We are continuing to discuss ideas and how to get from that lightbulb moment to a successful business. We’re joined by Colin, Jeffrey, Michele, and our guest speaker Guy Cooper, who give us an insight into what they believe is important when starting up and launching a company.
Let’s be honest, the list from idea to action is endless, the process is exhausting (and exciting), and it’s one thing after another, but with these simple tips from our hosts and guest speaker Guy Cooper, you may feel a little more at ease with knowing what to do and how to go about setting up your startup.
It may be worth getting a checklist ready to add these pointers to our previous session on ‘ideas to actions’ and list the advice from the speakers on stage to help you with your journey.
Get the right people
Guy Cooper is an executive coach who recommends aligning your values and your priorities with your business partner. Guy believes this is one of the first places to start when building a whole new business.
He asks, “What are your principles? What are you aligned to? What’s your mission? You should have a ‘tight mission’ on how things are expedited in that process.”
Michele added, “The people in your business are key; the people in your business really make the business and drive the culture.”
Your work style, goals, and time needs to align with the partners and business collaborations you associate and work with.
What do you want the brand to mean?
Branding and marketing are very important components when it comes to your idea and your business. Getting both right and in line with how you want your brand to be presented and viewed by your customer is a huge chunk of how you go about launching your company.
Keeping on good terms with investors
“The person putting the money into the project is the deciding authority”
If you fail to put your investor first and have the money on the table ready to go, you may find the process of launching your startup a little rocky. Consider who is giving you the money and understand how your investor works. By understanding the profile of your investors, you’ll be able to build a professional relationship, making the process of ‘idea to action’ a lot easier and smoother for both parties.
The process of raising money for your startup is stressful. Michele recommends having an honest and open relationship with your investors. She said, “Having realistic expectations with your investors is absolutely critical!”
Michele says the investor needs to be able to trust who they’re putting their money into. Any failed relationship with an investor can be damaging.
Colin uses “Stage gates” to keep up to date with where the company should be at each stage of the setting up process, a guide that will keep things in order for both you and your investor.
Guy says that being competent is part of the process of bringing your ideas to life. Not only do you need to be competent in what you know, you need to be competent in what you don’t know. Have the confidence to speak up when you don’t know or understand something.
Having the confidence to own up to not knowing something is crucial to building your business relationships.
Ask someone to break it down so that you can understand something better and not be ashamed if you don’t understand something, you may even be respected more for admitting you don’t understand.
[00:00:05] All right, let’s kick it off. Wow. Last week we had an incredible show. When we brought up this idea of what are the first steps you need to take to get your idea to lawn. And today, if you’ve had experience launching ideas and you want to share what you’ve done to get those launched, please raise your hand.
[00:00:32] In addition, you may be stuck and you may not know exactly what the next steps are. Please raise your hand. This is all about getting your idea to start up launch to ultimate success. You’re on the serial entrepreneur. And I’m calling C Campbell. We’ve got Jeffrey sass. Um, we’ve got Michelle van Tilburg, racial lash, Brook, and guy Cooper.
[00:00:58] I’m just trying to remember the name guy. All right, that’s perfect. Um, it’s going to be a great hour, please raise your hand. It’s going to be very interactive. Michelle’s going to lead us, uh, as moderator today. Oh. And if you haven’t already done so checkout startup.club, we have a number of episodes that have been recorded from startup club, including this episode, every Friday at two o’clock Eastern, the serial entrepreneur hour, and we just launched the podcast.
[00:01:29] So right now, everything that is on everyone who talks on stage agrees to recording, but also recognizes that they’re going to bet out on Spotify. All right. Excellent. Thank you everyone for coming to the session. So we’re, we really want to do this kind of rapid fire. I see, you know, several people are raising their hands already.
[00:01:58] So what we’ll do is, um, we’re going to give maybe a couple of samples stories from Jeffrey and from guy, and then we’re hopping right into your questions. So what we ask you to do when you come to the stage is tell us what your ideas, but also tell us very quickly what stage you’re in of that idea. And then just jumped right directly to your question.
[00:02:27] And we want to do this so that we have enough time for everyone to.
[00:02:34] All the folks here on the stage and opportunity to give suggestions. So let’s dive right into it. And I’m going to start with guy guy. I, you know, I know you’re an executive coach, um, but do you have a story or an example that you can tell us about an idea that you launched or that you’re launching and, um, you know, what advice you would give to all of us here on how to just get it off the ground from this great idea to actually something that’s a plan.
[00:03:06] I like to say a plan in motion, actually, you know, you’re working on it. So guide, let’s go with you first. Um, you know, we’re going to try to do this rather, you know, fast. So guys. Thank you, Michelle and Collin. So when I was 21, I a lodged in auto repair service and I launched that service to actually teach consumers how to ask the right questions and recognize the right answers so they could have control on the outcome when it came to auto repair.
[00:03:35] So they didn’t feel like they were ripped off or they weren’t sure if the service was good in that because of a lack of communication. Well, when I launched this service and, and move forward, as I was taking care of clients, I had a guy that was next to me that had. For probably 10 years or so. Um, triple my size, triple my revenue, triple my equipment and tools.
[00:03:58] And he was willing to allow me to use whatever I needed at any time. Well, all the time he saw how I took care of clients. And I thought that he was unsavory a little bit and he said, Hey, we should come in align. We should partner as we move to do business. And it was a really tough conversation, but I knew I needed to have the conversation around alignment because my principles and philosophy didn’t align with his, um, he was unsavory.
[00:04:23] He may have even sold drugs and he had unsavory clients and that was completely the opposite of what I was bringing to the industry. So immediately I had to have that alignment conversation and that I would say that’s one of the places where you need to start. Once you had your idea, you had to figure out what, you know, what aligns with what you’re trying to do.
[00:04:44] And as you take on people, as you move forward, We are the alignments there. What are your principles? What do you stand for? Right. And be able to stand on what you stand for. I had to do that there. You know, what, what are your, what’s your mission? You should have a tight mission on how things get done and expedited in that process.
