Tuesday, May 23, 2017
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The dictionary describes a cabinet as a council advising a president or sovereign especially a group of ministers or executives responsible for the government of a nation.
A PassionProfit cabinet serves the same purpose with the exception that they are an advisory board or sounding board and are not responsible of the decisions you make. A business requires many skills and you will not always have all of them. Instead of trying to acquire all the skills you can engage other professionals and agree on compensation. I use the word compensation lightly. It doesn’t always have to be money. You can trade skills or pay their meal. On terms of engagement, be flexible and make your own rules. If you network strategically it will be easier to set up your business. Some of the people you can consider are:
A mentor
Someone who is excelling in your industry and is willing to meet with you at least once a month. He/she should ensure that you are not steering off course. The mentor needs to be in the same field as you. He/she should not to view you as a threat or competitor.
Sales & marketing genius
Many entrepreneurs are absorbed with their product or service and assume that everyone will like it. However, the sales and marketing guru can help you determine your unique selling proposition, how you can market it and help you come up with a sales and marketing strategy. This will ensure that you are making targeted hits that bring in money.
The PR queen or king
This person will help you position your product or service appropriately. He/she will guide you on the networking events, conferences or expos available which align with your company. The more people know, like and use your product the more referrals you are likely to get. This cannot happen with you sitting behind your computer, you will need to get out and the PR queen or king can come to your rescue.
The numbers guy or gal
Like it or not, business is all about the numbers making sense. At the beginning, entrepreneurs don’t pay too much attention on how they set up accounting systems whereby it can later disrupt the operations of the organization. The numbers guy or gal will be able to help you make sense of the numbers and keep you safe with KRA.
The talent manager
This person can help you with the hiring process. He/she will know where to find the best talent, how to interview, on-boarding new hires, off-boarding wrong hires and developing employee policies and procedures.
IT geek
Having a website is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The first thing people do when they engage with you is “Google” you. It is understandable that not all of us enjoy the wonder of the World Wide Web; however that is no excuse not to have a website and some social media presence. The IT Geek can help you set up what is most appropriate for your organization and help you manage your presence on the Internet.
A strategist
This person is normally good at writing concept papers, proposals and business plans. You will need all these at some point in your business and having a strategist in your cabinet is necessary.
A lawyer
Getting an experienced lawyer on-board will mitigate potential harm you on your business. A lawyer will help you define the different business relationships therefore it is important to find one conversant with commercial law and who is not too familiar with you so that you can take his/her counsel seriously.

Richard-Branson todaystrend

World’s richest woman Gina Rinehart is enduring a media firestorm over an article in which she takes the “jealous” middle class to task for “drinking, or smoking and socializing” rather than working to earn their own fortune.

What if she has a point?

Steve Siebold, author of “How Rich People Think,” spent nearly three decades interviewing millionaires around the world to find out what separates them from everyone else. It had little to do with money itself, he told Business Insider. It was about their mentality. “[The middle class] tells people to be happy with what they have,” he said. “And on the whole, most people are steeped in fear when it comes to money.”

Average people think MONEY is the root of all evil. Rich people believe POVERTY is the root of all evil.

“The average person has been brainwashed to believe rich people are lucky or dishonest,” Siebold writes. That’s why there’s a certain shame that comes along with “getting rich” in lower-income communities. “The world class knows that while having money doesn’t guarantee happiness, it does make your life easier and more enjoyable.”

Average people think selfishness is a vice. Rich people think selfishness is a virtue.

“The rich go out there and try to make themselves happy. They don’t try to pretend to save the world,” Siebold told Business Insider. The problem is that middle class people see that as a negative––and it’s keeping them poor, he writes. “If you’re not taking care of you, you’re not in a position to help anyone else. You can’t give what you don’t have.”

Average people have a lottery mentality. Rich people have an action mentality.

“While the masses are waiting to pick the right numbers and praying for prosperity, the great ones are solving problems,” Siebold writes. “The hero [middle class people] are waiting for may be God, government, their boss or their spouse. It’s the average person’s level of thinking that breeds this approach to life and living while the clock keeps ticking away.”

