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5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Startup Right Now

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Spanish Startups - Angel Navarree:Bloomberg News files

If you have been thinking for a while about doing a startup, the time is now.

Maybe you thought you couldn’t or you needed a lot of money, but in reality, you really don’t. It’s never been cheaper to start a business and test the idea before going and putting all your time into it.

I remember thinking back in the early 2000’s that maybe most things had been done on the internet in terms of retail, which could have been true, but turned out to be incorrect. Just because it’s been done doesn’t mean that it can’t be done again, better. Around the same time that I had this thought I remember being offered the opportunity to distribute coffee pods and thinking everyone would only ever buy freshly roasted beans.

Coffee pods are now one of the fastest selling consumables around so it’s not always easy to pick trends, nor should you just focus on trends. It needs to be a mix of good research and something you can see yourself being involved with.

Before you make your mind up that most things are done, I urge you to think about all the things you buy in your own life, is each transaction 10/10? If you’re like me it’s probably far from it. Therein lies the opportunity for you.

Below are five reasons why I believe you should start a Startup now!

 

1. The age of disruption is here

No longer will a lot of us put up with substandard industries. Taxis are a classic example where for years it has been difficult to book one, go where you want, seek accurate directions, have a friendly driver and ride in a clean car. The people have spoken and now we have Uber and other competitors coming into the market. We are going to see this keep happening to companies and industries that fail to innovate. Even large companies like Kodak don’t exist anymore because of a lack of innovation, yet a company like Go Pro can disrupt the market, and make billions, by designing a simple camera that can be used anywhere.

Culture KingsLook at Culture Kings as another example, you would think that America has done Hip Hop clothing to death, but Culture Kings showed that there was still plenty of room for new entrants to the market. I should point out that the business started at a local market on the weekend. Don’t underestimate popup stores and market stores as a great way to test your product.

So often, I see business owners try their idea out at one of these locations and give up too easily, but the trick is that once you build a small customer base and prove that your product has some demand, take the next step and build an online store. It’s the step that most of these small businesses never take seriously and it’s what made Culture Kings so successful.

 

2. Quality advice is needed like never before

People are crying out for quality advice all the time because there is now, so much variety with our economies becoming more global than ever. Whether it’s managing people’s finances or finding out how to be healthy, it’s still so hard to get unbiased advice. The businesses that can master this will be successful in this new age.

If you look online for health products it can be a minefield of finding out exactly what works and what doesn’t, and a lot of the time the claims can’t be proven. New businesses are popping up all the time and are now trying to become trusted advisors, rather than sales people because they know that quality advice and the truth will often determine whether a sale is won in this new era.

So many of us are tired of the used car salesman trying to sell whatever car he can, for the highest price, so he can make the biggest commission. The average person now is so much savvier. The answer to quality advice is to take advantage of the internet and help to inform your prospects with quality content, videos and other rich media. Not so long ago this was quite a challenge, but now it can be done quite easily, and at very little, to no cost. Whilst you could argue that this capability has been around for a while it’s only now, thanks to smart phones, that consumers are using technology even more, to get the right advice.

Even baby boomers are now using smartphones with Google Search.

How can your startup take advantage of this?

 

3. It’s never been an easier time to find your mastermind group

Technology has made it even easier for us to connect with people. Initially, sites like Facebook were only for the under 30’s but now most of our parents are on it too.

LinkedIn has also exploded and it’s very rare these days to find professionals that are not on the platform.

This means that once you have your vision laser focused; you can begin by attracting the mastermind group you will need to support you (no great business can be built alone). Finding people that can help your business case is crucial and the beauty of Social Media is that it will help you find people in niches rather than just business people in general.

When you have found a potential candidate, I don’t recommend that you only communicate via Social Media. I think Social Media is a great way to become top of mind and at least intro yourself, but try to do the rest with a face-to-face meeting or a video call via Skype / Facetime for overseas candidates. If you can, try and record this video call (with permission of course) so that you can go back and reference them later on.

Many startups make the mistake of trying to do everything online and often a lot more can be achieved in person, and the cost of an airfare is worth every cent for the right person – don’t let the fast moving tech age fool you of this.

Startup Quote Wasting Time 

4. Poor service still exists

How many times do all of us go to an eating-place and experience poor service or an ordinary meal? For me, it’s still happening now and then. There are so many hospitality businesses that open and close because they don’t understand what’s going to make them successful.

I remember going to a takeaway shop a few weeks ago and getting the bare minimum. I had to pour my own glass of water, get my own cutlery and ask for them to get me a serviette from behind the counter. It sounds like a few small things, but it shows that the customer experience has not been thought of and that they are not trying to impress me or make it easy for me to do business with them.

A business like Fonda Mexican has become so successful because they get the formula for success. You need to try and be different, provide outstanding service, simplify the menu and innovate. If you put yourself in the minds of your clients and you ask people for their feedback you really can’t go wrong, yet most businesses don’t do this, so they struggle to continually have to find new clients and waste money on expensive advertising / giveaways.

The other area to look at is the large retailers.

I recently bought an iPhone 6 from an Apple store and another one from a large retailer. The Apple store went above and beyond to make sure I knew what I was getting and was in love with the product. The sales person was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and never left my side to check stock or take the payment. Once I was done they then set the phone up for me on the spot. The total time for this transaction was about 10 minutes although I could have taken as long as I liked to make a decision.

Comparing this experience to the large retailer was completely different. The sales person at the store had no passion for the product, knew nothing about it, asked me for ID to make sure I wasn’t a criminal and wasn’t sure if they had stock. Once they confirmed they had stock they then needed to get manager approval, as there had been a high amount of staff theft of iPhone 6’s. The total transaction time was 45 minutes and there was hardly anyone in the store.

