Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed! EP97 – 20 Ideas to Launch a Startup
20 ways to go from your idea to launch. That’s what we’re gonna be talking about today on Startup Club. And if you didn’t know, this Startup Club is almost 1 million members. You can join Startup Club on Clubhouse, and there are so many great sessions run all week long by a number of different people, a number of different, uh, hosts and leaders on this club.
They do a phenomenal job of sharing and helping startups start scale, exit, and repeat the process over and over again. Hello, Michele. My co-moderator Michele has it just joined us. Hello today. Yeah, it’s an exciting topic, isn’t it? We’re like, it’s all about this idea and taking the idea to actual launch.[00:01:00]
I’m pretty excited about that. The, um, the one thing, one thing you, you, you might not know is that this is actually a live show, and we do it every Friday at two o’clock Eastern. Uh, if you’re listening to it in the podcast network, you’re welcome to join us on stage and talk to us about, uh, your challenges as a startup, but also you may have questions.
We also bring on authors and serial entrepreneurs and so many different experts to help with this topic as well. We’re, we’re really trying to crack the code. That’s why we call this podcast and live show Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed. So if you want to get on every Friday, two o’clock Eastern, if you’re listening to this in replay or on podcasts, again, if you are not a member of Startup Club, we recommend you join.
And if you haven’t already done so, Check out [00:02:00] www.startup.club and sign up to the mailing list. We have some absolutely incredible speakers coming on over the next 30, 60 days. We have one individual who, who’s run a multi-billion dollar real estate fund and he actually worked for the, um, worked undercover for the US government and they have a Hollywood movie coming out about him this summer.
And he’s gonna be here with us on a two-part series in April. But if you don’t actually go to the website and sign up to that email list, you really won’t know who the big speakers that come onto Startup Club are. And it’s not just this show, but we have, uh, great speakers on other shows as well. If you think the topic is interesting, going from idea to action, taking that idea and making specific steps to launch that idea, if you think that’s interesting, I’m gonna ask you to share the room.
There’s a button second from the right at the bottom there. I’m gonna ask you to share the room there, [00:03:00] Kyle, share on Clubhouse, and that’ll share to people that you know on Clubhouse as well. And, uh, and if you’re in the audience and you have an idea and you don’t know what the steps are to take it to launch, come on stage and let us help you out with that.
Or you have had an idea and you know, some of the things you need to do to take, to launch. We want to hear from you as well, Michele, before I kick it off with a story, um, that includes you. Uh, what do you think of today’s topic? Look, you know, I feel like we’re always looking for ideas to start businesses, or like you said, improve our businesses.
And the only way that I’ve personally been successful in that is just always keeping my ear to the ground. Just talking to people. Just reading, just listening. [00:04:00] It may not be, oh my gosh, this is an epiphany and it’s gonna change the world. In fact, those are not the ideas usually that people make their fortunes off of.
So I think we should always call on the answer your question, be having this conversation because it always spurs up, you know, stirs up or whatever the word is, ideas. That’s how, that’s, that’s what I’ve been you for. I don’t know about you. You really don’t wanna be the one who, who, who came up with an idea and then six months later someone else launches that idea.
and for the rest of your life, you’re saying, I came up with that idea first, but I didn’t do anything. So what are the actions, what are the things that we can do to get our idea to launch? Again, if you’re in the audience and you have some of these thoughts, cuz open mic, today we’re doing an open mic Friday, and you might have some of these ideas that, that these aspiring entrepreneurs, or [00:05:00] you may already, already have been a successful entrepreneur and you have an idea and you’re just trying to think, what are the steps I’m gonna take to get, to launch or to get this idea to be commercially viable?
And let, let me talk to you a little bit about what happened to me during the holidays. Um, there’s a, uh, a, a, a small program that came out called chat, g p t. Obviously it’s not small, but I’m just teasing. But it came out in, in November chat, G p T three and uh, my daughter and I were sitting around at Christmas.
Tend to be, quite frankly, a little bit bored. You know, that’s serial entrepreneurs. You know, we, we can sometimes go bonkers if we don’t have, if we’re not feeding the, you know, we’re not taking the drug, the drug of entrepreneurship. And, uh, so we’re sitting around, we’re saying, this chat, G p T, you know, what can it do?
And, um, I had actually gone to, uh, a Christmas, a holiday event, and [00:06:00] I forgot the president in Florida, and I was up in Toronto. And so I said, okay, fine, I’ll just go to chat G B t and I’ll have it write a poem. But my friend, so I had her write the poem and I handed her a piece of paper and whatnot, and she was so touched by it, it like, I couldn’t believe her reaction.
And meanwhile, I’d only spent about a minute, you know, two minutes maybe working on this project. And then it made me realize that there is probably an opportunity in the marketplace for creating a service using the right prompt engineering. Uh, that can help people who are, I call myself, you know, I’m not a poet at all.