Average people think the road to riches is paved with formal education. Rich people believe in acquiring specific knowledge.

“Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge,” he writes. “Meanwhile, the masses are convinced that master’s degrees and doctorates are the way to wealth, mostly because they are trapped in the linear line of thought that holds them back from higher levels of consciousness…The wealthy aren’t interested in the means, only the end.”

Average people long for the good old days. Rich people dream of the future.

“Self-made millionaires get rich because they’re willing to bet on themselves and project their dreams, goals and ideas into an unknown future,” Siebold writes. “People who believe their best days are behind them rarely get rich, and often struggle with unhappiness and depression.”

Average people see money through the eyes of emotion. Rich people think about money logically.

“An ordinarily smart, well-educated and otherwise successful person can be instantly transformed into a fear-based, scarcity driven thinker whose greatest financial aspiration is to retire comfortably,” he writes. “The world class sees money for what it is and what it’s not, through the eyes of logic. The great ones know money is a critical tool that presents options and opportunities.”

Average people earn money doing things they don’t love. Rich people follow their passion.

“To the average person, it looks like the rich are working all the time,” Siebold says. “But one of the smartest strategies of the world class is doing what they love and finding a way to get paid for it.”On the other hand, middle class take jobs they don’t enjoy “because they need the money and they’ve been trained in school and conditioned by society to live in a linear thinking world that equates earning money with physical or mental effort.”

Average people set low expectations so they’re never disappointed. Rich people are up for the challenge.

“Psychologists and other mental health experts often advise people to set low expectations for their life to ensure they are not disappointed,” Siebold writes. “No one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations.”

Average people believe you have to DO something to get rich. Rich people believe you have to BE something to get rich.

“That’s why people like Donald Trump go from millionaire to nine billion dollars in debt and come back richer than ever,” he writes. “While the masses are fixated on the doing and the immediate results of their actions, the great ones are learning and growing from every experience, whether it’s a success or a failure, knowing their true reward is becoming a human success machine that eventually produces outstanding results.”

Average people believe you need money to make money. Rich people use other people’s money.

Linear thought might tell people to make money in order to earn more, but Siebold says the rich aren’t afraid to fund their future from other people’s pockets.

“Rich people know not being solvent enough to personally afford something is not relevant. The real question is, ‘Is this worth buying, investing in, or pursuing?’” he writes.

Average people believe the markets are driven by logic and strategy. Rich people know they’re driven by emotion and greed.

Investing successfully in the stock market isn’t just about a fancy math formula. “The rich know that the primary emotions that drive financial markets are fear and greed, and they factor this into all trades and trends they observe,” Siebold writes. “This knowledge of human nature and its overlapping impact on trading give them strategic advantage in building greater wealth through leverage.”

Average people live beyond their means. Rich people live below theirs.

“Here’s how to live below your means and tap into the secret wealthy people have used for centuries: Get rich so you can afford to,” he writes. “The rich live below their means, not because they’re so savvy, but because they make so much money that they can afford to live like royalty while still having a king’s ransom socked away for the future.”

Average people teach their children how to survive. Rich people teach their kids to get rich.

Rich parents teach their kids from an early age about the world of “haves” and “have-nots,” Siebold says. Even he admits many people have argued that he’s supporting the idea of elitism. He disagrees. “[People] say parents are teaching their kids to look down on the masses because they’re poor. This isn’t true,” he writes. “What they’re teaching their kids is to see the world through the eyes of objective reality––the way society really is.” If children understand wealth early on, they’ll be more likely to strive for it later in life.

Average people let money stress them out. Rich people find peace of mind in wealth.

The reason wealthy people earn more wealth is that they’re not afraid to admit that money can solve most problems, Siebold says. “[The middle class] sees money as a never-ending necessary evil that must be endured as part of life. The world class sees money as the great liberator, and with enough of it, they are able to purchase financial peace of mind.”

