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  • How To Start Your Start

    Are you willing to do this for your dream?

    I’ve been Starting My Start for over seven years now, with our specialized offering  to the business community, Upstart, Business and Management for 20-40 Year Olds , and I found out what not to do more than what is effective, which was humbling, but educational. There are some elements worth discussing, which should help any person considering building a business on their own.

    Here’s what I learned:

    Who are You – Are you up for this? The work, the hours, the failure, the rejection – because to Start Your Start, you will get overwhelmed and depressed with how much there is to do, with how much has not been done yet – with how far you are away from your ultimate goal, yet you will need to fight through to the next moment and the next, until you “breakthrough.” Are you willing to do this for your dream?

    Don’t sit there thinking you’re the only person doing what you’re doing or thinking about doing it; there are many people thinking the very same thing, at exactly the same time – it’s only the person, who dares to stop dreaming and start doing – he/she is the person that has enough naiveté, enough folly – enough disruption to what makes them comfortable – enough belief to “Make it Happen.” Is that you?

    Vision – See where you are going and clarify your motivation for wanting to get there. It’s rare when one entrepreneur can do all things alone, so it will be necessary to connect your vision to those you want to employ, those with financial resources and your potential partners. The vision should be incredibly ambitious, yet still have pragmatic means for achieving.

    Believe – It’s your dream, don’t expect others to see your dream as you do. If you can’t create excitement within yourself – you won’t be able to persuade others to support your initiatives.

    Talent – Find talent that feels what you feel about your proposition; don’t just get famous or cheap partners or employees — seek value – find the people, who want the business to happen almost as much as you do. Find those people, who are relentless in their pursuit of milestones and goals. Also, look for diversity in talent – if all your talent is creative-leaning, you will have a blind spot within operations. Diversity in thought and talent will look at ideation and process development through eclectic frames, which should help your enterprise find the best path forward.

    Operations – Strategize; create a roadmap of how to achieve your goals. Execute; find the tactics to complement and complete the roadmap. Identify core and peripheral audiences, the risks and the costs. Create a real-time SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and metric platform. Connect your employees to the goals, the mission and the vision – personalize performance.

    Performance – Identify the milestones you want to reach, when you want to reach them – the resources necessary, and how you measure up to your own objectives and to your competitors – where are you making inroads, where do you need to adjust – what does your performance tell you about the next 15-30 days – what does it tell you about the year ahead?

    Differentiate – Create a Unique Selling Proposition; what will be different about your offering from the rest of those already within market – how will your communications and customer service be different – what will be customers/users testimony, which separates your products or services  — how will you deliver this differentiation consistently?

    Know the Numbers – If you are like me, creative and somewhat capricious – then you hate financials, but there is no business without the business side of the business. If you are not clear and present about your financials, you have no business – whomever knows the numbers and how they relate to costs, revenues, margins, taxes and net issues – that’s the person who owns the business. Don’t “create” yourself out of owning your own business! (Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs, by Karen Berman and Joe Knight) good numbers book to start out.

    Repurpose – If you think it, it’s already been done. Stop wasting time creating something that already exists – your job is to personalize that thing you are offering to fit your audience. Yes, we have already been to the moon – your job is to get a social media site for regular people who want to go to the moon. Don’t invent – repurpose and make something already invented – original again.

    Look Around the Corner – See the future before it arrives; the first to the opportunity, to the IPO, to the information is always the winner – the one slow to evolve is always dead on arrival. Engage in futurity (sound principles, ethics and performance), not in foolishness (pets.com) – enough said.

    Still Believe – As the business moves forward, you will get your ass kicked up and down and all around, even as things start to get better; you will lose money, lose great people and deals will fall through, hang in there, dust yourself off, refocus and keep fighting. Stay focused – there will be people and circumstances that you think should support you, who will not offer that very support, and others not aligned with your vision, who will surprisingly become accoutrements to your success. Calm is your armor – stay focused, resolute and WIN.

    Evaluation – What have you learned and why did that happen. How did this information help your company and what adjustments do you need to make to do whatever you’re doing more effectively, with less cost? Should you measure every day, once a week, once a month etc ; whatever you do, your performance, the financials and the evaluation should tell an immediate and comprehensive story – if not – change your evaluation formula.

    Fun – You’re on your way. It’s great to be your own man (or woman), and to be autonomous. Remember that if you make it, it will be yours. Lofts and Maserati’s are not had by 9-to-5ers. Remember to have parties and events, recognize employees and get out in the community you serve – you are the most direct reflection of your firm  — if you look like you’re having fun – you become attractive to potential customers, financiers and partners.

    Repeat – When you complete my list, repeat them again, and this time “Breakthrough.”

    See you soon – best to you and your endeavor.

    Calvin Wilson Founder/CEO, Upstart                                                                                                                                                                                                          calvin.wilson1@verizon.net                                                                                                                                                                                                           www.upstartnation.biz



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