[00:05:03] There you go. Oh my gosh. That was great advice. I couldn’t agree with you more. Um, you know, for us, a lot of times we say here, you know, we also run a startup incubator. It’s actually called start up stock club. In addition to the startup club is, you know, the human element, people in your business, they really are key.
[00:05:27] They really are what makes and drives the culture and makes you successful. So I love guy that you were, you know, really what I take away from that in your alignment, you know, monster. Is that you’re, you know, you’re getting the right people, right. And if they don’t think, you know, even the smallest things, if they’ve, maybe they want to keep it a mom and pop shop, that’s much different than growing to be, you know, um, an international franchise, for example, it takes a whole different skillset obviously, but also takes a whole different level of, you know, work style and goals and time.
[00:06:12] So that, that was a really great example. Thank you guy. Thank you, Michelle. Awesome. I’ll jump in right now. I, I just, um, I haven’t even closed on it. We bought a, uh, the, a beach home in north Captiva and the first thing we did the family got around together and it’s a vacation rental home is we brainstormed names for this vacation rental.
[00:06:37] And we ended up coming up with sunset escape. It’s on the Gulf of Mexico. And we, um, the next thing I did is, oh, what do I need to do now? I’m going to register a domain name. So I registered, um, uh, uh, sunset escape.club, uh, happened to be biased towards the.club domain extension, but, uh, for some reason, uh, but I actually think it works really well for a vacation.
[00:07:02] You know, for location rental business. So we called it sunset escape.club. And then the next thing I did was I went to my graphics designer and I got them to make me a logo that we’re going to put on the golf carts and we’ll put a sign on the building, et cetera, et cetera. So those were some of the first steps I’ve taken and we haven’t even closed the deal yet.
[00:07:20] We closed them two weeks. All right. Awesome. So, so Colin, it, you know, he led with marketing and brands. And, uh, you know, you’ve told us a little bit about this around the office, but I think that’s, you know, something for us all to think about is really what do you want the brand to mean? And not in a fancy I’m hiring old oblivion, you know, agency kind of thing, but, you know, just really think with those that are close to your idea, what you want it to mean and how it actually looks.
[00:07:56] Cause that really like, you know, branding is like the beacon and marketing is what you know is comes right after that to get you there. So, great advice. All right. Um, had Tesh had Tasha is in the audience here, he’s up and he’s ready to speak Tasha. We’d love to hear about your idea, what stage you’re in and how we could possibly help you.
[00:08:22] Uh, hi everybody. Uh, um, uh, good to see you, Mr. Uh, Campbell and Mr. Mr. Sass, uh, and Michelle and everybody good to be here in startup club. Thank you again for the opportunity. Uh, and my contribution is on this topic idea to launch serial entrepreneur is basically you need to be very, very persistent. Uh, the idea comes into your mind and until it materializes, there are many stages.
[00:08:52] Uh, how an idea incubates, just like a baby. Then it goes to different stages of infancy to other, uh, teenage to adulthood. And during this cycle, we need to make sure, uh, we are constantly investing our time and money, money within the idea until it materializes to the customer. And then, then, then to the, to the next stages of the product.
[00:09:14] So, so in the product life cycle, when the, when the idea actually spawned, uh, it needs to be accepted by the sponsor. The person who’s paying the money in the, in, in, in the project is the deciding. So in the, in the first stage of the project, you need to make sure that money is on the table and the people whom you’re selling the ideas to have a clear idea in terms of how much money is invested in, when it will be repaid.
[00:09:37] If the money is out of the table, out of the mind, then the idea will be free to spawn. If entrepreneurs are stuck with money, they will never be able to develop the idea. They will always be under pressure for the investor and they will not be able to take it to the next stage. Or the process will not be smooth.
[00:09:53] At every point, you need to know how much money is there, how much money is required and whom you need to repay. And the people who are giving you the money. Are they your parents? Have you earned them or are they investors? Uh, how hard they are, are the cutthroat. You need to have the profile ready. So once this idea, once the idea stages are created and the chapter is done and the sponsor has given a sign off, then it becomes a smooth battle.
[00:10:18] The 50% of the battle is won. So once the idea, uh, once the sponsor funding. Done. And the idea goes to the market or goes to the, goes to the lab. Uh, it gets generated. It gets tested in different environments.
[00:10:39] And once you have your niche audience, then you create those pockets of customers where you can fall back, retest your ideas, reaping them at the market, penetrate new markets, uh, go to new markets, select a market strategy, uh, and then make sure, uh, the, the profits are taking. So this, this is the different stages, which I talked to my students in India and a lot of entrepreneurs in India, I think, uh, once you’re able to master the product life cycle and, and the idea life cycle, and then you will be able to do more projects easily.
[00:11:13] At first, it’s going to be difficult. You will have challenges, people bringing you down competition, trying to kill you before you can come to the market. People won’t allow you to even. Not, they will give you any support. Your family may be naysayers, so you need to be really hard at it. Like mark Zuckerberg, you might have good cases.
[00:11:31] You might have people praying to attack your lab. So you need to keep going persistently. So I’ll stop here. Thank you for letting me contribute. Sorry for a long time. Thank you. yeah. I just want to pull, you know, something that you said out and, you know, the way I think of it is, you know, many of us, either we have our we’re in the process of raising money.
[00:11:57] Like something that you put there is so critical is having that open communication and honest, you know, expectations that you’ve set with your investors. Like really that’s like absolutely critical that can just like ruin everything, not just the business. You know, I I’m sure everybody here would agree is any investor you bring on you.
[00:12:28] You want them to be happy. You want them to feel like they made a good decision and invest in projects that you’re leading in the future. So really working beforehand and you know,
[00:12:45] not going sideways on them. It’s just not fair. There’s a lot of hard conversations, obviously that you might have to have, but it’s better to be open, honest and transparent than mislead them. You know, they’ve put a lot of trust in you and call and I see you’re off mute. I know you had an experience in the last few years with a project that you invested in, the folks went sideways.
[00:13:08] Like I’d love to hear your thoughts on, you know, you’re somebody who invests, like how do we like keep on good terms with our investors? Oh, wow. That’s a, let me think about that. Um, I do believe setting expectations is very important. I know with.club, we had a model whereby we would lose money. We lost money for the first five years in a row.
