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10 Ways to Ensure the Success of your Start-up

10 Ways to Ensure the Success of your Start-up

Start-ups. They can bring you millions of dollars or debts. It seems like everybody has a start-up these days. Which is good! Entrepreneurs understand entrepreneurs.

People who put their ideas into action and get out there with a business that actually helps the world… eventually, make it to the Fortune lists, the Forbes lists and the Wealthiest lists.

Sadly, a lot of start-ups crash and burn well before then. Here’s how you can avoid the wreckage:

1. Delegate

There’s too much to do in a day. From marketing to web design and SEO, branding, providing social media content, updating your subscribers/email list with ARS. Not to mention developing and executing your plan, preparing for the market. Ah! It’s enough to derail any sane mind.

Several platforms you may have heard of include ProBlogger, Upwork, Guru, for your freelancing needs. Treading these murky waters tends to be hit or miss when it comes to the quality you need.

The point remains: nobody can do everything all by themselves. That’s why Tony Robbins, a successful businessman and author, delegate less-important tasks. Save what’s vital for yourself. It’s not your job to take the whole world on your shoulders.

2. Have A Concrete-Solid Plan

You can’t get to where you need to be, without knowing where it is you’re going. How do you figure that out? It’s time to get analytical.

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Draw out a map – a brainstorm, if you will. From point A to point B: right now, where are you? Where do you want to be? What will it take to get there? (Be sure to leave no stone unturned.)

Whether it’s learning how to program in a day or being ballsy enough to stare yourself in a mirror, and answer the hardest questions you’re asking yourself… if you’re successful at minute details, you’ve found a way to make entrepreneurship your metaphorical “slave”.

3. Work Ethic

Instead of giving value to JFK’s quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” a lot of people seem to be into “What can everyone do for me?”

Here’s the key to working hard: it is a necessity. Nobody will get anywhere by playing games three, four hours a day. Same goes for Netflix and YouTube. The people in life who are on the millionaire fast lane with their start-up businesses – the people whose names ring out all over the land… do not indulge their instant gratification.

I personally have trouble turning off video games. But, if I want to be anything more than a forgotten speck along posterity’s eternal breath… I’ve got to stop. Same goes for you.

4. Develop Thick Skin

Complaints will happen. It doesn’t matter what – some people out there just love to complain and listen to their own voice. When you launch and review initial feedback, there’s going to be a backlash. It’s inevitable. There is nothing anyone has ever created that’s escaped the vicious whip of “I hate this.”

And if you have to brush it off, that’s what you must do. At least, brush off feelings that may arise about, say, feeling personally attacked.

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One way to look at negative feedback is, looking at it like a platform for improvement. People tell you directly what’s wrong, so you fix it.

5. Invent Twitter and Blogger

Every time you start a company – and I’ve started five or six – you have the opportunity to screw up in whole new ways.
Evan Williams

The social media mogul who not only created Blogger – kicking off the launch for a revolution in our online communications (“online” is practically synonymous with blogging) but Twitter, as well.

Do something new, just like Evan did.

Clearly, Evan Williams knows how to punch history in the face and leave his mark. He was only able to do this after drafting and following his own rules.

6. Stay In The Game

This is a rule in life, not just for start-ups. You have to stay in the game.

Anybody can quit. A lot of people do quit. They quit their business, they quit the struggle for a better, richer life. They quit on themselves.

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This is what separates successful business owners from… everyone else.

The willingness to persevere is key – in life, love, and business.

Justin Kan, the co-founder of Twitch.tv, says: “90% of start-ups fail because the founders get bored, discouraged, or something else, and they move on to other things.”

If you’re starting something, you should believe in it. This is your LIFE we’re talking about, right now. Jumping one ship and onto another two weeks from now is a waste of time, money, and resources.

7. Ignore Naysayers

People love to criticize and argue. Everyone is an expert on something. You could be Jesus Christ reincarnated and you’ll be insulted.

Because the truth is, you can turn bad feedback into something good. Turning “this product lacked a way to X” into “now I can X and this product is great!”

Every now and then, though, people are going to tell you that you can’t do something. We invent a hundred and a million reasons for not doing something new. A lot of the times, the people who tell you “no” are the people who gave up on their own dreams a long time ago.

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It’s the sad, flabby “If I can’t have goals and desires, no one can” sack of pitiful waste. I’ve seen it over, and over, and over. It has no place in your life. Get rid of it. Get rid of the people it comes from.

8. What’s Your Exit Strategy?

Have an exit strategy when it’s time to sell. It is never a wrong time to have an exit strategy. YouTube sold itself to Google, do you remember that? Do you think YT’s co-founders ever thought that would happen?

Business is an art: and requires strategic moves to make your business look sexy to people looking to own it. Know when to sell your start-up to acquire maximum profit.

9. Evaluate Your Strengths

Being a jack-of-all-trades rarely works. Really settle into a niche you know for certain you can dominate, and superglue your time and effort to it. What can you do that your colleagues and competitors can’t? Utilize that; you’re an asset.

Evaluating your strengths just may help you single out your weaknesses – which is awesome. The most successful business owners always improve themselves. Knowing just where you can improve? It’s a win-win.

10. “Just Sell The Damn Thing”

What this means is: stop thinking, stop analyzing, and just get down in the trenches and grind yourself to the bone. Roll up those shirts and get to making those hours of plans a reality.

Why make money tomorrow when you can make money today? Get it done. Do it, for yourself. For the people who need you.

Last Word of Advice

I hope you’re in this for the long haul – because it is a massively time-consuming business, running a business. I hope you keep your head down, grind hard, and see a fortune doing what you love.

Featured photo credit: pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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