The reason I tell you this story is not to complain, but demonstrate to you the abundance of opportunity that lies before you if you decide to see it.

 

5. Most eCommerce sites are still so primitive

If you compare your retail experience to buying from an online store, there is still such a massive gap. Most eCommerce stores still have very limited product descriptions, unreliable stock levels and no quick way for their clients to be assisted.

If you want to see a site that has nailed product presentation, (it’s almost as good as holding it in the store) check out Bellroy.

The product range is small, descriptive and it tells you exactly what you want to know. Again they are one of the few, so there is still so much room for disruption. Kogan is another monster business that showed social proof when buying, is fundamental to making a sale of a product. A lot of websites still give you that empty feeling of “Am I the only one that’s ever brought this?”

Tim Denning and Ruslan Kogan | StartupGrind (Melbourne)

Kogan shows you in real time, people buying their products, so that you have social proof that you are not alone.

Even something like reviews, which have been around for a while, is still massively under-utilized. So many products I see still don’t have online reviews on them or very few. You then go to Youtube and find that there might be one or two videos demonstrating the product and the quality is not great.

There are more and more private people doing reviews of products and getting paid in the form of affiliate marketing. Again, there is a lot of opportunities to add this ingredient into the mix and launch a really cool site.

The key is obviously to pick something that you’re passionate about otherwise when you hit your first roadblock; you will struggle to find the momentum to keep moving forward. The time for startups is now!

 

GET OUT THERE, GET AMONGST IT AND GET EXCITED!

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Tim

    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Tim,
    Great article. I have been racking my brain of late looming for ways to create a startup out of an already existing family retail business. I feel that there is a niche market that we are not tapping into yet and with a little innovation we could increase sales and receive more feedback from clients. I’m trying to create an engaging social media environment around the business so that customers feel that the are not just clients but part of a club.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Tim love the way that you are thinking, and you can definitely achieve it with a family business. Your job is even easier than most because you already have a platform with a customer base. Think to yourself, what can you do that would make your customers love you and tell all their friends.

  2. Tim Denning

    Feb 3, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for reaching out Tasia all the way from the Carribean (one of my favourite spots) I’m glad the article got you thinking. Don’t let the word startup bother you as it’s all positive. It used to give me a weird feeling too until I realised that it means you have a massive advantage. Startups are able to pivot quickly, innovate and run ideas at a very low cost. Having worked for a large company, I now appreciate how important this is. Big companies just can’t operate like a startup so they can’t be nearly as innovative.

    Bad service equals a massive opportunity for you so don’t see it as a negative at all. Keep in touch and let us know how your startup journey goes.

    Much Respect

  3. Tasia

    Feb 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Whenever I hear the word Startup, I get panicky (ask me why I can’t tell you).

    Your post shows me the error of my thinking. I love the insights and it brings to mind the many ways down here in the Caribbean where improvements are sorely needed to provide better service in a lot of areas.

    Thanks for the post and I’ll certainly refer to it as I ruminate on a few ideas circulating in my head.

  4. Jane Pryor

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Hi Tim.

    Thank you for your article and insights into startups now.

    Funnily enough, it’s Australia Day today (26 January) and we took the family out for a drive and a lunch near the bay. I booked online and got a confirmation emailed to me within 30 minutes. When we arrived, however, they not only did not have our booking, made an explanation (excuse) as to why this was (the receptionist is only part time – not our problem) and seated us inside, away from the entertainment and seabreeze. I queried whether we could sit outside until those people arrived but was told a firm “no”, not possible, and even received some, what I would only call, an affronted reaction from the staff member that I was questioning this.
    Our meals were served timely but all but one meal was poor quality and three of us didn’t finish our meal.

    I’m astonished that, at such a city iconic venue, that the establishment can rely on such poor service and continue to make a profit. Imagine if a few things were improved: booking service; on site personality; quality of food; opportunity for feedback.

    My point to this is that good ol’ customer service seems to be well and truly on the back burner for many businesses and that, if they’re not careful and sensible, will lose out to places like the local fish and chip shop who have people with personality and caring.

    Not that I want to be in the hospitality business, but, from my example above, if there was another similar business to open up nearby and to include the attributable improvements I’ve mentioned above, there is no reason why they shouldn’t outperform this original restaurant.

    I’m taking onboard your suggestions to apply to my own experience and taking a well thought out chance; and jumping in.
    Cheers for now and happy intrepreneuring.

    Jane

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 2, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Thanks for taking the time to reply Jane, I couldn’t agree with you more. Bad service is everywhere and as long as you have the mindset that this creates opportunity, you will do well.

      If you put customers first and you try and add value to them, you will become a magnet for success. At the same time don’t make the mistake of trying to sign up everyone. Focus on good quality clients that bring you a good return so that you can have the resources to provide them with outstanding quality and service.

  5. Tim Denning

    Jan 20, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Would love to hear where you made your mistakes Mary if you’re willing to share.

  6. mary okungu

    Jan 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

    very tourching stories indeed i now realize whare i made mistake and the reason as to why have not been successefull,thank you for sharing with us.mary from kenya

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Startups

5 Ways to Avoid Burning Out While Building Your Business

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how to avoid burnout

Isn’t it strange how mundane things can bring back really vivid memories? As the burnt toast hit the trash, I remembered how burn out meant my first online business ended up on the scrapheap (nearly taking me with it). 

Juggling a full-time job, family, volunteering and running an online business left me physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted. Just like toast, the burn creeps in slowly and when complete, you’re left unable to nourish yourself or anything else.

