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It’s Better to be First than Better

A basic principal of business is that it is better to be first than it is to be better. While this may sound untrue, generally speaking it has proven a reliable law of big business. Being first to a market space often gains you mind share, the presence of your brand in people’s minds, that directly associates that market with your company, product, or service. This mind share can be absolutely key to your business’s success.

Being the first to a market space allows you to enter it with pretty much no direct competition.  This has its own host of issues, like defining and communicating your product or service to customers understandably, educating the consumers on your brand and why they need it, etc. But if you can do those things successfully, you have established your brand as the first in the mind of the market – and therefore the best. Anyone other than Apple who tries to make another iPhone will simply be making another iPhone. Apple has you. They made the iPhone, they are the best. So think outside the box and be first to the market.

 

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Deliver Value

Great businesses offer true value to their customers. Whether it’s something completely new or novel, or a completely improved method, their create something that people need or want to use. Often times it’s easy to simply bring a similar product to a market whose needs are already being met. Businesses who do this at best simply survive. Don’t survive – THRIVE!

Bring something totally new to your customers that solves a real problem or gap in the market. This takes research and feedback from your customers. Perhaps it’s a gap that you’ve experienced the frustration of personally. Good. Now take that bad experience and improve it. Solve it. Create something valuable, don’t just be another business that does the same thing.

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Scale Up to Success

In today’s start-up market, a business idea is only as good as its ability to scale. One may have a great idea, but if it can’t be scaled up to reach millions of users in some way, it’s probably going to struggle to secure financial backing. Investors want the possibility for significant returns on their investment, and numbers are the key.

The great thing about internet businesses is that scalability is largely inherent to the medium. The large costs of development often associated with the space are mostly up front. You don’t necessarily have to build a totally huge model to launch, but you must consider how to scale your business. This forces you to consider the future of your business and build it into your model.

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Learn to Pivot

Every entrepreneur seems to have a great idea, but not everyone succeeds. Why? Well, there are innumerable answers to that, but one that is a common thread is the lack of a company or start-up’s ability to pivot. You think you have a fantastic idea, you build and launch it, only to find that it’s not really what your customers want. It happens all the time and is deadly to nascent and established businesses alike.

There will be without a doubt at least some aspect of your offering that is not optimal for users at the launch of your product. That is okay, just be prepared to act on the feedback. If halfway through you see that your model can be improved with a completely different approach, make it happen! You must stay lean to do this effectively and have a great customer feedback loop. Stay involved with your customers, listen to what they are telling you they want you to change, and act on it. Don’t go the way of the dinosaur – learn to pivot.

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Building a Plane as You Fly It

As entrepreneurs, we sail into the great unknown. We build products and businesses and services that no other person has built before and we learn and we struggle and sometimes, we succeed. For some, the risks are perceived as too great. For others, it’s this risk-reward relationship that drives them to the field.

The truth is, none of us know what we are doing. We may have very relevant skills that serve as advantages to us, but if we are doing something for the first time, it’s an adventure. And that’s okay! That is the way we learn and live. What is important is that we don’t let the lack of knowing keep us from executing. Getting paralyzed by the great unknown is a common malady that we must avoid. Stay energized and excited. Continually learn from your mistakes and push on. Build the plane as you fly it, and who knows, maybe you’ll succeed.

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