Having a website is the best way to start. However, there are a ton of other ways to reach more of your target audience online. This means you will need to get social with your business. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media networks can give you 24/7 access to potential customers, since they have smartphones in their pockets or near them at all times. This is unprecedented. You will need to know where your target audience is hanging out online though. For instance, if your focus is B2B, LinkedIn and Twitter are obvious social media channels to market on. Facebook is always good, since they have great ad focus that is very affordable.
Bobby is the CEO of Loka, a mobile app development company located in Silicon Valley. He previously started and sold two other companies in the technology space. He knows a thing or two about what it takes to build and sell a profitable business, and here’s his best business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “The biggest mistake first-time entrepreneurs make is being deathly afraid that someone will steal their secret idea. Spoiler alert: Ideas are worthless.” “It’s the execution beyond the idea that really brings home the gold. So focus on getting out there and meeting as many folks as possible to join your team, give you feedback and point you in the right direction. Any successful entrepreneurial journey is the sum total of a rather large (and under-appreciated) team that came together in a magical way. Get cracking on building yours.”
Jason helps entrepreneurs connect with influencers and experts to rapidly grow their business together at TheStoryTellerMarketer. He also co-hosts the Content Promotion Summit and teaches other entrepreneurs how to get more out of the content they create every day. Here’s what Jason has to share with aspiring entrepreneurs who need some business advice before they start a business: “The most painful mistake I see first-time entrepreneurs make is that they don’t count the cost or figure out how they’ll actually make money ahead of time. Since entrepreneurs don’t create a business as a ‘charitable deed to mankind,’ they need to think about where their revenue and profit will be once the business scales.” “For example, when I launched the Content Promotion Summit with my partner Cody Lister, we started off by focusing on three things. What the costs would be, how much money we’d potentially make and what the key levers for generating more sales (traffic, email opt-ins, and affiliate partners) would be. This gave us key insights into whether or not the business would be worth investing into before we launched. It may surprise you, but by using Noah Kagan’s quant-based marketing system and asking a few friends for benchmark numbers, it wasn’t difficult to get an estimate. In fact, our numbers were only 7% off from our main target.”
Once you have all the business basics covered and your online presence is in place, it’s time to do some paperwork. You will first need to set up a business entity by registering your business in your state as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Corporation (Inc.). Then you will need to get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Once you have your business registered via the state and federal government, it’s time to get your banking set up. You can do this at your local bank, preferably where you have your personal accounts. It makes the process a lot easier.
Value is the holy grail of every successful business in 2020. Now more than ever, customers are interested in the value that your product or service creates for them. Top-tier businesses have moved away from making a simple sales pitch to building proper value propositions for their customers. More and more successful entrepreneurs are really creating value for their customers, rather than just trying to sell to them. Selling just doesn’t make the cut. Creating value is the focal point of this list of entrepreneur advice in 2020. Create value for your customers, because if you don’t, eventually you won’t have a business. Now, with that said, how do you do it? How do you create value for customers? Here is how:
Eliminate distractions. Digital distractions are prevalent, and they hurt our productivity. With increased social interaction through digital media, a lot of people can barely concentrate on the task at hand. Consequently, they settle on getting the job done just well enough to get by. This is your average person. However, for world-renowned entrepreneurs, excellence is non-negotiable. Every passing moment of their lives is dedicated to working at the highest level of productivity to deliver exceptional results for their customers. This is the secret of the top 5% in every industry. Building focus will allow you to master your space and your craft. Focus will help you to know the ins and outs of your trade like a guru. When you make focus your close ally, you will rise to be an authority in your industry. Focus will help you get tasks done faster in a shorter amount of time, and achieve efficiency in your operations. While talking about the value of focus, we cannot avoid the elephant in the room: multitasking. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t help you achieve your best. It will only allow you to get more done but often at substandard levels. Multitasking makes you shift your focus on different tasks leaving you drained, and therefore you won’t be able to perform at your optimum. Focus, on the other hand, allows you to give your very best in each project, and therefore produce phenomenal results. With proper focus, you can elevate your business to the top 5%.