You may have already heard run-of-the-mill advice like taking regular breaks to prevent burn out. But what’s the point of stepping away from work only to be stressed that things will fall apart?

Here are five not-so-obvious ways to become burn out proof:

1. Create the right systems

Having no systems (or the wrong systems) is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, systems get a bad rap because they can be seen as snooze fests. Who’s ever heard of a sexy system? I sure haven’t!

To make matters worse, traditional systems have a sterile and stuffy image that can make some entrepreneurs feel boxed into something that’s unsuitable for their needs.

The key to making systems work for your business is to design them with flexibility, so your creativity isn’t stifled. Systems that curb burn out are those that account for the ‘secret sauce’ of how you do business. This ensures authenticity, even when your business grows. I call these flexible and personalized systems ‘productivity recipes.’ Because, just like normal recipes, you have the core ingredients and you can make tweaks to suit your business taste.

We’re all different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all business system. Productivity recipes focus on the human side of systems. They bring order to repetitive tasks while taking into account the quirks that make your business unique.

Productivity recipes stop burn out by preventing you from biting off more than you can chew, especially when your business is growing.

2. Get apps ‘talking’ to each other

Automation is another way to hand over repetitive and stressful work. Services like IFTTT and Zapier connect the apps you use to automate your workflow. In other words, they get rid of the biggest time sucks in your business.

Part of creating productivity recipes is to spot tasks you can automate. This will help your business run like a well-oiled machine and save you money when outsourcing.

Start out automating everyday tasks, like social media and email management, by finding out how the apps can ‘talk’ to each other.

Do yourself (and your health) a favour and start to create productivity recipes to see what you can automate. The aim is to drop repetitive tasks like a hot potato to reduce the risk of burnt out. Get your apps communicating to free up time to chat with friends and family.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates

3. Outsource

Outsourcing should be done when you already have productivity recipes in place. It’s tempting to hand over parts of your business to a VA or freelancer and forget about it, but this approach could land you in hot water.

With productivity recipes, anyone you hire will have the blueprint of how you expect things to be done. You’ll also save time getting new hires up to speed. Most importantly, your clients won’t get any nasty surprises or unwelcome changes when you grow your team.

You’ll be able to take time out to recharge your batteries, having all the confidence that your business will continue to function properly in your absence.

4. Find some cheerleaders

Being part of a supportive group is crucial to making yourself burn out proof. Informal groups, like Facebook communities, are helpful networks that can prevent you going down the burn out road.

If you’ve been working non-stop and your brain feels as limp as the lettuce in the sandwich you’ve been too busy to eat, connect with people who can identify with where you are and encourage you to take a step back.

The best groups are those that aren’t strictly business. Look for a group with dedicated days for sharing things like inspirational quotes and jokes to lighten things up a little.

Feeling like you’re the only one who experiences overwhelm can be a lonely place. Being part of a community where people share their struggles helps to provide perspective that you can achieve your goals without compromising your health.

“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” – Misty Copeland

5. Inject your personality into your passion

When you’re passionate about your work, it seems like you can work day and night without ever feeling tired. Of course, it’s advisable to make time for proper rest. I’ve found that, the more I enjoy work, the more I look after myself to reduce the risks of becoming ill. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive to avoid burn out. I’m also a huge foodie. That’s why I incorporate food and drink analogies in my work because being fed and watered is something we can all relate to.

Injecting your personality into your work makes everything easier. It’s very draining pretending to be someone you’re not. If you’re already pursuing your passion, add a splash of your personality to reduce the chance of burn out.

Suffering from burn out is a serious setback to your health and business. It’s a relief to know that, unlike the burnt toast that ends up in the trash, you can make a full recovery from burn out. But why take the risk in the first place? Put in place practical measures to avoid getting burnt when the heat is turned up in your business.

It’s good to share. What do you put in place to make sure you don’t burn out? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

How do you avoid burning out when things get tough? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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3 Lessons I Learned From the Failure of My First Startup

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startup failure

You’re exhausted. You’ve put countless of hours into an idea that you believed in so much. Literally almost blood, sweat and tears were sacrificed for this vision to be accomplished. You had hoped and expected for a lot of things, and was excited to have plans for the future.

A few months ago, I wrote an article here titled, “What I Learned After Opening My First Business at 21.” My restaurant was doing well that time, and writing that article made me feel on top of the world. I thought that it was going to be that way for a long time, yet not so long after that, sales started to become stagnant and then declined.

As I write this today, my restaurant has already stopped operations. It stopped a few days ago, but a couple months back, I knew it was bound to happen. We couldn’t keep up with the bills we needed to pay, and they kept accumulating day by day. With a heavy heart and chaotic mind, we knew we had to close it down.

I couldn’t believe this was happening barely one year after starting operations. But if you were to ask me that if I had the chance to start over, would I do it again? I would still say yes. Despite its failure, there were still very important (also expensive) lessons that I learned that I would never have acquired otherwise if I didn’t start the business.

Here are a few lessons I learned after failing my first startup:

1. Entrepreneurship requires resilience

You cannot ever be successful if you haven’t developed resilience. Whether you like it or not, something will turn out wrong in your business. Maybe sometimes not to the point that it needs to be shut down, but something that could make your decisions critical to your organization goals.

You could give yourself time to grieve, but it shouldn’t stop there. Life goes on. And you need to get back on your feet if you still want to make a difference. The biggest companies that are successful right now all experienced a massive amount of failure.

But they never stopped trying. Because with every failure comes a lesson. Anyone with common sense would learn from that failure, and start again with more knowledge on what to do and what not to do.

Whenever I thought about the accumulated debts of my restaurant, I would have this sinking feeling in my chest and stomach. I knew that I would have to liquidate the assets. So I continued to search for buyers of the assets.

