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3 Important Lessons I’ve Learned From Starting A Business At Age 12

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Why did you start your business? Was it because you wanted freedom? To escape from a boring desk job? Maybe you wanted to start living the “Rockstar” lifestyle of Richard Branson?

All of us have our reasons for becoming an entrepreneur and doing it alone. For me, it was because I wanted a drum set.

My dad played the drums, so naturally I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I asked my mom and stepdad if I could get a new acoustic kit, and their response was that I could only get it if it earned it myself. This was upsetting at first, but I am so glad for the way things turned out, because it changed my life.

Did I mention that I was only 12 years old? That’s kind of important considering I couldn’t legally get a job. I had to figure out how to make this happen on my own, and I was determined.

Since I couldn’t work for someone else, I decided to start a lawn-care business. I learned so much from this first venture into the world of entrepreneurism, and these lessons have been invaluable to the 6 businesses that I have started since then.

Here are three things I’ve learned about starting a business:

1. Starting up is often the hardest part

I knew I needed to make roughly $700 in one summer while the grass was growing and I was out of middle school. I calculated that if I cut roughly one lawn every day left in the summer for about $10-$15 a piece, I would have the drum set by summer’s end.

My first obstacle? I didn’t even have a lawn mower. Like I said, we lived in a duplex, so the land lord was the one who cut the lawn with his own lawn mower.

If you’re starting a new business, it’s often those steps that come after that great idea that are the most perilous. This is when you start to see the reality of what you are up against, and it is really easy to quit and say “this won’t work.”

Not having a lawn mower was discouraging, however my stepdad made me an offer that was a pivotal moment in my life. He told me that if I could go door to door and get 10 people to sign a sheet of paper saying I could come back in a week or two to cut their lawn, he would front me the money for the lawn mower.

I went out that night, pounded on doors, and got told “no” a lot. I think I got around 8 signatures or so that night, and my stepdad was impressed enough that he bought me the lawn mower.

The hard part was over, and I was now in business! I have learned through several businesses that if you can quickly get past this very first obstacle, it is comparatively smooth sailing from thereon out.

“Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines.” – Robert Schuller

2. Cold-calling is a painful, unforgiving, numbers game

Cold calling was essentially what I was doing at age 12 knocking on those doors. And I learned quite fast that it is a numbers game.

You knock on doors, you get a percentage of people who say yes, and then a percentage of those people actually follow through and do business with you.

I didn’t know about that last part, so when I returned to my list of signatures and knocked on their doors, I was disappointed to be greeted with either no answer or an “I changed my mind” from a big portion of them.

So I knocked on more doors, and more doors, until finally I started to get my first real customers (and cash in hand). What I learned from this long cold-calling process was that I hated knocking on doors. It was nerve-wracking and it really sucked to get rejected. There were times where I wanted to just quit and go home to play video games.

But each time, right when I was on the brink of quitting, I would get a “yes,” and that $10-$15 would suck me back in. I repeated this process for a while, but then I got smart. I asked myself: Why was I knocking on doors?

Looking back, I was inadvertently doing exactly what is commonplace in online business today, I was building a list.

So my 12-year-old self looked at my list and determined who would be most likely to pay me. My answer? My existing customers! I was spending so much time knocking on doors (lead generation) that I wasn’t properly following up with the people who already liked me. After all, grass grows fast in the summer. I would only need 3-5 regular customers paying me every week in order to hit my goal.

Just like the lawns I was caring for, I needed to be just as good at caring for and nurturing my customer relationships. So that’s what I did. I focused 100% on providing great service, doing more than was asked of me, and always asking if people had neighbors they were friends with who could use my services.

That was when I stopped cold-calling forever and started focusing on customer-nurturing and building a referral network. These things are always at the forefront of my mind today, even as my techniques and marketing knowledge have become more sophisticated.

 

3. A “burning so hot you think you might die” desire

If I didn’t dream of having that drum set and following in my father’s footsteps, playing my favorite songs, and maybe even starting a band…If I didn’t yearn for this every time I stepped into my room and looked at the spot where I would place that kit…there is no way I could have done it.