[00:13:32] It was an occurring revenue business. And every year the, the, the, the numbers would move by about a half million to a million dollars towards profitability and into profitability eventually before we sold it to GoDaddy. But setting those expectations was very important. Um, the one thing I will say, um, that might help also with investors is something called stage gates.
[00:13:54] And I did this with a company called shareholder blockchain and still on the web right now. Um, and so it’s a bit of an embarrassing story, but in the case of shareholder blockchain, uh, we decided to launch a platform to manage private stock. And the, uh, we set a stage gate here was the first round of funding.
[00:14:13] It was about $50,000. And I said, well, I want an MPP. For $50,000. And I had two individuals running it, a programmer and a lawyer, and they went and they set off two and a half months, three months later, they came back and they’re like out of money and they didn’t have the MVP. They had something, some other product or some other thought thoughts and some patents.
[00:14:38] And I said, guys, I’m shutting the company down. I was clear, I set a very clear stage gate. And if, if we’re going to hit it, we had to either massively pivot or I was going to shut it down. And I think with investors, having those stage gates, those goals, and they don’t need to be like massive goals. We’re talking about, if we don’t hit this stage gate, we’re either.
[00:15:01] Or we’re going to shut, shut this operation down or this idea down. Uh, the other thing that Hitesh I liked that you talked about was this early proof concept. Uh, we had a, um, a product, one of our companies. I won’t mention it because I’m not certain not quite ethical, this particular practice was, but, uh, what they had done the individual had done is he went on Facebook and started promoting and advertising and selling this product to see what our ROIs return on investment he could get from the advertising.
[00:15:31] Once he discovered that he then cancel all the orders, um, and determined whether or not based on that early proof, that he should manufacture design and manufacture that product. In that particular case, he did decide to do that. It turned out to be a big hit. So if you can establish an early proof, that is something that can help address.
[00:15:54] Yeah, I think that was really smart of you calling and, you know, I was, you know, peripherally close to it, the situation, it was hard, it was painful. Like you hate to like, as an investor, so to speak, you know, pull the rug. But you know, if you can, and if you can’t trust, you know, who you’re giving your money to.
[00:16:16] And I don’t mean this in a negative way towards those folks, but I mean, in a communication way, um, we actually had a session with Mr. Wonderful from shark tank on here on startup club a couple of weeks ago. That was one of his number one things that I really took away from the session. He was like, I understand, I understand that you’re going to be losing money.
[00:16:41] Are your projections for. But if you’re not communicating this with me, and I’m finding this out at the last minute that we’ve got a serious, very serious issue because your investors want the opportunity to help. They, they know it’s risky. So I think, you know, honestly, what’s your investors and really establishing and picking them that relationship is important.
[00:17:07] All right. Um, sub-product, we’d love to hear your idea where you are and what your question is.
[00:17:21] um, if you’re there, you need to unmute, okay. Okay. Hi Michelle. Hello? Yep. Okay. So, okay. All right. So, uh,
[00:18:10] So I’m able to get in. So Subrata are you able to speak now?
[00:18:20] The problem here? I keep rolling. I got you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. All right. So yeah. So my question here is, you know, for example, I have these, don’t do an idea last week. Now, if I take another idea in the same space, which is not my idea, but for example, if I talk about solar energy, now, if I please don’t do solar energy, what should be my next steps?
[00:18:45] You know? Uh, uh, so as to what should be the next matrix I should have, uh, to be able to pursue this idea of mine and how do I, so that’s what my question is, you know, one of the use of solar energy, is that correct? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. So, so one of the things I would recommend, um, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve, you’ve met ed a bit, by the way, she’s.
[00:19:14] On this, this code club has app and she’s in the solar space. He’s a solar printer, solo solar, not a solo, a solar entrepreneur. And she’ll be great to give advice. You should definitely just, just type her name in and follow her click on her bell or whatever, but she’s really good at the solar space. The idea of when you’re early on with these ideas, the idea of surrounding yourself with a group of advisors, whether they’re through clubhouse or whether they’re through people, you know, um, you know, obviously you want to try to develop a trusted circle.
[00:19:47] Um, and those advisors are people that you can really bounce your idea off. It can really sharpen the sword. I know I ha I belong to an organization called EO and every month, but the eight of us meet and talk about our different business ideas and our businesses and whatnot, and we help each other. I think it’s important to build a circle around you.
[00:20:06] Jeff, do you have anything else to add? Yeah, you know, one of the, the, the suggestions or tips I would add when you’re bringing an idea to launch is, you know, Colin mentioned having trusted advisors. In addition, you want those advisors to be people who have. And understanding and an interest in the space you’re going into, not just family and friends, because family and friends are inclined to give you positive feedback, which is not always truthful feedback.
[00:20:35] Um, so one way to do that is to establish potential partnerships early. So I was involved in a company a number of years ago called bar point.com. And when we started that company, you know, very early on, we had a very, very, very primitive sort of proof of concept that we had spent a little bit of money developing.
[00:20:53] Um, but we wanted to. See if this idea would take off and we were, the, the idea back then was in the barcode space. So, uh, bar point was, was, uh, uh, a platform where you could enter the barcode number for any product on your mobile phone. And this was before smartphones and get back product information, product reviews, comparative pricing, et cetera, and even purchase from certain vendors.
[00:21:19] So we went to symbol technologies, um, which at the time was the leading manufacturer. Barcode scanning hardware. They’re now owned by Motorola. And, um, we actually found someone within the cymbal organization to sort of be an advocate for what we were doing. And we kind of pitched them the idea. They really liked it.
[00:21:38] They thought it would be beneficial for barcodes. And they almost became like a unofficial adviser as we were developing things. And that eventually led to a formal partnership and eventually an investment from symbol, but having access to that person inside of symbol, inside an industry that was core to our idea, proved to be extremely helpful in helping us get it from that idea to actual launch.