Instead of grieving for a much longer period, I knew I’d have to pick myself back up again so I could pay the debt. It might be hard at first, but if you call yourself an entrepreneur, quitting is not an option. We fail, we learn, then get back up.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

2. Learn to listen

Being a first-time founder, I had a very idealistic attitude. I had no experience in the food industry and established the business with only the belief that my partners and I would make it. I was wrong.

Aside from not being able to make it with that business, I realized what the naysayers had been telling me all along. But you have to be careful here. There are naysayers who have no credibility to back up what they say and want to bring you down. But there are also ones who speak from experience and are genuinely concerned for you. You must learn to discern the right voices to listen to if you want to succeed.

Taking risks is good, but make sure those risks are calculated and not reckless. We took a risk that wasn’t entirely reckless, but not all aspects of them were calculated. We were unsure of some parts of the business, and just “winged” it. Look at what happened to winging it!

Know when you need to jump with both feet or just one, but also listen to the voices who tell you when to put your feet in the water. Trust me, you never know when you will value their input.

3. Your failures do not define you

I never thought this would take a toll on my self-esteem, even when I knew I had to get back up. On the outside I looked normal. Going to school, work, and social settings looking like nothing had happened. But inside I was a wreck and didn’t want to admit it.

I would feel guilty whenever people would praise me about how “successful” I was at such a young age but that wasn’t true. For a while I thought that I was the failure. My insecurities started haunting me again and my browser history was filled with questions on what to do.

That was when I discovered that successful people failed more often than they succeeded. Even the ones with smaller businesses had their fair share of failures before finding an idea that worked for them.

But their failures never got to their heart. They weren’t the failures. The business failed, not them. So they tried again until they got it right. Maybe this business didn’t work out for me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never be successful. The sooner you believe your failures don’t define you, the more the weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

People fail every single day. The difference between the ones who succeed and those who don’t is persistence and the drive to continue even after failing. It’s much better to try and fail than never having to start and learn nothing.

“Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble.” – Shah Rukh Khan

Have you ever started a business that eventually failed? What did you learn from it? Please leave your experiences below!
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Want A Business Idea That’s Guaranteed To Make You Money? Here’s How You Should Start.

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Let’s first start off with the “why”. When you know why you’re doing something, it can create clarity in your tasks, and direct your efforts. So, grab a sheet of paper, or a notebook and let’s get started.

Answer this question: Why do I want to start a business? Here are some common answers.

  • to do something I love
  • to create financial freedom so I can, “fill in the blank” (travel, pay off debts, buy expensive things, etc.)
  • to have the freedom to set my hours, choose when I work and what I work on
  • to help others, using my skills
  • I hate my job

Once you know why you’re doing it, you’ll have a better idea of what your goals are.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.” – Mark Twain

Start With Your Skills

At the heart of every business, and profession is the solution to a problem. If you can identify a problem that a group of people are having and solve it for them, you have the makings of a successful business.

Start with your current skill set. Everyone has skills, passions and talents in one area or another. What we fail to sometimes see is the ability for those skills to solve a problem for others in a meaningful way.

You can also ask family and friends to help you identify your skills. They may point out strengths you never considered. Keep in mind you don’t need to have mastered that skill yet, you can continue to learn and develop it as you go along. Ray Higdon a successful business man says to “Invest, learn then teach”.

Invest in yourself and improving your skills, learn more about your niche, and creating solutions to their problems, then teach others what you’ve learned.

Once you’ve got that down, the next step is doing some research. What problems are people having that you could use your current skill set to help solve? This is where picking a niche comes in handy. A niche refers to a small specialized portion of the population.

Let’s say, you’re a stay at home parent, and one of your skills is cooking healthy family meals that your kids enjoy. Your niche will likely be stay at home parents. You can then narrow down your search by checking forums and website or magazines that target stay at home parents.

“If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax.” – Christian Louboutin

What To Look For in Your Research?

Look for pain points and problems, especially those that are recurring. You may find that cooking healthy meals is not necessarily where parents are struggling, maybe it’s with purchasing healthy foods or the cost (money and time) of healthy meals. You want to look at the questions people are asking, and take note of the language they use to describe their problems. Nutritious vs. healthy. Quick vs. easy.

Finally, take note of products that offer solutions to those problems. These offer ideas to you about ways in which you can present your solution; Youtube channels, specialized cookbooks, how-to guides, online courses, etc.

By the time you’ve followed all these steps, you would have established 3 things:

  1. A monetizable skill set — You know what your skills are and how you can use them
  2. Proof of a Need — People have a problem that you can solve, and now you know who they are.
  3. A Profitable Market — If people are buying said cookbooks, or paying for products, this shows you that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

This is the beginning of any business. Fast Food restaurants offer quick meals on the go, Walmart puts everything in one place so people don’t have to travel to different stores, books entertain or instruct, cars transport and save time. At the heart of every product and business is a need, and you are now on your way to creating a solution that people are already looking for!

What is a business you want to start? Share your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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7 Essential Email Marketing Tips You Need to Implement Into Your Business Today

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While Email might seem like a fading beauty, this technological dinosaur continues to be the preferred method of communication for the digital age. The rise of smartphones and mobile devices has only added to emails popularity by putting constant communication right in the palm of our hands.

In fact, According to Custora, Email marketing was the biggest driver of Black Friday transactions last fall, with 25.1% of sales originating from email promotions.

With that in mind, here are some tips that are guaranteed to take your Email Marketing to a whole new level:

1. One Element, One Job

Most people try and do way too much with their emails, and you may be guilty of this as well. Follow the simple rule of making each element of your email do just one job, and your emails will become much more effective. The subject line of your email, for example, exists for one reason only: To get your email opened. Your subject line doesn’t need to explain what’s in the email. It doesn’t need to sell, or get clicks. It JUST needs to get your email opened.

