start a business|||
Go to triangular compass
Left arrow

Want to Start a Business? Here's What Matters

Community Support
Community Support
February 23, 2017
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on Linkedin
Copy Link

Stay Up to Date on American Grit

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

As an entrepreneur, I have seen many new businesses come and go. I built Grunt Style and Alpha Outpost myself. Starting a new business is definitely not easy, and there is no such thing as a cookie cutter plan to go from nothing to millions of dollars in revenue. However, there is only one thing that you should focus on when you're starting your own business: sales.Your focus determines your reality. There are a million things to do with you're starting your own business. You want a cool domain name, business cards, letterhead, a lawyer, a board of directors, and all the other things that can waste the only two assets you have: time and money. When you're starting up, you have probably a lot more time than money, and when you grow you can 'buy' your time with equipment and more members on the team. At the beginning, you need to only focus on what is going to give you the latter of the two assets: money.[caption id="attachment_10480" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

You have time and money in life. When you're starting a new business, you probably have much more time than money.[/caption]

Let's say you are sitting in your cubicle (I used to work in one before I got fired) and you come up with what you think is a brilliant idea for a million dollar business. Your idea is creating a new nutrition supplement company where the customer can customize their own servings and take them on the go. You come up with a cool name, "Build-a-Stack," and surprise, the domain name is available. So you register that right away. Full of excitement, you're ready to start your website and make your millions.

**Fun fact, this was actually the name of the first business I created. It failed. I can give you a whole myriad of excuses why; I was in the Army, I ran out of money, etc. The simple truth is, this was an experience that I'm grateful for because it was a humbling education that I needed.**

You build your website for cheap on your own because you don't have a lot of money, and need all your money to buy the hundreds of supplements that your soon-to-be customers will be beating down your website for. You can see it now; rags to riches in just a few months because of your new brilliant idea. How could this fail, you love the product idea. So you go ahead and put more money on the credit card and buy more product and equipment to get ready for the flood of orders.

"Wow, my tiny bank account looks much cooler like this."

Now you're ready to launch! You find one more credit card with a little bit of balance and put it towards some Facebook paid 'boosts' and Google Ad-words. This is so easy. You're practically printing money. You tell all your friends and family of your new venture, knowing that they are already impressed with your soon to be empire. Get ready to watch the internet print you money.

Boom! Your first order comes in. You're already making money. After examining the order closely, you notice it's your aunt from Ohio. Oh well, more to come.Then... nothing.You check your ads again and it appears that the only ones making money are Facebook and Google. So you tweak it a bit and run some more ads, double down, after all, you have to risk everything if you're going to make it big, right?Still nothing. What's going on? You're going to run out of money soon. How could people not see the incredible value of what you're doing? But you're running out of money before you find out why.[caption id="attachment_10482" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

"According to my calculations... yeah, you're completely broke."[/caption]Let's contrast this with another story.A few years ago, while I was still trying to get Grunt Style off the ground, my family needed money for things - like, you know, food. My wife worked full-time already and I was a personal trainer in the morning, but as soon as it was the afternoon, I would go door to door, by foot, to small local businesses and sell them websites. My pitch was that I could build you a website in 48 hours for a thousand bucks. It was cheap, but I was fast and good at it. Going door to door sucks. You always have a fear of being told to get lost, but after that happens a few times, you get over it. After all, most people are much more polite than you think. I hardly ever got ran out, but more importantly, I was able to provide for my family, as opposed to the other business where I just spent it all waiting for it to rain.So here's the difference: in the first story, we take a product that we think the world wants and wait for money to pour in. In the second story we are actively interacting with the end consumer, they tell me what they want. The only opinion that matters about your product is the person willing to pay for it. Don't wait for rain, make it rain.The only thing that matters when you're starting a business is sales. Nearly 80% of your time should be spent in some form of sales. Talk to customers (not friends and family; they might not tell you that your product sucks). The best vote of confidence in your product is a stranger who is willing to reach into their pocket to pull out money that they worked hard for and give it to you. Few things will thrill you like this does. Just make sure you can deliver.[caption id="attachment_10484" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

start a business

Feedback from customers, not friends or family, will determine if you actually have a good product or not.[/caption]When you're starting out, you don't know if your product is any good, and you can spend a lifetime tinkering with a product that nobody wants. So my advice to you is: make it good enough and see if it sells. Once you get money coming in, you can worry about making it more perfect but as General Patton once said, "A good plan executed violently today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."Your only mission when you start up is to see if you can sell enough product to make a profit (that is, you've made more money than what you put in, to include your time). Until you do this, you're not really a business, you're an expensive hobby.

send a letter to congress
Adds section
Next Up
No items found.