Average people would rather be entertained than educated. Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.

While the rich don’t put much stock in furthering wealth through formal education, they appreciate the power of learning long after college is over, Siebold says. “Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful,” he writes. “The middle class reads novels, tabloids and entertainment magazines.”

Average people think rich people are snobs. Rich people just want to surround themselves with like-minded people.

The negative money mentality poisoning the middle class is what keeps the rich hanging out with the rich, he says. “[Rich people] can’t afford the messages of doom and gloom,” he writes. “This is often misinterpreted by the masses as snobbery. Labeling the world class as snobs is another way the middle class finds to feel better bout themselves and their chosen path of mediocrity.”

Average people focus on saving. Rich people focus on earning.

Siebold theorizes that the wealthy focus on what they’ll gain by taking risks, rather than how to save what they have. “The masses are so focused on clipping coupons and living frugally they miss major opportunities,” he writes. “Even in the midst of a cash flow crisis, the rich reject the nickle and dime thinking of the masses. They are the masters of focusing their mental energy where it belongs: on the big money.”

Average people play it safe with money. Rich people know when to take risks.

“Leverage is the watchword of the rich,” Siebold writes. “Every investor loses money on occasion, but the world class knows no matter what happens, they will aways be able to earn more.”

Average people love to be comfortable. Rich people find comfort in uncertainty.

For the most part, it takes guts to take the risks necessary to make it as a millionaire––a challenge most middle class thinkers aren’t comfortable living with. “Physical, psychological, and emotional comfort is the primary goal of the middle class mindset,” Siebold writes. World class thinkers learn early on that becoming a millionaire isn’t easy and the need for comfort can be devastating. They learn to be comfortable while operating in a state of ongoing uncertainty.”

Average people never make the connection between money and health. Rich people know money can save your life.

While the middle class squabbles over the virtues of Obamacare and their company’s health plan, the super wealthy are enrolled in a super elite “boutique medical care” association, Siebold says. “They pay a substantial yearly membership fee that guarantees them 24-hour access to a private physician who only serves a small group of members,” he writes. “Some wealthy neighborhoods have implemented this strategy and even require the physician to live in the neighborhood.”

Average people believe they must choose between a great family and being rich. Rich people know you can have it all.

The idea the wealth must come at the expense of family time is nothing but a “cop-out”, Siebold says. “The masses have been brainwashed to believe it’s an either/or equation,” he writes. “The rich know you can have anything you want if you approach the challenge with a mindset rooted in love and abundance.”

todaystrend.in

People often throw around the term business model in discussing startups.

But just what is a business model? Which ones work best and why? How do you know if your startup has the right one?

A business model explains which consumer pain your startup chooses to relieve, why your solution works better than competing ones and how big a wedge a company can drive between what customers are willing to pay and the costs.

I recently spent three hours with some clients, executives from Beijing, to discuss these questions: I presented several business models and their financial benefits.

After sharing the idea of the business model canvas, developed by Alexander Osterwalder to help entrepreneurs design a customized business model, I gave the Chinese executives an hour to “paint” a new business idea. (We did not use the interactive tool; they wrote their choices on a white board and addressed the class in Chinese. With the help of a translator, I asked follow-up questions.)

They did so brilliantly, picking two business ideas that clearly passed these three tests.

Read on for a quick review of the six most interesting business models I presented, some of which they found inspiring.

1. Hold a reverse auction. In a reverse auction, extremely price-sensitive buyers name their price for a service. If the seller accepts the price, the buyers must commit to the seller’s terms.

That’s the service that Priceline offers to desperate, price-sensitive travelers who give up convenience for the lowest price on accommodations, rental cars and airline tickets.

Priceline profits because plenty of consumers feel they are winning with their bid that’s just a tad higher than a price that would be too low for Priceline’s suppliers to accept.

And Priceline’s financial statistics reveal the greatness of this business model: 22 percent revenue growth, 50 percent profit growth and a 46 percent increase in stock price on average over the last decade. Priceline’s revenue per employee (it has 9,500) has been about $716,000, roughly six times the leisure industry’s average.