That’s it’s job. The body copy of your email exists just for the purposes of getting clicks. That’s it. Each element has its proper place, and if you just make sure they do their job, you’ll see great results.

2. Keep It Short And Sweet

People are busy, and their attention span is limited…So always remember that you’re writing an email, not Homer’s Odyssey. Remember, the body of your email has one job: To get the reader to click. So say what you have to say, keep it short and sweet, and get them to click away from the inbox, and moving along the path towards where you want them.

“Good content is a commodity, great content is a scarcity.”

3. Train Your Subscribers To Click

Every email you write – Every single one – Should have a link in it that your readers can click on, and a call to action encouraging them to do so. If you’re selling something, obviously you would include a link, but if you are sharing content, or telling a story (which is fine, because people love stories) make sure to tell SOME of the story, then offer a link to read the conclusion on a web page or blog.

Link to videos, or other things the reader might find inspiring. Link to your help desk! Whatever it is, you want to train your readers to see your emails, open them, read them, and then CLICK.

4. Be Consistent

Consistency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds comfort and trust. And comfortable, trusting people buy stuff! Try opening and closing all your emails with the same introduction and the same sign off. Create a mailing calendar and try emailing the same days every week, or mailing at the same time everyday.

Much like bars offer a happy hour at the same time everyday, maybe you can send a “daily deal” email every afternoon or a weekly summary email. Whatever it is you decide to do, once you decide to do it, be CONSISTENT.

5. Personalize, {name}

Personalization fields are extremely powerful. Multiple studies have shown that the single most powerful word in any language is someone’s OWN name. And so of course, personalization fields that allow you to address your reader by name are incredibly effective. Campaign Monitor has reported that Marketers who use personalization in their subject lines see 26% more opens.

You can also use personalization fields to mention what time it is (no matter where someone is) what city or country someone is in. Even what they’ve bought in previous transactions!

“Email Acquisition is like cutting hair, must happen regularly, can be done well, but one bad experience can scar forever.” – David Baker

6. Segment Your Lists

Modern autoresponders are a miracle of analytical data and automation opportunities. You now have the ability to easily segment your lists, and you should. Separate your prospects from your buyers. Separate buyers by product or category, so you can follow up with smart emails that sell upgrades or related products! You can even separate people who opened and read previous emails from those who haven’t, so you can follow up with people who opened your emails, read them, and clicked, from those who didn’t.

7. Tell Stories

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication known to man. Stories have been used throughout time to pass lore and culture down from generation to generation. And from a marketing standpoint, stories offer a glimpse into who you are, or what your business stands for and how it works.

This information might seem mundane to you, but an outsider will find it fascinating. And as a result, the ability to tell stories will dramatically improve your marketing. If you’re new to storytelling, start by finding friends or co-workers who are particularly fun or engaging. Pay attention to how they command a room through stories and anecdotes. Look for local storytelling events so you can attend, and listen in as master storytellers share their craft.

These 7 tips should drastically improve your email marketing. Start implementing them and be sure to share your results.

What other email marketing strategies would you add to this list? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Ugly Truth About Success and Why You’re Not Achieving It

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As human beings, most of us have this tendency to overcomplicate things. Maybe you’ve had this experience of trying to find success, but for some reason, it keeps eluding you.  In our pursuit to win, hardly anyone tells us the ugly truth about why most of our dreams seem to evade us. (more…)

I used to be homeless and now run a six figure business with my partner and travel the world. My journey to help those in need has taken me from non-profit director to supporting holistic entrepreneurs have a life of freedom. I run the Thriving Launch Podcast, which features the most influential leaders in the areas of love, spirituality, business, and success. It's my mission to help heart-centered entrepreneurs get their message heard. Learn more on at my website ThrivingLaunch.com (http://www.thrivinglaunch.com/)

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Tim

    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Tim,
    Great article. I have been racking my brain of late looming for ways to create a startup out of an already existing family retail business. I feel that there is a niche market that we are not tapping into yet and with a little innovation we could increase sales and receive more feedback from clients. I’m trying to create an engaging social media environment around the business so that customers feel that the are not just clients but part of a club.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Tim love the way that you are thinking, and you can definitely achieve it with a family business. Your job is even easier than most because you already have a platform with a customer base. Think to yourself, what can you do that would make your customers love you and tell all their friends.

  2. Tim Denning

    Feb 3, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for reaching out Tasia all the way from the Carribean (one of my favourite spots) I’m glad the article got you thinking. Don’t let the word startup bother you as it’s all positive. It used to give me a weird feeling too until I realised that it means you have a massive advantage. Startups are able to pivot quickly, innovate and run ideas at a very low cost. Having worked for a large company, I now appreciate how important this is. Big companies just can’t operate like a startup so they can’t be nearly as innovative.

    Bad service equals a massive opportunity for you so don’t see it as a negative at all. Keep in touch and let us know how your startup journey goes.

    Much Respect

  3. Tasia

    Feb 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Whenever I hear the word Startup, I get panicky (ask me why I can’t tell you).

    Your post shows me the error of my thinking. I love the insights and it brings to mind the many ways down here in the Caribbean where improvements are sorely needed to provide better service in a lot of areas.

    Thanks for the post and I’ll certainly refer to it as I ruminate on a few ideas circulating in my head.

  4. Jane Pryor

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Hi Tim.

    Thank you for your article and insights into startups now.

