5 Tips to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

Being a successful business owner or entrepreneur isn’t easy. And getting started is pretty challenging. In this episode I give you 5 tips to help you succeed along the way.

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Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

In today’s episode I’m going to give you five tips on being an entrepreneur. During the pandemic so many people have approached me with business ideas. Now they have time right everybody has time their home, whether they’re working from home or they’re unemployed or they’re just taking care of their kids. They’re finding themselves with the time they finally craved in the past 20 years to finally create that business, whether it’s a mobile app, or a physical product, an e commerce store, a brick and mortar business which I would say is not a good idea right now because most stores are closing down that opening up. So if you want to be an entrepreneur. When it comes to technology and I’m going to base this around technology because most businesses today are starting online, not in person because, again, the pandemic. But these five tips go way back I’ve been saying these forever and the first one, if you’re going to build an app, or a website or anything that is technology based, learn how to code. Now, I don’t mean you have to be like the best programmer in the world.

You don’t have to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but you should take some basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript classes, there’s a lot of them for free online. You’ll find someone at Codecademy and Khan Academy and there’s so many websites and tutorials just go on google and type in HTML, CSS, JavaScript tutorials or free courses, you’ll find a bunch of them. Once you get the basics down you should learn how to build a basic website, and how to interact with the database. Now, if you don’t want to do this because it is kind of next level. Maybe just learn how to use WordPress. If you learn how to use WordPress. And I don’t mean wordpress.com I mean, installing WordPress on your own host server and then interacting with WordPress that way. There’s a lot of templates you can work with.

There’s a ton of plugins out there so you can create a lot of functionality without actually building it. But if I were you, and you’re going to build an actual platform that people are going to use, not just an e-commerce site. But let’s say the next Instagram. You should learn how to build a basic website that connects to a database, and this way you can build what’s called an MVP, a minimum viable product. And if you try to get programmers to join your team to make your platform scalable and like much better more popular full of features, there’ll be impressed that you built an MVP on your own, without having any coding knowledge prior plus one of the reasons why I always tell people to learn how to code or to at least build a prototype, so that you can show it to people. Right. Once you can show people your prototype they can give you feedback, and you might even get some early adopters, some beta testers, friends and family are great but you want to show it to people you don’t know as well, because they’re going to be truthful.

Tip number two on being an entrepreneur, whether it’s technology or not, you need to learn how to use social media effectively and I don’t mean posting a picture on Facebook or posting a video on Instagram. I mean you have to really look at what’s trending in the world, online. What are the popular Twitter tags, what is newsworthy, what is google trending right now. And based on what’s trending. you can start to base your content around these trending topics on a weekly or monthly basis. This will drive more eyeballs to your offerings. Now, of course, you want to make sure you’re not just, you know, picking a trending topic like let’s say the trending topic this week is how airlines are doing really well. Well if your startup has to do with clothing. I mean I’m not exactly sure how you can tie it in with airlines but if you can get creative maybe you can say the most comfortable clothing to wear on your next trip. Right, so maybe you can figure out a way to do that. That’s a smart move, looking at trending topics, and then using social media. Now, don’t forget, choosing the right keywords.

Choosing the right platforms, maybe Pinterest is not for you, maybe it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, maybe tik tok maybe it’s all about short form videos for you maybe your medium is very visual. So you need to show it, and get people to make content for you as well. And I probably don’t have to say this, you should already know this but just in case you don’t, you should have a blog, and you should be posting content on your blog at least once a week, regarding these trending topics, tying them into your products. So tip number three ties this all together, you have your website, you have your platform, you have your social media pages and your blog, and now you need something like Google Analytics to start figuring out what’s happening on all of these platforms, especially your website. You put a code into your website and you can see who’s coming to your website, how long they’re staying there, what their demographic is, their age range, their gender. You know where they were before they came to your website, that kind of thing.

Google Analytics is very important because you need data to drive your decisions. If you find that most of the people coming to visit your site are say 28 years old. Well, you’re not going to be advertising to 58 year old people, you’re going to be advertising to the people in their 20s because that’s who’s coming to your site. Same goes for if people are in their 50s, well you’re not going to advertise to people in their 20s, because that’s not who’s coming to your site. So you want to kind of stick to your niche market, make it bigger, and then later other people will come, of course, but to stick to your niche market, and definitely use data to drive your decisions. It’s very important. One of the things I like about Google Analytics or other analytic programs, is you can use spreadsheets, right, you can export your information from the analytics programs, and you can look at it in spreadsheets and charts. And that’s important, you want to see daily growth weekly growth monthly growth, something in the tech world is called da us and may use its daily active users and monthly active users. You can even drill it down to weekly active users.