2. Orchestrate demand aggregation. Assemble all the sellers and buyers for some stuff in the same virtual location. This will give sellers the deepest pool of buyers and vice versa. That’s the idea behind eBay, of course, and it keeps working because buyers and sellers give each other very tough ratings and the use of PayPal provides a level of security in case things don’t work out.

The financial results for eBay indicate that this model works but it’s hardly a booming one. On average over the last decade, the company’s revenue grew 17 percent, profit climbed 14 percent, and the stock price rose a mere 5 percent. The company’s revenue per employee (with 33,500 in total) was about $479,000, roughly 40 percent more than the retail industry’s average.

3. Cut prices to gain an industry share and profit later. Target a huge market and sell a product at the lowest price with fast delivery and great service. As the company grows, expand the product line, negotiate volume discounts with suppliers, invest in technology to speed up customer-response time and cut waste from the operations. Then deliver the lower costs to customers in the form of lower prices.

That’s Amazon’s business model and it has let the company grow at a 27 percent annual rate over the last decade to $74 billion and its stock has risen on average 22 percent a year. While Amazon’s revenue is about $634,000 for each of its 117,300 employees, its net profit margin is a minuscule 0.37 percent.

4. Set up a modern franchise business. Figure out how to run a local retailer and turn this business wisdom into a system that can be sold to entrepreneurs around the world. Find hungry entrepreneurs who share this vision, sell them a business handbook, train them and let them handle the burden of finding new locations and leasing land.

That simple idea is what Ray Kroc turned into a gold mine of golden arches. Operating in 100 countries, McDonald’s has experienced just a 4 percent revenue growth over the last decade but its stock price has climbed 13 percent annually. Of the company’s $26 billion in sales, a considerable chunk, 20 percent, goes to the bottom line. The company is people intensive: Revenue per employee (with 440,000 in total) averages slightly less than $64,000.

5. Offer a product at the highest price. Find customers whose survival depends on a product that nobody else can provide. Then charge them half a million dollars a year to use it.

That’s what Alexion Pharmaceuticals does. In the U.S., 8,000 people have a disease that causes their immune systems to wipe out their red blood cells every night. Some of these people arrange for insurance companies or the U.S. government to pay $569,000 a year so they can take Alexion’s Soliris to stay alive.

It’s a great business model. In the last decade, Alexion’s stock has soared 2,250 percent a year and its revenues have spiked 106 percent annually to $1.6 billion, with 16 percent of that going to the bottom line. Its revenue per employee (with 1,774 employees in total) is on average more than $874,000.

6. Set up person-to-person exchanges. A company has a couple of cars that sit in the garage for all but three days a month. Some young professionals living in the city need a car seven days a week to commute and do errands. Find trustworthy people who will pay to drive those cars, and both sides will be better off.

That’s the idea behind person-to-person business models. It seems to be working for Airbnb. With 600,000 listings in 34,000 cities, Airbnb has people pay 3 percent to list their accommodations and the renters fork over 6 percent to 12 percent. With a quarter billion in revenue, Airbnb was recently valued at $10 billion.

Would one or a combination of these six ideas work for your startup?

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to reflect the fact that Airbnb has listings in 34,000 cities not in 33,000 countries.

todaystrend.in success

Want to Become the Most Interesting Person Around? Start With These 7 Steps.

To be sure, I’m not referring to the silver fox from the Dos Equis beer commercials, who once ran a marathon just because it was on his way, whose organ donor card lists his beard and who speaks fluent French — in Russian.

The bar doesn’t have to be that high.

In a noisy world where personal branding is a professional imperative and where we constantly compete with equally qualified rivals for clients, jobs, promotions, assignments or funding, not to mention admiration and affection, being just a little more interesting and memorable can be the deciding factor in our favor.