    Funnily enough, it’s Australia Day today (26 January) and we took the family out for a drive and a lunch near the bay. I booked online and got a confirmation emailed to me within 30 minutes. When we arrived, however, they not only did not have our booking, made an explanation (excuse) as to why this was (the receptionist is only part time – not our problem) and seated us inside, away from the entertainment and seabreeze. I queried whether we could sit outside until those people arrived but was told a firm “no”, not possible, and even received some, what I would only call, an affronted reaction from the staff member that I was questioning this.
    Our meals were served timely but all but one meal was poor quality and three of us didn’t finish our meal.

    I’m astonished that, at such a city iconic venue, that the establishment can rely on such poor service and continue to make a profit. Imagine if a few things were improved: booking service; on site personality; quality of food; opportunity for feedback.

    My point to this is that good ol’ customer service seems to be well and truly on the back burner for many businesses and that, if they’re not careful and sensible, will lose out to places like the local fish and chip shop who have people with personality and caring.

    Not that I want to be in the hospitality business, but, from my example above, if there was another similar business to open up nearby and to include the attributable improvements I’ve mentioned above, there is no reason why they shouldn’t outperform this original restaurant.

    I’m taking onboard your suggestions to apply to my own experience and taking a well thought out chance; and jumping in.
    Cheers for now and happy intrepreneuring.

    Jane

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 2, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Thanks for taking the time to reply Jane, I couldn’t agree with you more. Bad service is everywhere and as long as you have the mindset that this creates opportunity, you will do well.

      If you put customers first and you try and add value to them, you will become a magnet for success. At the same time don’t make the mistake of trying to sign up everyone. Focus on good quality clients that bring you a good return so that you can have the resources to provide them with outstanding quality and service.

  5. Tim Denning

    Jan 20, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Would love to hear where you made your mistakes Mary if you’re willing to share.

  6. mary okungu

    Jan 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

    very tourching stories indeed i now realize whare i made mistake and the reason as to why have not been successefull,thank you for sharing with us.mary from kenya

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Startups

5 Ways to Avoid Burning Out While Building Your Business

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Isn’t it strange how mundane things can bring back really vivid memories? As the burnt toast hit the trash, I remembered how burn out meant my first online business ended up on the scrapheap (nearly taking me with it). 

Juggling a full-time job, family, volunteering and running an online business left me physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted. Just like toast, the burn creeps in slowly and when complete, you’re left unable to nourish yourself or anything else.

You may have already heard run-of-the-mill advice like taking regular breaks to prevent burn out. But what’s the point of stepping away from work only to be stressed that things will fall apart?

Here are five not-so-obvious ways to become burn out proof:

1. Create the right systems

Having no systems (or the wrong systems) is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, systems get a bad rap because they can be seen as snooze fests. Who’s ever heard of a sexy system? I sure haven’t!

To make matters worse, traditional systems have a sterile and stuffy image that can make some entrepreneurs feel boxed into something that’s unsuitable for their needs.

The key to making systems work for your business is to design them with flexibility, so your creativity isn’t stifled. Systems that curb burn out are those that account for the ‘secret sauce’ of how you do business. This ensures authenticity, even when your business grows. I call these flexible and personalized systems ‘productivity recipes.’ Because, just like normal recipes, you have the core ingredients and you can make tweaks to suit your business taste.

We’re all different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all business system. Productivity recipes focus on the human side of systems. They bring order to repetitive tasks while taking into account the quirks that make your business unique.

Productivity recipes stop burn out by preventing you from biting off more than you can chew, especially when your business is growing.

2. Get apps ‘talking’ to each other

Automation is another way to hand over repetitive and stressful work. Services like IFTTT and Zapier connect the apps you use to automate your workflow. In other words, they get rid of the biggest time sucks in your business.

Part of creating productivity recipes is to spot tasks you can automate. This will help your business run like a well-oiled machine and save you money when outsourcing.

Start out automating everyday tasks, like social media and email management, by finding out how the apps can ‘talk’ to each other.

Do yourself (and your health) a favour and start to create productivity recipes to see what you can automate. The aim is to drop repetitive tasks like a hot potato to reduce the risk of burnt out. Get your apps communicating to free up time to chat with friends and family.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates

3. Outsource

Outsourcing should be done when you already have productivity recipes in place. It’s tempting to hand over parts of your business to a VA or freelancer and forget about it, but this approach could land you in hot water.

With productivity recipes, anyone you hire will have the blueprint of how you expect things to be done. You’ll also save time getting new hires up to speed. Most importantly, your clients won’t get any nasty surprises or unwelcome changes when you grow your team.

You’ll be able to take time out to recharge your batteries, having all the confidence that your business will continue to function properly in your absence.

4. Find some cheerleaders

Being part of a supportive group is crucial to making yourself burn out proof. Informal groups, like Facebook communities, are helpful networks that can prevent you going down the burn out road.

If you’ve been working non-stop and your brain feels as limp as the lettuce in the sandwich you’ve been too busy to eat, connect with people who can identify with where you are and encourage you to take a step back.

The best groups are those that aren’t strictly business. Look for a group with dedicated days for sharing things like inspirational quotes and jokes to lighten things up a little.

Feeling like you’re the only one who experiences overwhelm can be a lonely place. Being part of a community where people share their struggles helps to provide perspective that you can achieve your goals without compromising your health.

“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” – Misty Copeland

5. Inject your personality into your passion

When you’re passionate about your work, it seems like you can work day and night without ever feeling tired. Of course, it’s advisable to make time for proper rest. I’ve found that, the more I enjoy work, the more I look after myself to reduce the risks of becoming ill. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive to avoid burn out. I’m also a huge foodie. That’s why I incorporate food and drink analogies in my work because being fed and watered is something we can all relate to.