I’m poet, poet challenged. I don’t know what the right terminology is, but definitely not very good at poetry. And so what I did is I, I, uh, talked to my daughter and I says, why don’t we launch a service? And then she said, dad, that sounds great around poetry. And, and then I said, okay, well let me call my partner in crime, Michele.[00:07:00]
So three of us got together, she was through Zoom and whatnot, and we said, okay, well what do we wanna do? What’s the first thing we’re gonna do? Well, we gotta get a domain name. Okay. So we thought of the name poem ai. We went to GoDaddy and it was available. So we grabbed poem ai.com on GoDaddy. We got poem ai.club as well for, um, other projects that we’re gonna use, like to promote the poem, ai.com.
So we got that, and that was sort of the first step. And just the very, very first step was picking that domain name. . And then after we picked the domain name, we’re saying, okay, well how, how are we gonna monetize this? And we said, well, we can do Palm on Canvas. So then we said, okay, well let’s see if we, there’s a, a provider out there that can do that for us.
And we found Canvas Champ, and we said, okay, well we can API into them. And then we said, well, how are we gonna do the e-commerce? We said, okay, there’s a provider out there that can do that, and that’s Shopify. So we went and we set up a Shopify site. Now, our first version of poem ai.com came [00:08:00] out, uh, about mid-January, about three, four weeks.
And it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, a little clunky, uh, but at least we got a prototype up there. And we’ve, we’ve, uh, received hundreds of people have gone to the website and actually, uh, put together a poem for someone they, they love or, or their pet, uh, their, their mom or their dad, their cat or their dog. And it’s nice to see the actual volume come in.
Is it commercially viable yet? No. , but what were the steps that we took there? You know, we, we didn’t go open a bank account, which is surprising. Maybe we didn’t go get a file, a trademark, which is surprising maybe. Uh, but what we did do is register the domain, set up the platform, get the website running, try to prove the concept, the fact that if nobody were to cared about writing AI poems, then, then, then, then why continue to invest time and money in that business?
So I would say there are about three or four things there, Michele. Uh, there are a couple things [00:09:00] with that business or with any other businesses we’ve done before that you do once you’ve got the idea to get it to launch.
Yeah, I mean, just as you described, you know, we also did some research, right? Like what were the offerings out there? , uh, formal and informal, right? So looking at the offers that were out there, but also talking to some of the folks that we work with on a regular basis that, that we, you know, that we value their opinion.
So, you know, for us it was like, okay, um, you know, kind of if you were gonna put this on a grid, you know, what is the competitive factors, the offerings, if you’re just mapping it, right? And then what is the cost to get it going? And, um, you know, how easy is it to get going? And for us, it hit [00:10:00] positive on those notes.
There really isn’t anybody doing it right. And trying to, you know, commercialize it. And it is, you know, was relatively inexperienced. Of course we had, you know, people that had the skillsets from programming to marketing, but, you know, we did a quick and dirty analysis. and then, um, you know, we jumped right into it with a very minimal ex expense and you know, we think there’s something there and now we’re pushing it forward and we’re going to our next as column would stay stage gate.
You know, we’re just trying to strategically look at what would be the next stage gate to make sure before we go investing a bunch more money that it is a viable business and it is something we can scale. So I know it all, a lot of it sounds like common sense, but I think a lot of times we, including myself, right, we get like tied up in the analytics and making it overly complex too [00:11:00] quickly and you can just end up spending too much time and energy and money and then just like poke your head up six months later and go, okay, what, what’s wrong with me?
I didn’t even think of these things. So we’re really, you know, breaking it down. Looking at what those kind of, you know, milestones or stage gates, whatever you wanna call it, are, and being, trying to be like brutally honest with ourself and working really closely on it. So for us, that’s what we’re doing.
Um, you know, just, you know, anecdotally, the next thing that we’re looking at is, you know, can we drive more traffic and monetize that traffic? Obviously that’s a big stage gate and that’s our next stage gate that we’re working on, and we’ll be reporting back to the team as we move forward on it. Yeah, and it’s interesting you talk about stage gates, you know, that’s something that I think every startup should consider putting in place because it’s, it’s really setting [00:12:00] a, a time, a specific time in, in the future that you’re gonna achieve a certain result.
And as long as if you do that, then you continue. to expand the business or else you pivot or close it down. It’s similar to the car racing games. I dunno if you remember back in the day, Michele, the, the car racing games and you put a quarter in and then you’d have extended time. Do you remember that Noel?
And you’d extended time and you just, it’s similar to that. So you’re gonna, you’re gonna put a lot of energy into the startup, get it to a certain point. And if you can get through that stage gate, if you can make it through, then you get extended time and you can go to the next level. I remember another story of my family, this is actually a fun one.