The following list of seven rules should yield some promising results for those who want to up their game with some new skills and behaviors:

1. Master conversational skills. The ability to converse is a key competency for successful client pitches, board room presentations, management meetings and the myriad hallway conversations that influence major business decisions. Skillful small talk and more substantive conversations can make anyone more interesting, provided one has something interesting to say. To get better at it, widen your interests and learn about anything from current events to local issues. Keeping conversations balanced by showing sincere interest in others is critical. A report in Psychological Science cites a study that shows that people who engage in deeper, more substantive conversation are happier than those who keep interactions superficial. Happy people are definitely more interesting than miserable ones.

2. Learn to make a solid business case. Occasionally we get lucky. We ask for something — resources, money, time, support — and we get it. But for the most part, the higher the stakes, the more scrutiny our requests are under. Entrepreneurs, managers and executives who cannot make a solid business case, linking needs to strategic goals, detailing risks, opportunities and projected ROI, based on research and analysis, are discounted by the decision-makers who can green-light a project. By clearly showing value, telling a compelling business story and answering tough questions from stakeholders, we become valued players in a serious game.

3. Cultivate a reputation of expertise. Experts are in demand. Turn on any television channel and you can watch a parade of authorities in various domains give their perspective on healthcare, airline security, the economy and climate change, to name a few. Particularly in times of uncertainty, we corner the experts to get answers and find out what can be done to either avoid loss of some sort or make gains. If you’re more of a generalist, find ways to go deep into a subject matter that can benefit others, and share that information where needed. A key is to make specialized information accessible and easy to understand. Otherwise, you’ll notice eyes glazing over and confusion replacing curiosity.

4. Resolve conflict and dispute between others. In a recent executive coaching survey, CEOs mentioned “conflict-management skills” as their top priority. Being able to help others resolve disputes and conflicting agendas is not just an asset in the C-suite, where leaders have to manage the expectations of a multitude of stakeholders. Even among friends, those who can keep a cool head and balance reason and emotion when arguments threaten to spiral into conflict and hostility, have the respect and admiration of their peers.

5. Build relationships and connect with people. Whether we are individual contributors, startup entrepreneurs or corporate leaders, we need the help of others to accomplish our goals. Being an interesting person helps in building and managing relationships, but the reverse is also true. If we actively engage others, by, for example, inviting someone to lunch, involving a co-worker in a project, asking for a favor, offering support, or sincerely inquiring how someone is doing, we not only become visible, we become relevant. That’s the foundation of mutually gratifying relationships. Make it a goal to communicate authentically with others and become more interesting to them in the process.

6. Engage in active listening. Aside from the fact that engaged listening makes us better informed about people and issues, giving someone our full and undivided attention can have a profound effect on their perception of us. Listening attentively is a “giving” rather than a “taking.” Contrast this with the person who primarily keeps the focus on themselves and the difference becomes crystal clear. When we’re listened to, we matter. Those who do most of the talking believe they matter. We become more interesting when we listen to others.

7. Live life and share experiences. “Life is best lived inside, behind a desk,” said no one, ever. Our experiences and what we choose to share are what make others take an interest in us. People often live vicariously through the adventures of their more socially active peers. It doesn’t have to be running with the bulls in Barcelona — we easily become a little more interesting when we discuss experiences of enjoying a meal at an exotic new restaurant, learning a challenging skill like waterskiing or attending opening night at the museum.

Standing out in a positive way has wide-ranging benefits. These rules are merely a starting point as we manage ourselves to become the most interesting person in the world.

todaystrend.in entrepreneur

With an executive staffing venture about to open, a business loan from the in-laws gnawing at her conscience and a new baby to care for, Michelle Fish was already feeling the pressure. But what really pushed her over the edge was an unexpected communiqué from the IRS demanding immediate payment of a “huge sum” owed from a prior business in which she was a partner.Poof! Her seed money was gone. “All the spreadsheets, all the forecasting, all the preplanning took a back seat once that bill came,” recalls Fish, hearkening back to the 2003 launch of her Charlotte, N.C.-based firm, Integra Staffing.

