The tl;dr: There are too many things that distract entrepreneur when starting a company — get in front of customers, and do it immediately.
You are doing this to yourself.
Having a big list of things to get done in the early stages of starting a company is a recipe for disaster.
I know this because, after years of working with entrepreneurs, I’ve seen the damage that comes from a lack of focus.
Don’t blame yourself. There is a metric ton of poor advice out there. Some of that information is ill-conceived. Much of it is fantasy (otherwise known as…
Who else feels like they’re pushing a five-hundred-pound boulder up a hill?
Everywhere I look, teams are having to do more with less.
Learn new technology, find more leads, extend reach, master more, deliver, deliver, deliver.
We’re doing twice the work to get half the return.
Tell me this isn’t the state of marketing in 2021.
What no one wants to admit is that despite a global reach and more tools than the original madmen could have ever conceived, marketing has fundamentally changed. The entire process has been democratized. …
My father used to say, if you do the same as everyone else, you get the same as everyone else gets.
Yet another reinforcement of his belief that it was hard work that made a difference in life.
You want to succeed, you put in the hours, you grind that stone, you do more than the other guy ( and gals ), and if you do, you’ll get ahead.
He wasn’t wrong ( don’t tell him I said that ). But I’m not sure he was entirely correct either.
When I look around and see my peers, my friends and…
My all-time favourite piece of marketing copy is from 1958.
David Ogilvy ( the master ), for Rolls Royce.
“At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”
Eighteen words to tell the story of luxury.
Only eighteen words to demonstrate how much care went into making a Rolls Royce. A single line told the story of how elegant it was to drive this car, and how refined you were to own one.
Ogilvy was the master. If you’ve never read any of his books, you should. …
Do you know the definition of the word respect?
Quick, what is it?
I’ve asked a few people this question over the last few days, and while everyone has an answer, two things become clear.
First, everyone I asked had a hard time articulating a definition clearly.
Second, and perhaps more important, respect means different things to different people.
The dictionary.com definition?
Respect: To hold in esteem or honour, or to show regard or consideration for.
Is that close to what came to mind for you?
It got me thinking, is respect what we really should be aiming for? Is…
I want to give you permission.
I want you to know that it is alright to create a thing and for that thing not to make money.
Money is good. Building a business, caring for it, feeding it, watching it grow…and then making money from it is a fabulous thing. I’ve started a handful of companies, and while they were stressful, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world.
Not every idea is significant. Not every concept has a broad audience, and indeed, not all offerings can attract a paying audience.
Honestly, most ideas aren’t good.
But you know…
The businesses that I’ve been a part of all started the same way.
Some number of us, sitting around, having an increasingly passionate conversation about possibilities.
Of building something, the world has never seen. Or solving a problem in a new way. Or building a team with the skill and experience to make world-changing things for other people.
Whatever the market, and however, the genesis, there is always a story to be told.
So what story do you tell?
Does it sound like every other story out there? Is it full of catchy buzzwords, or simple promises of success? Is…
One of the best marketers I’ve ever known was a garbage human.
He was a screamer. A dilettante. A user of fear.
He worked people to the bone, berated them repeatedly and took every opportunity to line his own pocket.
He was a pain in the ass to be around, arrogant and insufferable.
Unless you were a customer.
To the customers, he was a golden god.
He remembered their names. He remembered the wine they liked. He asked how their kids/businesses/families/ dogs were doing. He comped food if diners were unhappy, and rewarded loyalty by gifting comping regularly. …
I used to say that when it came to exercise, I would only run if I was being chased.
For me, exercise was always about playing team sports. The getting fit part was simply a side effect of competition. Then, I lost the ability to do those things.
A less than well-maintained soccer field and a divot landed me with a blown Achilles. Forget sports, I had a hard time walking for most of the following year.
When I was finally cleared for more than walking, I was extremely scared of hurting myself again. So instead, I took up running.
So hard, that my go-to answer when someone asks me whether or not I think they should start a company around an idea, is don’t.
The folks that can’t be convinced, are the ones that have a shot. These outliers will fight through the darkness, push through when progress looks impossible, and stay strong when all seems lost.
These are the people who succeed.
To you, folks. The fighters. The challengers. The round pegs in square holes. I want to give you one piece of advice.
Make it easier on yourself, figure out your story, and figure it out early.