Growth

16 06 2012

Growing a business takes time. You may come in with a great idea and expect the whole world to immediately jump on board. Don’t be discouraged when things do not go how you expect. Believe in your product and keep working with it. Growing my website has been one grueling process. My plan was to launch a new version of the website in all the cities around my county within a year. The year is up and I am just now launching into my second location. This, however, does not mean my company has not been a success. To grow it takes money and to get money, you need to prove your business.

I launched my first site absolutely free and still some people were hesitant to jump on board. I thought this would be a quick way to get my name out their and get people interested in helping launch Town My Way into another location. I have spent the last year networking like crazy, marketing my product, and reaching out to new businesses even though I knew I wouldn’t make money from that. The hard work has paid off because now I am starting to grow and will be able to launch in a new area.

Be patient and don’t be afraid to work. Starting a business takes hard work and a lot of people won’t see the value in your product at first. It can get easier. Once people recognize your product and brand, it will be a much easier sell. 

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10 Lessons Learned On When To Change Your Game by Jason Goldberg (via frank’s blog)

4 08 2011

The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is not listening to their customers. The whole reason you are in business in the first place is to provide them with a good or a service. Why not listen to what they have to say and find out what they want? For a business to be successful, you have to go through change. No company can stand still and finish ahead. Get to know your customers, find out what is important to them, and request feedback. Make your product something they cannot turn down.

A leader is not a leader without followers. Embrace your followers and learn from them. Be open to change because at some point it has to happen. Do it the right way the first time, rather than closing off the world and creating something that no one wants. It is an exciting journey and you have the opportunity to change the world. If something isn’t working, fix it. Find something better and come up with solutions. Don’t ignore your customers or think any problem is too small.

Every day make a list of goals for how you can move your company forward. Don’t fall into the trap of writing down the same goals every single day. Find new goals and ways to improve. Take little steps everyday to improve the company and before you know it you have built something great. It takes small steps and open ears, but with passion and persistence you can achieve these goals.

by Jason Goldberg, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Fab.com (via venturebeat)   All of the steps that lay behind our decision to transform Fab were rooted in the lessons learned over seven years in the startup world. Here, based on our experience, are the top 10 reasons to alter course. If you can’t get traction after one year, switch gears and work on something different. Particularly if you’re building a consumer e-business, you can tell pre … Read More

via frank's blog





Plan to Change Plans

31 07 2011

Developing a plan is great, but plans never seem to go as we expect. It is easy to look good on paper but your success in the real world depends on how well you react to change. Be open to change and finding a new direction. Sometimes it is a small change, but other times it is a complete transformation in company goals.

When I first came up with my business idea, I immediately developed a business plan. I wanted to define my business, develop a marketing strategy, create a financial projection, and determine all costs involved. This was easy. The hard part comes when you begin to implement your plan and talk to other people. One single idea can be perceived a million different ways so it is your job to adapt to meet the needs and wants of others.

My objective from the beginning is the one thing that has not changed: to connect communities through an online social network. This may sound vague, but it forces me to find different ways to achieve this goal. I haven’t limited myself to take one path to reach my destination, rather I have left the path open for me to fill in as I go along. The journey is the best part because you never know what will lie in your way. There will be shortcuts, obstacles, and you will make mistakes, but as long as you keep moving towards your ultimate goal, you will be fine.

The first battle was deciding on my target market. The idea came with Lake Orion in mind but my solution seemed to be perfect for a college town. I started to make my plan for Oberlin College to serve as my first test market. I always knew the ultimate goal was to help Lake Orion but felt I wasn’t ready for that. If I could develop a proven model first and generate revenue, then I could launch my service in Lake Orion.

With Oberlin, I wanted to partner up with the school and have students pay $5-$10 as a student activity fee to access the service. I was talking with a developer in New York about not only developing a website but mobile apps for the android market and iphone as well. Everything was all set and I was ready to commit except for one small detail. The developer wanted me to pay a subscription fee every month to use his service, so I felt restricted in what I could do. Even though the initial startup cost was far less than my other developer I talked to and this New York developer had already created a market-tested product, it would be more costly in the long-run. I decided to pass and completely change my model.

I found a local developer and decided I wanted to launch in Lake Orion. I wasn’t going to settle for a product that didn’t have all the functions I wanted it to. Now I would have to sacrifice getting mobile applications but my website would be much more customized to meet my requirements. This also meant I could no longer charge users for the product but would instead have to charge local businesses a subscription fee. To sell my product I had to push the idea that my product would serve as a much more cost effective marketing tool.

If you look back at my original business model, you could hardly recognize it. I created a plan, but in the end all my plans changed. All of this happened in the span of two months. You may think it was a waste to create a plan I won’t even end up using. I disagree! Creating plans forces you to think critically and find solutions. Plans will constantly change. You can’t expect to ever have it all figured out. Instead, make plans to change plans. Find new solutions, create new models, and progress to your ultimate goal.