Jeremy Ostermiller didn’t need a letter to know that he had to get his Denver-based media-tech startup, Altitude Digital, into the black fast or watch his future take a dispiriting U-turn. “I knew it had to be profitable,” he says. “I had put my last $500 into it, and I definitely didn’t want to move back in with my parents.”

A lightning-fast rise to profitability by their respective startups spared Fish and Ostermiller from going belly up. Neither has looked back since. Now a decade old, enjoying seven-figure annual revenues and flush with Fortune 500 corporate clients, Integra Staffing is the third-largest female-owned business in Charlotte, according to Fish. Meanwhile, 4-year-old Altitude Digital, which matches online content publishers with advertisers using an eBay-like bidding platform, is on target to generate $20 million in revenue this year.

Chances are, neither venture would be where it is today if not for the strategically sound groundwork laid by its founder prior to and right after launch. Trying to start a business and make it profitable in a matter of weeks isn’t for the squeamish. Nor is it always advisable. But it can be done. In fact, we’ve condensed the process into 10 intense, highly focused days. Call it our DIY accelerator to launching a business.

Read on to learn how Fish, Ostermiller and a handful of others did it fast–and, more important, did it right.

Day 1

Draw up a business plan

When launching College Hunks Hauling Junk in 2004, the first move for friends Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman was to dust off the business plan they’d written in college a couple of years prior. “Ultimately, it was a really valuable guide for us,” Friedman says. In fact, it helped turn their $80,000 initial investment ($30,000 of which was their own money) into a powerhouse with some 500 employees and 47 U.S. franchises.

Whether written on the back of a napkin or a highly detailed 25-page document, a business plan is critical for startups seeking the fast route to profitability, asserts Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE, a small-business mentoring organization that offers free, generic business-plan templates on its website.

Day 2

Study the market

Market research is vital to a startup looking to hit the ground running, according to Yancey. You want to create a snapshot of the competitive landscape you’re entering: how your products or services compare to what’s available, who your target customers are and what government regulations and licensing requirements to expect. The SBA’s SizeUp tool provides access to meaningful demographic data, mapping potential customers, competitors and suppliers, as well as identifying possible advertising avenues.

When he was preparing to launch National Storm Shelters in 2010, company president Jeff Turner conducted market research at trade shows and held discussions with potential customers and competitors. This confirmed what his instincts told him: that he had a winning product. The Smyrna, Tenn.-based company, which designs, manufactures and installs above- and below-ground safe rooms and storm shelters, was profitable virtually since day one and now generates about $1.5 million in annual sales.

As valuable as prelaunch research and planning can be, beware of paralysis by over-analysis, especially when you lack the luxury of time, cautions Fish from Integra Staffing. “Defining your sandbox is important. But don’t over-think or over-plan, and don’t put a lot of stock in sales forecasts.”

You’re bound to have questions about strategy and practicalities leading up to launch. To get answers without ringing up an expensive consulting tab, enlist someone with the acumen and willingness to provide advice, coaching and skills to augment those you lack. A former boss provided free advice to Ostermiller initially, then became a paid advisor once Altitude Digital could afford the expense.

Day 3

Build out your brand

A brand identity, including a name and a professional-looking logo, can bring instant legitimacy, even before launch. For DIYers, online tools like LogoMaker offer libraries of icons, color combinations and other elements to help develop a logo fast–no design expertise required. Services such as Logoworks are available if you want the work done for you quickly and inexpensively. Once you have your logo nailed down, take your file to a quick-turnaround print service for letterhead, business cards and marketing collateral such as posters, mailers and sales sheets.

In most cases, startups need some kind of web presence to solidify their brand identity (see “The quick-start startup” on page 20). Don’t forget to stake out a position on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. You may not use social media right now, but you want to plant your flag ASAP.

