Jan is the CEO at Paymo, an online project management solution for small businesses looking to take away the pain of planning, scheduling, task management, time tracking, and invoicing. When asked to share his best business advice for new entrepreneurs, Jan shares: “Focus all your energy toward one big objective. Try to become a laser, avoid being a stroboscope.” “As an entrepreneur, your customers and your team rely on you to deliver. Try to harness your team’s energy towards your vision and do everything you can to avoid being distracted. A lot of businesses fail once the vision becomes blurry.”
Lauren is a full-stack marketer who’s been featured on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, The Muse and more. You can find her on Twitter, Medium, or you can subscribe to her email newsletter. Here’s her business advice for millennials who want to start a business for the first time: “The biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make is banking on an idea that isn’t valuable to anyone with actual, real-world problems.” “You read about this new social media tool or this new game or social app. And it’s like: What happened to solving REAL, big, hairy problems as opposed to helping privileged kids send pictures that explode in a day (sorry, Snapchat – first example I thought of)?” “My advice is to spend time with people who are different than you. This will open up your mind to different people and different problems, allowing you to connect the dots faster and make a real contribution to the world, as opposed to just being the next Mark Zuck.”
Now that your business’ foundation is securely in place, it’s time to get marketing. With the right marketing campaigns, you can easily attract new people to your website and convert them. This is when a sales funnel comes in handy. For instance, you can use Facebook ads to create awareness about your business, products, and/or services. Next, have great call to actions and information on your website for the evaluation stage. And finally convert with a remarketing email campaign. Sales funnels can be very different, it just depends on what marketing strategy works best for your business.
Cody is the founder of MarketDoc where he helps marketers, business owners, solopreneurs and bloggers get more customers from smarter content marketing. He’s also a co-host of the Content Promotion Summit. Here’s his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Many first-time entrepreneurs don’t follow the Customer Development Model (the Steve Blank school of thought). They won’t presell their product. They avoid surveying their market, meeting or calling people from their target audience before they pony up substantial money and time building a product.” “In other words, too often first-timers build a product behind closed doors and don’t get the feedback necessary to ensure they get buy in for their idea. As a result, they don’t reach product-market fit and end up building a product that fails or succeeds by mere chance, not by calculated steps.” “I recommend that first-time entrepreneurs take this as a real wake up call to avoid making excuses for not getting meaningful product validation before spending resources on development. You need at least 95% confidence that the thing you’re working on will be predisposed to some initial success. There are too many other factors out there working against you when you’re first starting out and are tight on resources that make the road of entrepreneurship hard enough as-is. Don’t make it more difficult for yourself by building a bunch of features no one really wants to pay for.” “Avoid the common mistake of aiming to be the next Facebook. Achieve product-market fit by focusing on building one core feature better than the competition and make sure that feature solves a big pain point for your audience. Don’t get lost in creating a bunch of features off-the-bat.” “Keep your first product extremely barebones. Get clear product validation from your target customer before you spend any time or money building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Start small. Invest more resources in product development as you generate enough operating income to cover your ongoing research and development expenses. Hold off on executing your product roadmap before you have enough consistent sales revenue to support that vision.” As a fellow freelance content marketer myself who’s spent years building out content marketing strategies for my clients, I highly recommend Cody’s epic new online course and educational platform, Content Marketing School.
Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of making a product without having established a customer base. If you have a product that no one needs, you’ll be out of business pronto. Customers are the lifeblood of your company. Before creating a product, conduct market research, and understand what the market needs. This will help you to create a product that solves your customer’s needs. Always listen to what your customers are saying. Studies have proven the existence of a considerable delivery gap between companies and customers. In other words, there is a gap between what customers expect, and what companies think their customers want. Product user testing is essential in determining the direction of your research and the development of your company. Listening to your customer’s feedback will allow you to make improvements that are needed. This way, you will win over new customers and create and grow a loyal customer base. In addition, listening to your customer’s needs goes a long way in boosting customer advocacy.
5 How to Cope with a Cash Crisis 5 Learning to Cope with a Money Emergency 7 Increase your Cash Flow without Going Further into Debt 9 Start to Build your Emergency Fund 10 Say Good-bye to Credit Cards 11 Painless Ways to Find Money in an Emergency 13 Every Day Ways to Save Money in an Emergency 17 More Creative Ways to Save Money 20 Thrifty Ways to Save Money 24 Even You can Save on a Shoestring 24 Are You Ready to Start a Good Savings Plan? 27 Smart Tips for Living on a Budget 30 Tips to Help you Save 31 7 Serious Ways to Help you Save 32 More Serious Savings Strategies 34 Make Small Cuts for Huge Savings 37 Emergency Money Strategy while Dealing wth Debt, Financial Stress & Family 38 Quick Cash Fixes 39 A Few Timely Lessons in Simple Living 41 How to Save Money on Gas 43 Simpler Solutions for Managing your Money
Nick is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Killer Infographics, a Seattle-based leader in visual communications and the design of infographics, motion graphics, and interactive infographics. Here’s the business advice Nick has to share with new entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own: “One of the most painful mistakes I see way too frequently is when entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of a robust marketing and sales strategy for their fledgling business.” “Many new CEOs are hyper-focused on making their MVP, but they don’t really have a long-term vision for how to make their companies profitable. I would recommend designating marketing and sales as a day-one priority. This will help your business earn fans before the MVP ships and ensures that what you create is truly something that a customer will want to pay for.”
Freemium can also mean temporarily free. Many software products provide a free version of their product for a specific amount of time. After this time runs out, you have to pay. Netflix is a good example, which used to offer a month-long free trial. It’s like giving out a sample of your product. Users can ‘taste’ it, and then decide to buy or stop using the service altogether. Compared to freemium, putting a time restriction on free use has several benefits. First, you don’t have to maintain two separate versions of the product. You simply do your best to offer the best product as possible; you do not need a toned-down version of the main product — or one in which ads are served. Second, because you only have one product, trial users know exactly what to expect. They will not be as demanding as freemium users. Freemium users may feel entitled to certain new functionalities or support when something goes wrong. This is the reason that companies like MailChimp have a strict ‘no support’ policy for users who do not pay for their service. In contrast, trial users will get all functionalities of a product, and know that they get this for a limited time. In that sense, they know what to expect and feel less entitled. As such, they require less service and support than freemium users.
Tim is a New York Times best-selling author of three books, including the The 4-Hour Workweek. He’s also an investor, host of what’s usually the #1-ranked business podcast and an entrepreneur in his own rite. Today, he’s passing on the best business advice he’s received: “The best advice I’ve ever received is that you’re the average of the 5 people you associate with most.” “I’ve actually heard this from more than one person, including bestselling authors, Drew Houston of Dropbox, and many others who are icons of Silicon Valley. It’s something I re-read every morning. It’s also said that ‘your network is your net worth.’ These two work well together.”
Time is constant, but your energy is not. We tend to have more energy when we wake up. By the end of the day, we are pretty much burnt out. In order to achieve higher levels of productivity, it’s essential to watch how your energy fluctuates throughout the day. Schedule your most taxing tasks for when you have the most energy, for when you can think more clearly and objectively. When you are down to the last ounce of mental energy, it’s time to do more routine tasks that require little energy.