Injecting your personality into your work makes everything easier. It’s very draining pretending to be someone you’re not. If you’re already pursuing your passion, add a splash of your personality to reduce the chance of burn out.

Suffering from burn out is a serious setback to your health and business. It’s a relief to know that, unlike the burnt toast that ends up in the trash, you can make a full recovery from burn out. But why take the risk in the first place? Put in place practical measures to avoid getting burnt when the heat is turned up in your business.

It’s good to share. What do you put in place to make sure you don’t burn out? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

How do you avoid burning out when things get tough? Let us know by commenting below!

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3 Lessons I Learned From the Failure of My First Startup

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You’re exhausted. You’ve put countless of hours into an idea that you believed in so much. Literally almost blood, sweat and tears were sacrificed for this vision to be accomplished. You had hoped and expected for a lot of things, and was excited to have plans for the future.

A few months ago, I wrote an article here titled, “What I Learned After Opening My First Business at 21.” My restaurant was doing well that time, and writing that article made me feel on top of the world. I thought that it was going to be that way for a long time, yet not so long after that, sales started to become stagnant and then declined.

As I write this today, my restaurant has already stopped operations. It stopped a few days ago, but a couple months back, I knew it was bound to happen. We couldn’t keep up with the bills we needed to pay, and they kept accumulating day by day. With a heavy heart and chaotic mind, we knew we had to close it down.

I couldn’t believe this was happening barely one year after starting operations. But if you were to ask me that if I had the chance to start over, would I do it again? I would still say yes. Despite its failure, there were still very important (also expensive) lessons that I learned that I would never have acquired otherwise if I didn’t start the business.

Here are a few lessons I learned after failing my first startup:

1. Entrepreneurship requires resilience

You cannot ever be successful if you haven’t developed resilience. Whether you like it or not, something will turn out wrong in your business. Maybe sometimes not to the point that it needs to be shut down, but something that could make your decisions critical to your organization goals.

You could give yourself time to grieve, but it shouldn’t stop there. Life goes on. And you need to get back on your feet if you still want to make a difference. The biggest companies that are successful right now all experienced a massive amount of failure.

But they never stopped trying. Because with every failure comes a lesson. Anyone with common sense would learn from that failure, and start again with more knowledge on what to do and what not to do.

Whenever I thought about the accumulated debts of my restaurant, I would have this sinking feeling in my chest and stomach. I knew that I would have to liquidate the assets. So I continued to search for buyers of the assets.

Instead of grieving for a much longer period, I knew I’d have to pick myself back up again so I could pay the debt. It might be hard at first, but if you call yourself an entrepreneur, quitting is not an option. We fail, we learn, then get back up.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

2. Learn to listen

Being a first-time founder, I had a very idealistic attitude. I had no experience in the food industry and established the business with only the belief that my partners and I would make it. I was wrong.

Aside from not being able to make it with that business, I realized what the naysayers had been telling me all along. But you have to be careful here. There are naysayers who have no credibility to back up what they say and want to bring you down. But there are also ones who speak from experience and are genuinely concerned for you. You must learn to discern the right voices to listen to if you want to succeed.

Taking risks is good, but make sure those risks are calculated and not reckless. We took a risk that wasn’t entirely reckless, but not all aspects of them were calculated. We were unsure of some parts of the business, and just “winged” it. Look at what happened to winging it!

Know when you need to jump with both feet or just one, but also listen to the voices who tell you when to put your feet in the water. Trust me, you never know when you will value their input.

3. Your failures do not define you

I never thought this would take a toll on my self-esteem, even when I knew I had to get back up. On the outside I looked normal. Going to school, work, and social settings looking like nothing had happened. But inside I was a wreck and didn’t want to admit it.

I would feel guilty whenever people would praise me about how “successful” I was at such a young age but that wasn’t true. For a while I thought that I was the failure. My insecurities started haunting me again and my browser history was filled with questions on what to do.

That was when I discovered that successful people failed more often than they succeeded. Even the ones with smaller businesses had their fair share of failures before finding an idea that worked for them.

But their failures never got to their heart. They weren’t the failures. The business failed, not them. So they tried again until they got it right. Maybe this business didn’t work out for me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never be successful. The sooner you believe your failures don’t define you, the more the weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

People fail every single day. The difference between the ones who succeed and those who don’t is persistence and the drive to continue even after failing. It’s much better to try and fail than never having to start and learn nothing.

“Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble.” – Shah Rukh Khan

Have you ever started a business that eventually failed? What did you learn from it? Please leave your experiences below!
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Want A Business Idea That’s Guaranteed To Make You Money? Here’s How You Should Start.

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Let’s first start off with the “why”. When you know why you’re doing something, it can create clarity in your tasks, and direct your efforts. So, grab a sheet of paper, or a notebook and let’s get started.

Answer this question: Why do I want to start a business? Here are some common answers.

  • to do something I love
  • to create financial freedom so I can, “fill in the blank” (travel, pay off debts, buy expensive things, etc.)
  • to have the freedom to set my hours, choose when I work and what I work on
  • to help others, using my skills
  • I hate my job

Once you know why you’re doing it, you’ll have a better idea of what your goals are.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.” – Mark Twain

Start With Your Skills

At the heart of every business, and profession is the solution to a problem. If you can identify a problem that a group of people are having and solve it for them, you have the makings of a successful business.

Start with your current skill set. Everyone has skills, passions and talents in one area or another. What we fail to sometimes see is the ability for those skills to solve a problem for others in a meaningful way.

You can also ask family and friends to help you identify your skills. They may point out strengths you never considered. Keep in mind you don’t need to have mastered that skill yet, you can continue to learn and develop it as you go along. Ray Higdon a successful business man says to “Invest, learn then teach”.

