and micro-blogging platform was listed as the fastest growing social media application by Neilson’s Media Service in October 2008 as its popularity grew by 343% last year. The site also received tremendous press last year with [...]Continue Reading
What is an NDA? An NDA is a Non-Disclosure Agreement, also known as a Confidentiality Agreement. It is a contract between individuals and/or companies who are considering doing business together and need to share information about each other’s businesses in order to work together. The NDA creates a protective shield of confidentiality around the relationship, [...]Continue Reading