[00:22:02] So looking for those advisors, not just amongst family and friends and trusted people, but from people who have an understanding of the industry, you’re trying to get into with your idea. I think can be very helpful
[00:22:17] if I could add to that. I want it. So Collins started by talking about trusted advisors and Jeff really talked about how to make sure those advisors. Uh, a solid enough to give you honest answers and really give you, uh, information that helped to move the ball forward. A subreddit. I would like to ask her just to make this balance that you, um, need to be very competent in this process.
[00:22:40] And competence is not necessarily knowing everything, but it’s knowing clearly what you know, and knowing what you don’t know. And if you see, if, if somebody’s starting to share something where you don’t really understand, or it doesn’t really make sense, do what I call poke the bees nest, where you post that business and ask more questions to get understanding and hug the bear, to make sure that you have clarity, because it’s what I’ve seen so often is people will see there’s something’s not accurate, or they don’t have enough information, but they don’t really want to make waves.
[00:23:13] So they don’t push any further to get more information. So for you to really move in the company, And what, you know, and, and be able to speak to that. And in what you don’t, you know, you don’t know have them, you know, if they’re an adviser, then they should have the wherewithal to be at a, break it down to where you could understand it don’t stand for less, you know, find other advisors.
[00:23:36] I that’s amazing advice. And it really does speak to being very direct, right? Like you’re really like empowering yourself so easy, you know, to let people kind of like talk over you. But, uh, you know, it’s really confidence, right? I think God is really like that confidence. Like, don’t feel bad if you don’t understand or get where they’re going, like really drill down.
[00:24:06] Absolutely you don’t, um, you know, you don’t have to know the information. You don’t have to know anything about the information that they’re speaking to, but if they’re speaking to it in their subject matter expert or an advisor, they hopefully they have the wherewithal to bit of break it down to where you can understand it.
[00:24:22] And there’s no harm in being able to say, I’m really not clear. This is not a place that I’m really as aware as I like to be. Can you help me to understand it? Um, they need to, you know, not have the pride and arrogance where they thought like, you should already know this and they should have the competence to better break it down at your level.
[00:24:39] So please don’t stand for less than that respectfully and professionally. That makes me respect a person. Really. It does so great, great advice from, um, guy. Okay. Um, so I think, and excuse me, if I’m wrong, say young, I believe that you are next on the state. Hello, Michelle? Uh, yes, I am saying, uh, I’m currently attending a university in Paris, uh, but I’ve always had this idea of, um, starting my own business.
[00:25:17] Uh, and I want to ultimately establish a global brand, like a, that’s like a fashionable gym brand, uh, that caters to, um, uh, fitness or lifestyle needs. Um, and I just, I just have a question about, um, so w like I, I have this idea and I’ve always thought that I should go to an MBA to find, um, where people could invest in my ideas, like to find investors.
[00:25:51] And I just want to know if that’s a good idea or, uh, or if there are better ideas, I should go.
[00:26:03] You know, one of the things about starting a business is, um, early on is trying to prove that you have a concept that’s investible. I would encourage you to try to at least develop some prototypes. Um, you may find that for your particular business, a Kickstarter campaign could work really well. And that provides some, some, some positive, um, elements of proof that you can actually, you actually have demand for your product.
[00:26:35] Um, but I would, if you could hold off getting investors, you know, it’s a shame when you see the show’s shark shark tank and you know, some of these deals, they take 20, 30% of the businesses for $50,000 and I’m thinking, do they realize that they just saw. I signed onto a 30% tax for the rest of their life or for the life of that business.
[00:26:59] Um, if you can prove the more you can do without getting investors the better off you’ll be for the long run and the happier you will be if you come in, if you try to bring in money too soon, that, or if you tried to bring investors too soon, that can, can cause issues. I will say that there are government, a lot of different countries have different government grants.
[00:27:21] I know there’s the SBA loan in the United States. Um, I think they call it something else in Canada. There are organizations that the governments, uh, have set up to support startups, and I would definitely research those if you’re looking for. Yeah, I think Colin, Colin also brought up a very good point about having, um, a proof of concept.
[00:27:44] You know, the world has changed dramatically. When, when I, I mentioned the company bar point before when I was speaking, you know, when I was starting that company, you know, the tools to develop software didn’t exist that we have today. So to develop an actual working product requires. Lots of time and money.
[00:28:03] So back then you could raise investment based on an idea that was written on paper, because you had no choice, you needed money to actually build some type of a proof of concept of that idea. And you needed a lot of money back then today. There’s so many, you know, no code solutions and platforms and cloud-based platforms and, and API APIs and things that make it so much easier to develop at least a working proof of concept for your product.
[00:28:32] That is Collin indicated. You’re going to be in a much stronger negotiation position when it comes time to raise money. You’re also going to have a better sense, whether your idea is attractive to potential customers. If you first go ahead and build that working proof of concept and it does not require, um, the level of investment.
[00:28:51] Um, it used to, to put it in perspective. When we built bar point, we probably. After raising money spent probably nine months and six or $7 million to create something that today with the tools available, probably two smart people and $10,000 over a weekend could recreate everything we did for millions of dollars in nine months back then.
[00:29:15] So you have the opportunity now to develop something, to prove your concept without a substantial investment, other than time and energy. And obviously then, you know, the idea and the passion behind it. And, and it really puts you in a much stronger position, both to vet out, whether you have a viable concept that can attract actual paying customers, and also to put you in a much better negotiating position when it comes to raising funds, because you’ll have proven that you have something that can work.
[00:29:44] So that’s a really strong, I think the Collin brought up I’m Jeffrey and I’m done just to add on, you know, It’s so different today. Jeff talked about the aspect of, it’s easier to get these working prototypes, but we really are in an age right now for e-commerce where it’s, what many people say it’s the rise of the micro brands like people really?
[00:30:13] Um, if you’re heading the demographic correctly in terms of what they find attractive, I understand you said it’s in fashion. I’m assuming it’s in clothes or something like this. Like there’s so many ways that you can get a jump out there. You know, look at like, um, Allbirds shoes, for example, would be an example of a micro brand.
[00:30:37] We run two eCommerce companies, two that are micro brands. One is Paul paw.com. The other one is me. Ellington’s like, you can get out. And it doesn’t cost too much, um, set up an e-commerce site via GoDaddy or Shopify and, you know, get to market without a massive investment. And guess what? It’s very difficult right now.