I would have quit by the 10th “No” I got while knocking on doors. I would have quit when I had a valuable regular customers drop my services in exchange for their nephew.

Willpower is a finite resource. But dreaming of that drum set kept me going. It’s what pushed me along when things got tough and I wanted to give up.

If there is any lesson I have taken away from my first business, it is, you can’t do amazing things if you don’t have an amazing reason for doing them. You only have so much willpower. If you don’t have that burning desire constantly nagging you, you will just give up. I can guarantee it.

But if you figure out what your burning desire is, and keep it at the forefront of your mind at all times. If you write it on post-it notes and put them everywhere. If you allow it to push you and even stress you out a little bit, you will surprise yourself with how your work ethic changes and how you will start to focus on the right things that will help you reach your goal.

And once you reach that goal and all of that hard work pays off, you become addicted to that feeling of achievement and success. I was able to purchase my drum set that summer (I still have it today), and I never did stop “opening up shop” to achieve my goals.

“Desire, burning desire, is basic to achieving anything beyond the ordinary.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

What lesson have you learned from starting your business? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Collin is a serial entrepreneur and founder of the The 20 Something Entrepreneur, which is a blog and podcast dedicated to helping the young and the young at heart find more success in their businesses by learning from other young entrepreneurs who are still “in the trenches” figuring things out.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Chetan

    Feb 3, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Hello,
    Thanks for sharing your lessons with us.
    I completely agree you should have a desire to achieve something and relate that thing to your goal has worked for me as well in past.
    I like the idea of focusing on existing customers who are already with you and get the referral through them is a good idea as mouth publicity from customers have greater effect than ours. But I would like to know how you keep maintained the desire after getting the drum set.. Its good you achieve something at the age of 12yrs but how did you manage your success further in the future? How frequently did your burning desire change? Could you please share some more achievements that your burning desire related to in business? I know its easy to achieve once but how you maintain this further is what I would like to know.
    Thank you
    Chetan

    • Collin Stover

      Apr 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Hey Chetan,

      Thanks for your comment. Excellent question!

      When I finally purchased that drumset, it was one of the best feelings ever. It was also the end of summer, so lawn-care season was over. This gave me a forced break, however by winter I was back out shoveling walks, and when we moved the next spring I started sending out flyers to the neighbors advertising my lawn care services. Nothing fancy – only one called – but that one person owned a handful of properties and did *a lot* of work, so they were actually the only client I needed that next summer. By that point, there were two things fueling my motivation, even as I went through one of the most difficult times of my life due to emotional/mental health reasons:
      1. My commitment to that one customer. I had promised to be there week after week, and I kept that promise. It helped that the older couple I was working with were extremely nice. They reminded me of less-crazy versions of my grandparents, and were people I didn’t want to disappoint.
      2. Since a young boy I have always desired autonomy. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I did not like feeling like decisions were being made for me. I wanted to make my own decisions, and I wanted to be independent. My mom was a single mother, and she instilled this independence idea on me from a young age. She still worked, so for a while I had to walk myself home from the bus, let myself into our apartment, cook myself a snack before she got home to make dinner, etc. It was one of the best things that could have happened to me. My mom is the best mom in the world, but I never grew this immense reliance on her growing up like some people do. This allowed me to “do my own thing” and figure out what works for me. This is a long answer of saying I like freedom and autonomy in the core of my soul, and working a “real job” with a boss (I’ve tried it before, twice) is extremely painful and emotionally disturbing for me. So the thing that drove me and still drives me now is the idea that I want to be in control of my own destiny and not go through the painful experience of having a boss.

      I hope that answers your question. Let me know if it doesn’t.
      Collin

  2. Payden

    Feb 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    One of the best articles I’ve read. Thanks Collin.

    • Collin Stover

      Apr 4, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you so much Payden! That means a lot. I have more in store for you!