Matt is the CEO and co-founder of Case Escape. After receiving his MBA from Chapman University at age 23, Matt started his first business in California (which we started together back in 2013) and has since grown it into a worldwide business with over 100 clients and counting. Case Escape was founded with the goal of helping 1,000 entrepreneurs start their own phone case business. Here’s his best business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “Many times, I see first-time entrepreneurs start their businesses without really understanding the total scope of work that’s going to be required. This could relate to the overall investment that’s necessary, the detail in your plan of action, or most importantly, personal capabilities and time.” “While entrepreneurship is a continuous learning process, there still needs to be a solid foundation in order to grow the company. The amount of money you initially invest may not even be a fraction of the total amount needed, when accounting for mistakes and unforeseen events along the way. It’s difficult to balance a lean environment with needing the online business tools to truly succeed. You don’t want to find yourself in a bind where you can’t hire the talent necessary to complete task the right way, and you definitely will not have the time to learn everything yourself.” “My advice is to plan for a solid buffer with your cash flow, create checks and balances to keep that plan in line, and surround yourself with individuals that will free up your time and resources.”
Jim is the Founder and CEO of Owler, a crowdsourced competitive intelligence platform. Prior to Owler, Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $175 million. Before his career in technology, Jim was owner and operator of Lookout Pass, a ski resort in Idaho, and served in the U.S. Navy as a diving and salvage officer. He’s seriously the man. Here’s Jim’s business advice to first-time entrepreneur who want to start a business: “The number one problem that most entrepreneurs make is being overly optimistic, which often leads to them running out of cash or being cash strapped. Money problems can be seen from a mile away.” “Entrepreneurs have to be optimistic realists, which allows them to make tough choices ahead of any cash problems. I learned this as a young entrepreneur when running a small ski lodge in Idaho. Overly optimistic, I ran my business based on the best case scenario, and in turn lived in constant and mortal fear of missing payroll or delaying payments to vendors. I’ve since learned to operate with optimistic realism. And have run subsequent organizations by the metrics with clear guard rails in place.”
Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain, which has helped venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies grow their revenues. He’s also the founder of the marketing podcast, Growth Everywhere and does a daily podcast called Marketing School with Neil Patel. Here’s Eric’s best business advice for getting started today: “For any business owner it is crucial to define processes behind every goal and KPI. Success is the continued refinement of these processes until results start to show.” “Entrepreneurship requires continued learning and if you’re not constantly learning and testing new things, then eventually your competitors will take the lead. The trick is to quickly access new tactics and incorporate those that work to enhance your business goals.” “Networking is the other main thing I see many new entrepreneur ignoring. Talking to the right person can be 100x more beneficial than some course or tactic alone.”
The most popular way of offering something for free is the ‘Freemium’ business model. With Freemium, companies offer a small part of their offering for free, while while users will have to pay for an (often very useful) upgrade. Freemium is particularly well-known in mobile apps, where you get a simple version of the app for free. After paying for the app, the user unlocks a version without ads or with additional functions. But freemium is much more pervasive than just mobile games. Consider Spotify, that allows free (non-premium) users to play music as long as they keep listening to advertisements. Reasons to go Premium at Spotify The idea of Freemium then, is to get free users of your product. Over time, the goal is to convert a percentage of those users into paying users of the same product. Freemium works because because you lower the barrier for first-time users. In terms of payment, there is no such barrier. Because you remove this barrier, you gain a large potential customer base. You are direct into contact with this customer base, and you could convert these into paying users down the line. Supposing you have some basic marketing set up and you get a new influx of free users every day. In this case, your focus can shift from marketing your product to people unknown with it, to marketing your product to free users and trying to convert these. Interestingly, the benefit of freemium doesn’t only come from converting free users. Although that may be your main source of revenue, free users can also refer others. According to Harvard Business Review, a free user generally is worth 15-25% of a premium subscriber. A part of that worth comes from referring other people to the product. In this sense, even catering to free users will be beneficial for your bottom line in the long-run.