[00:31:04] I think most people know this to manufacturer and pull goods out of Asia, just because of the pandemic. And it may be that way for another year. So you may want to consider, I’m not sure where you are in the world. I’m looking to see if you can locally source, right. A quality, you know, line fashion line and get up there with the Shopify.
[00:31:30] That’s what I personally would do if I were you given what I know about you, which is, you know, a small and then you, you know, the next step is like, can you like, do you have the chops? Or can you partner with somebody who can get in there and do some digital marketing to pull in some audience? Because if you can prove that you can spend money on marketing and make more money.
[00:31:57] Oh my gosh, you’re so much more attractive for investors because investors, you know, don’t, oh, it’s, it’s a little different these days, right? They might fall in love with what you’re doing, but if they don’t believe, and they don’t have that belief that they can throw money into you, right. For that production run for that marketing campaign and make more money, it’s just not gonna happen.
[00:32:26] Like you, you could just really get ahead of the. I just like getting, uh, you know, just get going. Michelle’s finished. And you also talked about a global brand and you want to launch a global brand? Well, um, I have a company I invested in, uh, , uh, little Roberts, uh, runs it. She’s actually spoken on the show.
[00:32:47] Her tactic early on was to go local to, you know, even though it’s a national product that she sells, she was able to really connect well, the local media and get established some local PR it’s hard to sort of jump right away to that national stage and get the publicity. I know something to do. We see that sometime, but you know, shows like shark tank and you know, and other other areas, but, but consider local PR as well.
[00:33:18] That was all amazing advice. Thank you very much. Thank you for sharing. And we’ll be interested to know what you decided. All right. So we are serial entrepreneur club. We’re here every Friday at 2:00 PM Eastern time. Um, please just remember if you are speaking, this is being recorded and there is a podcast that we have launched.
[00:33:48] Additionally, we have amazing speakers, um, and amazing audiences every single day of the week. So be sure to go to our website, startup.club, that’s www.startup.club and sale up for email. And we also have a very cool calendar, um, that we have loaded up to the site and you can even save it onto your own personal calendar.
[00:34:17] So on that note, in addition to this show being. I’m happy to be able to mouse that Mr. Wonderful of shark tank is actually going to be on start-up club, October 28th at 3:00 PM Eastern. He actually is doing a really cool thing. Um, they had selected a group of ladies, I think about five ladies in tribute to breast cancer awareness month that he is going to listen to their pitch and give them feedback.
[00:34:51] Um, we’re super excited about it and we hope that everybody can join. Okay. Um, we have twenty-five minutes left. We ended at the top of the hour. So let’s go to our next speaker here. Dhruv. I hope I said that, right. We’d love to hear your products where you are and what your question is.
[00:35:15] So I’m already going. Yes, please go. So I’ve got list of problems, sorry. Uh, I have got a list of problems and I wanted to know that how do I encounter that dilemma launch? If that’s a valid question, if you want,
[00:35:38] um, how do, how do you go to launch? I don’t think I understood your question. Oh, I’m sorry. I mean, uh, how do I encounter the problem and, uh, move forward?
[00:35:55] What is the problem? Do you have a specific problem Dhruv that you’re facing? Yeah, I mean, I’ve got a list of problems, like, uh, uh, I wanted to work on cross border payments and, uh, how do I encounter that problem? I wanted to use, uh, the base called, uh, the base of the technology I wanted to use was a block.
[00:36:19] Okay. That’s that sounds cool. Um, I actually thought of the same idea myself years ago, and I think the currency rates, uh, in, uh, between Canada, the us is just criminal, but what these banks are charging, I think what you’ve identified right there as the smartest thing, any business idea is to figure out what problem are you trying to solve?
[00:36:41] And the problem here are those high currency rates. And, uh, you’re going to be challenged with problems. It will happen. You will have a hundred different challenges and problems. And if you get into a space like that, that’s a little bit more regulatory. The first thing obviously, obviously, is to really learn the space, learn it inside out.
[00:37:02] So you know, it try to understand it. Uh, and then as entrepreneurs, we have to find ways around those systems. You know, when scoober started, I could only imagine. People were saying to them that, you know, you can’t do this, this is illegal Airbnb, the same, you know, there are regulations around that and you know, it’s going to be challenging, but I would say just one, learn the space really well, and to keep on finding ways to get around some of those regulations, but try to work with the government as much as possible.
[00:37:38] Yeah. That’s um, an admirable cause and we wish you the best. Thank you for speaking. All right. So let’s go to Nicole. Nicole, what is your idea? Where are you at and how can we help you?
[00:38:00] Um, Nicole, you’re on mute if you’re speaking. Okay. Let’s go to bright, bright. We’d love to hear your idea where you are and how we might help you. All right. Thank you so much. I’m really, really excited and I’m in price for the opportunity given I am in Ghana, west Africa. So I have this idea that I’ve developed.
[00:38:28] The products is a school management platform that collects data about the way school operates and analyze the data. And we lunch about lunch. It’s about a month, few months ago, but we have only hardly one school subscribing to it. And all the efforts we make into other schools, they seem like. Is it going to improve the child’s academic performance?
[00:38:56] If not, they don’t seem to appreciate the fact that they can digitize their operations. And sometimes it makes me stress, like, am I at a right market? Is there money here? Should I move on to another kind of product idea? And I don’t know how to like, manage that kind of situation. And so any ideas will be really, really appreciated.
[00:39:18] Thank you. So, um, so first of all, congratulations on, on an idea that makes very good sense and has a good cause and purpose behind it. You know, I think it’s hard to make judgements when you have a, a focus group of one. So when you have one school as your sort of test customer right now, it’s going to be difficult to gauge whether the feedback you’re getting.
[00:39:44] Is unique to them and their particular perspective or point of view, or if it’s something universal that that other potential schools would have. So I think, you know, one recommendation I would have, would be to try as soon as possible to get at least a sec, excuse me, a second or a second and third trial school on board so that you can compare the feedback from more than one source and see if yes, if they all are consistently giving you the same feedback and, and two or three schools say that, you know, we’re really not that interested in this because it’s not moving the needle on the education side, then that’s going to be a good indication that that may be you aren’t, you know, you’re solving a problem that doesn’t exist from the point of view of your potential customers.