These are the people that are coming to your site or your platform or your app on a daily basis on a weekly basis and on a monthly basis and they keep returning. You want to see that return rate, because if you’re if you have a very low return rate, then why are they coming back when something’s wrong? Use your data to figure out why. Tip number four is to network as much as possible. Now, This is an old tip. And this goes back before the pandemic when there were a lot of tech events where you can meet people in person. Things have shifted to online now because it’s all about zoom video meetings and, you know, emailing and now it’s even probably easier because everyone’s at home, and a lot of investors are at home, a lot of company founders are at home everybody’s working from home for the most part, and so it’s a lot easier to get a hold of them, I think, because the people that I’ve been talking to recently in the past eight months. It’s been a lot easier to get them on the phone, get a zoom, or Skype video call with them. They answer my emails a lot quicker.

I’ve noticed it’s much easier so now’s a good chance for you to form relationships. Now, I’m not saying you should go out there, asking investors for money. That’s always a bad idea. You do want to ask investors for feedback and suggestions. They love to tell you what they think about your product or your business because of their experience so they feel like they can help you in some way without having to give you money. The cool part about this is if you do talk to enough investors about your products, and they give you feedback and suggestions and then of course they’re going to ask you questions. When you give them the answers. If they answer if they like your answers. They might actually say well are you looking for money. So you might actually get an investor to invest in your business if they like your answers.

Another great thing about networking online is you can get people to try your platform. So say you’re on a zoom call with someone and they know what your website is or your platform, and then you start talking about a certain feature. And then you say to them. Well hey if you wouldn’t mind trying it out I can show it to you while you’re trying. Well, now that you have them on video you can see that they’re actually downloading your app, installing it and trying it. Right. And now, you kind of just got a new user right and you can get their feedback, live I mean, there’s no better time for this. So, definitely start getting feedback from people on video calls, make a group call have it like 10 people, and have everybody download your app, and try it out and get user feedback live offer an Amazon gift card as a prize to the person with the best feedback or a prize for arraign up just choose someone at random out of the 10 people at the end of each call and they get a $10 amazon gift card, or whatever. And this incentivizes people to actually try your product, but you also get killer feedback. And the fifth tip to being an entrepreneur is that you have to be able to tell a great story in a short amount of time.

This is what you would call an elevator pitch for example. Now, even though you should be bootstrapping your business and not asking investors for money, you still should be able to clearly tell your story in 30 seconds or less, and the kicker is you need to be able to tell a friend or family, or a complete stranger your idea, without them knowing about technology. So you have to kind of explain it as if the person is four years old, because you might just go right past them. For example, let’s say you have like a biomedical startup and your pitch is like, I’m totally going to make this up, I don’t know much about biomedical so don’t hold me to the accuracy. But let’s say you invented a new brain stem technology platform, kind of like what Elon Musk is doing. Your pitch would be something like a brain stem technology, our intro of ocular technology bypasses the neural networks that span wide arrays of neurons and electrons. And by integrating electronic feedback loops, with silicon resistors, we’re able to tap into the virtual environments within the brain synapses. So like, people are gonna be like what the hell are you talking about, maybe like. So you have to make it so that it’s really easy to understand. And there are actually four things you want to do when your pitch. There’s four topics you want to say or four points you want to hit, and they are the name of the company like what’s your company. What does the company do? Do you know what it actually does? What problem does it solve? And then what’s the solution or what benefit does it give people, and why should people use it. So I’m going to make one up now that right on the fly here. That is easy for people to understand and it makes a lot of sense. And I’m going to pick something that everybody has already probably seen or heard, to make it easier on myself and I’m going to do something like a dog walking app. Okay.

Go Fido is a dog walking app that helps disabled or elderly people walk their dogs on a daily basis. By making the app super simple, our users will have an easy time finding the right person to walk fighter. Now I think anybody can understand what the app does, it’s a very simple dog walking app for people who are disabled or elderly because maybe they can’t see well or maybe they don’t know how to use the phone or maybe they have impairments. Right, so I’m basically saying this app has a focus on people who have issues using normal apps. And people will immediately understand what the app does that helps them find people to walk their dog and their neighborhood. So that’s how you want to do a pitch. You want to make it a very simple problem solution. What the app does, and if you can do all this, and my other tips, you’re going to be on your way to be an entrepreneur. Now of course I can tell you another 20 tips of being an entrepreneur, but these are just some of the basics and I think that this is a good starting point for anybody who wants to go into business. Hopefully it helps you out.



Jason Sherman