  3. Ram Vijay

    Feb 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Extra ordinary article. Very well explained with an example. “Burning Desire” is all we need like a 12 year old kid.
    Keep posting 🙂

    • Collin Stover

      Apr 4, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Hey Ram, Thanks so much for your comment! Yes – a burning desire is a huge part of it. It is *not* all we need, I don’t believe, however it is what drives us to do the things we do need to do. I think of it as a foundation. 🙂

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Startups

5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

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business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

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Startups

‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

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Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

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The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

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company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

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5 Guilty Pleasures to Cut Out Immediately if You Want to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

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successful entrepreneur

Admit it, you admire the mansion, you covet the sports car, you dream of that private jet or owning that marvelous yacht. To make matters worse you see your boss owning all of these and living the “good” life.  Deep down you envy your wealthy boss because you wish you could have his possessions. (more…)

Stefany Liefeld is a content strategist with a knack for marketing. A wild introvert who likes to observe life and the universe from as many angles as possible. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Chetan

    Feb 3, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Hello,
    Thanks for sharing your lessons with us.
    I completely agree you should have a desire to achieve something and relate that thing to your goal has worked for me as well in past.
    I like the idea of focusing on existing customers who are already with you and get the referral through them is a good idea as mouth publicity from customers have greater effect than ours. But I would like to know how you keep maintained the desire after getting the drum set.. Its good you achieve something at the age of 12yrs but how did you manage your success further in the future? How frequently did your burning desire change? Could you please share some more achievements that your burning desire related to in business? I know its easy to achieve once but how you maintain this further is what I would like to know.
    Thank you
    Chetan

    • Collin Stover

      Apr 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Hey Chetan,

      Thanks for your comment. Excellent question!

      When I finally purchased that drumset, it was one of the best feelings ever. It was also the end of summer, so lawn-care season was over. This gave me a forced break, however by winter I was back out shoveling walks, and when we moved the next spring I started sending out flyers to the neighbors advertising my lawn care services. Nothing fancy – only one called – but that one person owned a handful of properties and did *a lot* of work, so they were actually the only client I needed that next summer. By that point, there were two things fueling my motivation, even as I went through one of the most difficult times of my life due to emotional/mental health reasons:
      1. My commitment to that one customer. I had promised to be there week after week, and I kept that promise. It helped that the older couple I was working with were extremely nice. They reminded me of less-crazy versions of my grandparents, and were people I didn’t want to disappoint.
      2. Since a young boy I have always desired autonomy. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I did not like feeling like decisions were being made for me. I wanted to make my own decisions, and I wanted to be independent. My mom was a single mother, and she instilled this independence idea on me from a young age. She still worked, so for a while I had to walk myself home from the bus, let myself into our apartment, cook myself a snack before she got home to make dinner, etc. It was one of the best things that could have happened to me. My mom is the best mom in the world, but I never grew this immense reliance on her growing up like some people do. This allowed me to “do my own thing” and figure out what works for me. This is a long answer of saying I like freedom and autonomy in the core of my soul, and working a “real job” with a boss (I’ve tried it before, twice) is extremely painful and emotionally disturbing for me. So the thing that drove me and still drives me now is the idea that I want to be in control of my own destiny and not go through the painful experience of having a boss.

      I hope that answers your question. Let me know if it doesn’t.
      Collin

  2. Payden

    Feb 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    One of the best articles I’ve read. Thanks Collin.

    • Collin Stover

      Apr 4, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you so much Payden! That means a lot. I have more in store for you!

  3. Ram Vijay

    Feb 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Extra ordinary article. Very well explained with an example. “Burning Desire” is all we need like a 12 year old kid.
    Keep posting 🙂

    • Collin Stover

      Apr 4, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Hey Ram, Thanks so much for your comment! Yes – a burning desire is a huge part of it. It is *not* all we need, I don’t believe, however it is what drives us to do the things we do need to do. I think of it as a foundation. 🙂

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5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

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business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

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Startups

‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

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Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

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The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

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company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

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