[00:40:29] It’s going to be hard to know that for sure. When you’re. Polling, basically one person. And even if you can’t get other customers, maybe you need to spend more time speaking with other schools, walking them through what you provide, maybe getting a survey filled out from them and trying to gain more insights from that.
[00:40:47] Cause it’s going to be hard to do it when you’re just getting feedback from one potential customer. Jeff, I wonder if you could get PR like, do you think it’s possible that he could create a white paper or a case study, um, contact a journalist talk about the 32% increase in marks or whatever it is, you know, whatever that benefit that you deliver to that one school.
[00:41:11] I wonder by having that one school, you can use. To maybe generate a study that gets attention. I understand what you’re saying. You need a lot more before I think the, yeah, but I think if I heard correctly and maybe I didn’t, I thought that the feedback from the one school was not positive. It was that they didn’t really feel they were getting the benefit from this service relative to the increases.
[00:41:35] Obviously calling you you’re correct. If you have even one customer and they’re saying that your product or services has changed their business for the better, that’s something you can definitely leverage as a testimonial, whether it’s for PR or to gather other people. But maybe I misunderstood. But I thought what bright was saying is he has one customer and the feedback was not supportive of what the product was doing.
[00:41:58] Uh, correct us if we’re wrong, right? Yes, definitely. So one school actually love it and then they’ve even paid for the subscription rates that we’ve given them. But then we decided to move one to another. And where that is where the onboarding process is taking long. They are saying that it is not like immediate need.
[00:42:18] So I wish the target was to have like 10 schools by the end of this year, but it’s still slow in from one, one school to do that. I have an idea for you. Bright. I think educators are generally so passionate about what they do and helping other people here. Here’s, here’s an idea for you, like find some retired principals and teachers, and really do like a really like, those are subject matter experts.
[00:42:51] I think you could dive into those perceived issues and ideas you’re having in a very cost-effective way with a group of people that are extremely knowledgeable and typically very happy to, you know, help develop things to better education. That’s what comes to my mind. Cause I, I. I don’t hear that. It’s time for you to give up.
[00:43:15] I feel like you need to dig deeper. I feel like you’re just starting. I like what Michelle said a lot. Um, and also I think, you know, Colin was, was right too. So if you have that one school that is giving you positive feedback, you can leverage that. The other thing you might look at is what, what are the attributes of the school that saw the benefits compared to the other schools?
[00:43:36] And maybe you’ll find that, you know, maybe their schools of different sizes, maybe their, their infrastructure is different, you know, from a, from a technical perspective. And maybe you can learn by examining the differences between the school that liked the product and the schools that were having trouble on boarding and help you refine.
[00:43:57] Maybe, maybe your product is not ideal across the board for all schools, but maybe there’s a certain type of school or a school with a certain profile. That’s a better potential customer. And then you can target your efforts on going after those.
[00:44:13] Impressive. Thank you so much, everyone. I really appreciate that. And actually put into practice the ideas. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing. Yeah, that was, that was good advice. Thank you. All right. That’s safe. We’re dying to hear about your product, where you are in that stage and any questions that you could share with us very much.
[00:44:37] Um, I have a low battery and if it dies, I’m going to be very upset, but I’m charging and hopefully I will ask, um, we’re just starting out. Can you hear me? Okay. Even the look, look okay. So my background very, very quickly broadcast news, 20 years with CBS, I was very interested in getting environmental news on the air and had a really hard time.
[00:44:57] So I left to become an entrepreneur doing my own green radio shows, basically funding it, myself, waiting for the world and the media to catch up that time is now the climate is hot and rather than trying to get back on a mainstream news network platform where they’re going to probably muzzle me. And if I’m lucky, give me.
[00:45:14] Our week, which won’t be enough for our planetary pickle. I have gotten to know the experts in all green fields, not just climate oceans, extinction a to Z. Um, I have met up with someone who has a great URL that he’s been sitting on green tv.com. He brought me on board to be chief content creator. I have so many ideas for programming starting to do with my own interviews, made the solutionaries bringing on specialty hosts that would bring in their own sponsors and guests, and we would split the revenue.
[00:45:41] Here’s the problem. So I’m a journalist, I’m not a business person. We think we should be a B Corp because we do have a public benefit, social impact aspect. Um, but we don’t know where to start to try to get, you know, a, a business person to help us. Um, and I know this is a big question and it’s kind of late in your room, but any wisdom you can share, I’m really kind of at a loss.
[00:46:01] I know that we are feeling that the problem is that people want to know what they can do to help our environment, especially for their kids, grandkids. Nobody really knows what to do. And we talk about things that are practical, actionable, small, medium, and large. It’s everything from what you vote to, what you eat to what you drive and putting the solutionaries together with the public, being a communication bridge, that’s what I’ve been doing.
[00:46:23] And that’s what I want to do on this platform. We need to ramp up quickly because it’s late, you know, in, uh, in the environmental situation. And, uh, we, we want to wrap up quickly and we know we have something that’s needed, but we don’t know how to get there from here. Thank you. Okay. This is your space.
[00:46:39] Did you want to just jump in right away?
[00:46:45] All right. We left her phone. Michelle. It’s oh, we got it. Yeah, we got it here.
[00:46:55] Yeah. Betsy, you’re speaking my language. I am. Solar energy, renewable space. And that is a subject matter that I absolutely love to talk about. And I think there’s so much that can be done and there’s a lack of information, knowledge. So I love the fact that you guys have green tv.com. Great, great, great domain name to build upon.
[00:47:22] Um, I’m not sure if you guys are offering solutions, if you’re educational based or what you’re going to be doing, but solutions, always solutions. Okay. So solutions, there’s a lot of things, you know, that a lot of people love to hate on the oil and gas industry. But let me tell you, the oil and gas industry is actively looking for projects to get and sink their teeth into, especially when it comes to renewables.