Invest in yourself and improving your skills, learn more about your niche, and creating solutions to their problems, then teach others what you’ve learned.

Once you’ve got that down, the next step is doing some research. What problems are people having that you could use your current skill set to help solve? This is where picking a niche comes in handy. A niche refers to a small specialized portion of the population.

Let’s say, you’re a stay at home parent, and one of your skills is cooking healthy family meals that your kids enjoy. Your niche will likely be stay at home parents. You can then narrow down your search by checking forums and website or magazines that target stay at home parents.

“If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax.” – Christian Louboutin

What To Look For in Your Research?

Look for pain points and problems, especially those that are recurring. You may find that cooking healthy meals is not necessarily where parents are struggling, maybe it’s with purchasing healthy foods or the cost (money and time) of healthy meals. You want to look at the questions people are asking, and take note of the language they use to describe their problems. Nutritious vs. healthy. Quick vs. easy.

Finally, take note of products that offer solutions to those problems. These offer ideas to you about ways in which you can present your solution; Youtube channels, specialized cookbooks, how-to guides, online courses, etc.

By the time you’ve followed all these steps, you would have established 3 things:

  1. A monetizable skill set — You know what your skills are and how you can use them
  2. Proof of a Need — People have a problem that you can solve, and now you know who they are.
  3. A Profitable Market — If people are buying said cookbooks, or paying for products, this shows you that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

This is the beginning of any business. Fast Food restaurants offer quick meals on the go, Walmart puts everything in one place so people don’t have to travel to different stores, books entertain or instruct, cars transport and save time. At the heart of every product and business is a need, and you are now on your way to creating a solution that people are already looking for!

What is a business you want to start? Share your thoughts below!

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7 Essential Email Marketing Tips You Need to Implement Into Your Business Today

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While Email might seem like a fading beauty, this technological dinosaur continues to be the preferred method of communication for the digital age. The rise of smartphones and mobile devices has only added to emails popularity by putting constant communication right in the palm of our hands.

In fact, According to Custora, Email marketing was the biggest driver of Black Friday transactions last fall, with 25.1% of sales originating from email promotions.

With that in mind, here are some tips that are guaranteed to take your Email Marketing to a whole new level:

1. One Element, One Job

Most people try and do way too much with their emails, and you may be guilty of this as well. Follow the simple rule of making each element of your email do just one job, and your emails will become much more effective. The subject line of your email, for example, exists for one reason only: To get your email opened. Your subject line doesn’t need to explain what’s in the email. It doesn’t need to sell, or get clicks. It JUST needs to get your email opened.

That’s it’s job. The body copy of your email exists just for the purposes of getting clicks. That’s it. Each element has its proper place, and if you just make sure they do their job, you’ll see great results.

2. Keep It Short And Sweet

People are busy, and their attention span is limited…So always remember that you’re writing an email, not Homer’s Odyssey. Remember, the body of your email has one job: To get the reader to click. So say what you have to say, keep it short and sweet, and get them to click away from the inbox, and moving along the path towards where you want them.

“Good content is a commodity, great content is a scarcity.”

3. Train Your Subscribers To Click

Every email you write – Every single one – Should have a link in it that your readers can click on, and a call to action encouraging them to do so. If you’re selling something, obviously you would include a link, but if you are sharing content, or telling a story (which is fine, because people love stories) make sure to tell SOME of the story, then offer a link to read the conclusion on a web page or blog.

Link to videos, or other things the reader might find inspiring. Link to your help desk! Whatever it is, you want to train your readers to see your emails, open them, read them, and then CLICK.

4. Be Consistent

Consistency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds comfort and trust. And comfortable, trusting people buy stuff! Try opening and closing all your emails with the same introduction and the same sign off. Create a mailing calendar and try emailing the same days every week, or mailing at the same time everyday.

Much like bars offer a happy hour at the same time everyday, maybe you can send a “daily deal” email every afternoon or a weekly summary email. Whatever it is you decide to do, once you decide to do it, be CONSISTENT.

5. Personalize, {name}

Personalization fields are extremely powerful. Multiple studies have shown that the single most powerful word in any language is someone’s OWN name. And so of course, personalization fields that allow you to address your reader by name are incredibly effective. Campaign Monitor has reported that Marketers who use personalization in their subject lines see 26% more opens.

You can also use personalization fields to mention what time it is (no matter where someone is) what city or country someone is in. Even what they’ve bought in previous transactions!

“Email Acquisition is like cutting hair, must happen regularly, can be done well, but one bad experience can scar forever.” – David Baker

6. Segment Your Lists

Modern autoresponders are a miracle of analytical data and automation opportunities. You now have the ability to easily segment your lists, and you should. Separate your prospects from your buyers. Separate buyers by product or category, so you can follow up with smart emails that sell upgrades or related products! You can even separate people who opened and read previous emails from those who haven’t, so you can follow up with people who opened your emails, read them, and clicked, from those who didn’t.

7. Tell Stories

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication known to man. Stories have been used throughout time to pass lore and culture down from generation to generation. And from a marketing standpoint, stories offer a glimpse into who you are, or what your business stands for and how it works.

This information might seem mundane to you, but an outsider will find it fascinating. And as a result, the ability to tell stories will dramatically improve your marketing. If you’re new to storytelling, start by finding friends or co-workers who are particularly fun or engaging. Pay attention to how they command a room through stories and anecdotes. Look for local storytelling events so you can attend, and listen in as master storytellers share their craft.

These 7 tips should drastically improve your email marketing. Start implementing them and be sure to share your results.

What other email marketing strategies would you add to this list? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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