Day 4

Incorporate the business

The nature of the startup dictates the extent to which it should rely on an attorney to incorporate, trademark ideas/products, formalize partnership agreements, etc. While it’s best to let an attorney tackle any complex legal matters, Friedman of College Hunks Hauling Junk suggests considering some of the numerous online tools available to help you handle simple undertakings yourself. “Our first bill from an attorney to set up an LLC was $1,500. Little did we know we could have done that ourselves for $300 online,” he says.

Day 5

Set up a lean machine

With the clock ticking toward launch, Ostermiller needed help. He found it on Craigslist, taking on two unpaid interns (both recent college grads) whom he immediately put to work–one on sales and one on operations–with the promise to hire them full time after 90 days if things went well.

With no office yet, Ostermiller’s interns worked from coffee shops while he did so from his kitchen table. Likewise, Friedman’s parents’ basement served as the first office for College Hunks Hauling Junk. For Fish and Integra Staffing, a modest office, spartanly furnished with used furniture, sufficed. From the outset, she says, the goal was to “minimize the monthly burn.”

Another tip: Beware the glowing promises of efficiency and speed from shiny new technology and software. “Unless technology is part of your core competency, you need to be careful how much you invest in technology early on, because it can become very expensive very quickly,” Friedman says. “You really need to fine-tune your model before investing a lot in technology solutions.”

Day 6

Start selling

Bringing in profits means making sales. Ostermiller and his interns chased leads even before his company launched officially. Fish’s sales efforts began with tireless networking. “I didn’t have any money then, so I got my ass out of the chair and into the community,” she says. “Any event in town with more than 25 people, I was there. Breakfast, lunch or dinner–it didn’t matter.”

To lay the marketing and sales groundwork for his startup, Friedman let people in his personal network know about his new venture. “We had a support network, a group of cheerleaders who were really inspired to help us with our idea before we launched.”

Day 7

Work the media

To generate buzz and sales, make media relations a priority. As Turner and Friedman discovered, media outreach by a business owner can pay quick and substantial dividends. “I called different TV stations the first day we went to market to tell them about [National Storm Shelters] and ended up on the 5 o’clock news,” Turner says. “That was huge!”

Similarly, right around the time of its launch, College Hunks got a major boost from an article that landed in The Washington Post thanks to Friedman placing a call to a reporter there. “We shot high, and it got us on the front page of the Metro section,” he says. “Our phone rang off the hook from that article.”

Day 8

Fake it to make it

Success is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. However modest your beginnings, however short your track record, think big and act like you belong. “We were scraping by, but we walked, talked and acted like a bigger company,” Friedman says.

College Hunks launched with an 800 number, a memorable logo and a website that provided e-mail addresses for a range of company departments (pr@…, marketing@…, HR@…), all of which funneled back to Friedman and his partner. “It made us look like we were an established business,” Friedman says. “Having that image not only gave us confidence, it established a level of credibility and confidence in the consumer’s mind. I think that’s what got us those large corporate accounts early on.”

Fish took a different tack. She says she invested in a receptionist prior to launch, primarily to impart a sense of professionalism to callers.

Day 9

Work in and on your business

For startup entrepreneurs, the fast route to profitability often means working in and on the business concurrently–at least in the first days and weeks. It’s a constant battle for time between hustling up new business and taking care of new customers with outstanding service. “We were at the dump at 5 a.m., doing all the physical stuff, while also doing all the customer-facing stuff whenever we could,” Friedman says.

When the day-to-day workload from the business becomes too heavy–a good sign, because it means you have customers–it’s time to move tasks such as strategic planning, hiring and marketing programs to the back burner. Focus on generating cash flow first, Friedman suggests.

Day 10

Throw a party

With the foundation for your business set, invite your network of contacts, vendors, friends, family, customers and prospects to a grand-opening celebration to generate buzz and goodwill within your community. Doing so solidifies your image, telling people you’re open for business and you mean it.

At the party, take a breath, sip some champagne, make a speech thanking everyone who’s helped and seek feedback from your guests. In short order, you’ve created your first focus group, one that will likely provide you with a laundry list of tweaks, ideas and improvements that you can start on tomorrow.

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