[00:47:48] People don’t know that the Mo you know, that the big boys like Chevron and shell, um, are all highly vested in renewables. And so anytime you can take simple programming, right? Like find a solution for the toothbrush. Right? Think about it. The toothbrush, everyone in the world uses a toothbrush and toothbrushes.
[00:48:08] With the petroleum products. So the idea of solving one problem and the global impact that that would have, and possibly having and creating maybe a contest where people can submit different materials that can be used instead of using the petroleum products and getting some of these companies involved chemical companies, petroleum companies to also help because they have the funding, they have the money and, and it would, it would, it would lend light and it would also, it would, you would get funding, you would get all of the things that you want and need.
[00:48:42] I’d be more than happy to deep dive with you and go into much deeper detail. But if you start with like creating contests to solve. Like a toothbrush. Everybody uses it. It’s so simple, but yet complex. And it would be something that would be very impactful and then take that to the next level and then create education, right?
[00:49:05] Like how do you educate people on their daily habits on their consumption? Because it’s not just about energy, but people take for granted the fact that when you get home, you flip on the lights and the lights come on yet. It’s coming at a cost. If you look at what the stock market is doing, if you look at what oil and gas is doing, if you look at all of these things, there’s some really big trends that are happening and then the government got behind it.
[00:49:27] So you should have federal funds, uh, there’s $700 billion for renewables and education is part of it. So you need to tap into that. Well, and we have no shortage of ideas and creativity and content. I’ve been creating content on environmental topics for 25 years. What we need is how to structure our business, how to make it something that’s going to be sustainable.
[00:49:46] I do believe we can get advertising sponsors once we get going, but we need seed money to get more of a staff, to create more content, to bring partners in. You know, there’s no shortage of content ideas. That’s how do you, how do you grow this business quickly when there’s absolutely a need and the team has got a good, great track record.
[00:50:04] One thing you could look into Betsy perhaps is, you know, you’ve got the domain, you’ve got your background on the content side. It sounds like you’re looking for more of a business partner to handle that side of it. And you mentioned to being a B Corp. So there you could do some research. I believe that there are some venture funds that focus more specifically on making investments in B Corp and following more socially good businesses.
[00:50:28] And some of those. Firms might have, what’s called an entrepreneur in residence program in EIR, where they have someone who’s, um, on their team, who’s looking for a business to run basically. So they’re an entrepreneur looking for a business that the firm would invest in and then place that EIR in as the CEO or, or, you know, to operate that business.
[00:50:49] So you might be able to find a fund that has both an interest in supporting B corpse and maybe, uh, an entrepreneur in residence, looking for an opportunity that might be a fit for your concept for green tv.com. So that’s something you might look into. Any idea what one finds those kinds of things? I think, uh, there’s this thing called Google as a starting off point and just doing research, asking around spreading the word.
[00:51:15] I don’t know if I knew of one in particular hand, I would be happy to recommend it. I just know that I’ve I know that there are these EIR programs and I know that there are firms that invest in, in B Corp. So if you can find one that has both, um, that might be a good opportunity. Okay. Thank you. Thank you.
[00:51:34] So we’ll look forward to hearing how it goes. Okay. Next we have Aetna, um, Edna, did you want to talk, did you have an idea you want to mention, or some something you want to give to us as a story for us to learn from.
[00:51:54] Well, I mean, I guess I would, I would share the fact that ideas are great. Right? And you can write them down on napkins, but at the end of the day, if you don’t take an massive action, that’s, that’s where it’ll stay. And so launching your business requires a lot of discipline and building a good strong team.
[00:52:14] Um, like you guys have built, you guys have an amazing team. And so I think it’s, it’s very important that you look at the team, the structure of where you’re going and have a clear roadmap to where you want to go. Um, so that you can launch and take your business from ideation to launching. Excellent. We appreciate it.
[00:52:33] And we’re glad that you were able to make it Aetna. And I agree with you like execution. Like that’s the hard work that’s sweat and tears, right? It’s never understanding. That you extra, you know, just obviously there’s a million probably strategies, but can you execute it? So thanks for reminding us of that Aetna, and I’ve really loved that.
[00:53:00] I want to put you back on what you stated, you know, when you move in that execution scheduling. So for all you who are listening any aha moment that you’ve received from this, don’t just take that as knowledge is there. That was really good. And on Monday, not have a plan in what you’re doing with that.
[00:53:15] And just say, I’m a, put it in motion, put it on the calendar and schedule being able to accomplish whatever you’re looking to do because when you schedule it, then you can have massive momentum from there. That’s a great tip. Um, guy, I know that helps me immensely. You know, we all have long lists to do, and we’re all really busy, right?
[00:53:37] Like the hardest thing to do is prioritize. The hardest thing to do is. Doesn’t mean, it’s a bad idea. Right? But you, you, you will get nowhere if you don’t. Right. That’s right. And, and when you schedule it, it may not be now, but just put it on the schedule, but that’s right, Michelle. Thank you. Excellent. All right.
[00:53:58] Last but not least, David, please tell us what your ideas, where you at and you know, is there anything we can do to help you? We’ll do our best came jail. Hey everyone. Uh, thank you for letting me talk, actually. Uh, so currently, and most I want to share this a story and what I did. I start to almost restart at the same time and that driving me crazy as a woman, not only financially, but with the time.
[00:54:29] So to have the storage of I’m using the income right now to support the third one and the third store to have. Seven months in development. It is a marketplace and, uh, adds a moment. Uh, I like, I started talking with investors and very interested to get into the store to have and invest. You don’t have any problem with the money, but the store asking many questions like, oh, what is the plan?
[00:54:58] What is we’re going to do here? How much we can make. The main problem I have is that my most or the biggest three competitors like Z making the fish competitor live in around a billion dollar a year, the second one, few hundreds, the third one alone, 50. And most of them you’ve been in the market for more than the smallest competitor, almost eight years.
[00:55:23] The idea is great, but I believe like the persistence and working and making something to, to solve the issues you have in the markets is what we’re trying to do. Okay. I am struggling a little bit working with investors because I really, I really, uh, yeah, we need some money to grow because financially I can support it for another few months or another year max, but not every phases because I have four phases of the project and that will need a lot, but working with them, um, I’m a little, like I heard a lot, they listen a lot.
[00:55:59] It will not be easy to work with them and keep myself on the track to bring something like in one ear into market. Yeah. Thank you. All right, Colin, why don’t you take that one and then, um, wrap up the session for us please. Uh, okay. Uh, um, and if anyone else has any suggestions as well, feel free to jump in right after me.
[00:56:26] Um, you know, marketplaces are very tough as you already know, because it’s like the chicken or the egg, right. You know, what can. No, one’s going to go to a marketplace unless there’s a lot of people on it. And if there’s not a lot of people on it, they’re not going to go to the marketplace. And if you’ve got three established competitors, what these investors are, they’re nervous.
[00:56:46] They’re nervous that you’re not able to establish yourself. And I wonder if, if there’s a potential pivot where you can, and you may have already done this where your marketplace is not the same as the other few marketplaces, it’s very distinct from the other three marketplace is similar, but has these distinct differences or advantages?
[00:57:05] Um, the, I don’t know if that helps at all or not. I do know that investors look for proof and they want to see that you’re able to achieve something so that when they invest, they’re simply accelerating your growth births, gambling on your success. Yeah. I’m going to add to. Couple of the largest marketplaces in the world.
[00:57:31] It’s an interesting economic problem, right? Because you have to have supply and demand. That’s not like, you know, couldn’t say you’re producing, so you really kinda need to figure out, like, what is the toughest part of that equation? Is that the supply side, getting the sellers on and I’m extrapolating a bit because I don’t know what the marketplace is.
[00:57:59] Is, is it, is that the harder part of the equation or is it bringing the demand? Do you have the listings or whatever it is, and then I think that helps you prioritize. And I, you know, these things are big problems in a good way cause they can be as, as I’m sure, you know, big opportunities and then maybe you seek out.
[00:58:22] And usually on what they call it two sided economic model. Like what you’re describing is if, for example, you need more suppliers to sign up and do their listings. Then I, then what you need to do is how do you subsidize that side of the market, right? How do you incent them to do listings? Because perhaps you.
[00:58:46] I have people I’m making this up, buying after market Marine supplies until you have the goods. So I would really like take some time thinking what is the most void thing that’s keeping you from moving forward to being successful. And then you should think about how can you sort of speak inset and subsidize that side of the market.
[00:59:12] There’s been a lot of really good studies on that. And I, I would encourage you to do some research on what you call is two-sided markets. It’s like your E-bay. You know, kind of marketplaces because there’s some, you know, it may be a big partnership. I worked on one where, what we decided was the most important thing.
[00:59:31] It was actually in the rental real estate business was we didn’t have enough inventory and we couldn’t get users until we had that. Right. It’s a catch 22. So what we did is we struck some very sweet deals with a couple of very large rates, real estate investment trusts. Like I would kind of break it down like that.
[00:59:51] And at least you have a plan right. To attack to execute again. It’s very hard, uh, business, but you know, the rewards can oftentimes be there. Thank you. Thank you so much, Michelle. Thank you calling actually. Yeah, you, you actually touch it. Some of the challenges, uh, we have, it is not issues, but it challenges, but this is what we actually working on.
[01:00:15] Thanks for calling again. I appreciate it. All right, Colin, tell us what’s up next. And yeah, before we close out, um, I wanted to share briefly and it’s going to go pretty quick. So you might want to catch it on a recorder as well, but I’ve, um, worked on a number of businesses, you know, probably 15 or so businesses.
[01:00:38] And we do, what’s called a sticky note business plan. So imagine four sticky notes. You got one has a title of story. The other is a title of people. The other is money and the other systems. And on the story, really, I know, um, earlier on a guy had talked about mission, you know, figure out what your mission is first, what is your purpose?
[01:01:02] Um, the next is what is the space you want to own? So when I say that, think about Google and you want to be on the front page of Google. What is the space that you want to own, that you can get on the front page of. The next I like to do is I always have four key pillars when I started business and they are the values, the core values of the business, and they tend to be phrases.
[01:01:27] So I that’s. The other thing that I would add at the beginning, the next is what Jim Collins came up with, which is the X factor. And the X factor is something unique and different. That gives you an advantage over other people that David talked about. You know what? I’ve got another year I can put into this.
[01:01:46] So what he’s trying to identify as, okay, I’ve got a timeline, I’ve got goals. I call that stage gate one. And you know that video game, uh, where you’re racing a car and you get extended time. I think every entrepreneur needs to set up a stage gate, identify the revenue, the profit, the units, the MVP like I did with shareholder blockchain.
[01:02:08] I said, this is how much money I’m putting in. I want to see an MVP. It didn’t happen. I shut the company. On your people sticky note, um, you want to identify the people that you’ll need to get to your first stage gate. What does the organization look like? Do you need a CFO? Do you need a lawyer? Do you need consultants?
[01:02:31] Who are the people you need to achieve that first stage gate under your sticky note for money, you’re going to want identify how much money you need to raise in order to achieve that goal. And then under systems, I would encourage you to set up KPIs. Now I know that was very brief and quick. Um, but uh, if you have any questions you can either text me or email me.
[01:02:53] This is, this was a great show. I did bring guy on to the show earlier today because he, he has volunteered to help me out with next week’s show, uh, which is really scaling your business and getting yourself out of the way it’s all about next. Week’s going to be all about. How the entrepreneur is their biggest enemy upscaling guy.
[01:03:18] Is that, does that sort of describe it or do we lose guide rate at that one moment? Okay. So yeah, they’re, they’re a guy. Does that sort of describe it, um, giving the entrepreneur, getting out of firing yourself, getting yourself out of the way so that you can scale your company. It’s all about leadership.
[01:03:37] Absolutely. Carl and I, I’m excited about being able to, to, um, work with you and share with you audience, uh, next week in that regard. Yes. So we’re looking forward to seeing you on serial entrepreneur next to next Friday at two o’clock checkout startup.club, sign up to the mailing list and listen to some of those recordings.
[01:03:57] I tell you there’s probably about 30 or 40 recordings right now. And if you listened to every one that would be like getting an MBA in entrepreneurship, Collin C Campbell company.