We, uh, had bought a, a beach house in West Florida and, uh, it was a vacation rental. And we, the whole family together, we were brainstorming names for the speech house and we, we, we made the drive more interesting. It was about a [00:13:00] three hour drive to go from the west of Florida to the east of Florida where we live.
and it was just really fun sitting there, brainstorming the name and, and we brainstormed and brain, we hadn’t even bought it yet. We had put the offer in, you know, we’re pretty, we are thinking we might get it, we might not get it, but we just put the offer in. We went over there, put the offer in, and um, we were brainstorming the name and we came up with the name Sunset Escape, cuz it was right on the, the, the ocean.
And you could see the sunset going down. And uh, and then as soon as I got home, I was so excited about that, I sent it to my graphics designer and asked him to create a logo. And what’s interesting about that is now you’re making this business real. And then I put it on a document and I shared with that document with the team at the incubator.
And, you know, you’re making this the whole process. You know, the domain name, the logo, the name itself, you know, a lot of those things were part of the process of going from idea to startup. The one thing we do all the time is [00:14:00] we go to, in the US we have something called us, p t o Test Database. And you can go to that database and you can pick a name from, or you pick any name, put any name into it, and instantly it’ll tell you if there’s a trademark already associated with that name.
Uh, ironically in the end, we called the, uh, entire vacation rental company, was originally called East Fort Lauderdale Rentals, but since we had expanded to the West coast, we changed the name to Escape Club and now it’s called Escape Club. But, uh, yeah, so it’s, it’s another part of the process. It’s just getting your name, protecting the name, making certain the name is good, you know, cuz you don’t want to go down the path.
I did that with another company, with a, um, a gentleman who was, uh, in our incubator who launched a company. And unfortunately, uh, Simmons had the, the trademark and he had spent a year and a half marketing this name and he had to change the name. He changed the name to a pretty good name, but. You don’t wanna invest a year and a half in a name [00:15:00] and then have to change it when you can spend 10 seconds going to a test database and actually get it from there as well.
Alright? Uh, we’re well, you’re welcome to come on stage, Noel and I, ioco. This is an open mic. Today we’re just talking about, you know, ideas that you’ve had in the past and how you take those ideas to market. How you actually go from, okay, I have this idea now. What are the 20 things we’re gonna do a blog on this one.
Uh, Mimi’s gonna write up a blog and we’re gonna have, uh, you know, we’ll, we’ll post it. And we’re just trying to figure out, you know, what are those things that we can do to help get to market, Michele. All right. So, yeah. So here’s one, um, I’m thinking about is, you know, we’ve vetted the name, we’re doing research on the product.
but you know, just knowing actually how much it would [00:16:00] cost, right? Just cost to build a, a basic, you know, minimum vi an mvp, a minimum vi viable product, if that’s what it is, is really important. I think a lot of folks just jump into things without like really understanding that. So I would put that on the list, like really finding resources and really understanding what it costs to build or buy or whatever it is your product.
And on that note, um, what we’ve found is, you know, testing and doing a really small test first is infinitely valuable even if you don’t make money on it, even if you lose a lot of money on it, because doing it in small steps and learning is invaluable. Colin,
You’re on mute. No, I know. I was just, um, adding people. There’s two, two people who requested from the audience to join us on stage. Oh, good. [00:17:00] Um, I, uh, look, I’m gonna tell you, keep telling you stories. I got another one. I got another good one here. Um, and this is actually right from the chapter two of the book that’s, um, coming out on October 3rd, published by Forbes called Start Scale Exit Repeat.
And I’m not supposed to be reading any of the, the, the copy. I know they get irritated when I do that, but I’m just gonna cheat here a little bit. Okay. Uh, we were at Hostopia, that was my former company, small publicly traded company. And we, um, sold IT services, webs hosting email and that kind of stuff globally.
And my partners and I, uh, were traveling. , you know, all over the world to at and t, the comp, sorry. Companies like at and t, Vodafone, British Telecom, um, you pretty much get the idea. We traveled a lot and we’d have this problem where we literally get stuck in the cities for half an hour because we can’t get a taxi.[00:18:00]
So in 2008, we’re sitting in a, in a Ukrainian dacha, which is a farmhouse in Ukraine. We had a IT development center in Ukraine. And during that trip we were lamenting about this fact and we were trying to say like, you know, why is it that we can’t solve this problem? And it drove us nuts. And then Eureka, we had an idea.
What if we created an app? Here’s the idea, Michele. Okay, we’ll create an app that could use GPS technology to find the nearest taxi, hail it for you, and then you could watch its progress on the app. So you could get it, get in it as it arrives. Oh, okay. Wait, wait, stop. We called the app. What year was this?
This was 2008. 2008. And the reason why I bring this up, this was before Uber, as you as you know, we just, so what do we do? We registered domain name. I still have the domain name. It’s called My Yellow Button. That was the name of the company we came up with. Um, so we even bought the name, I still own the name today as, as a memory, it’s a token of my memory of not taking action, right.[00:19:00]
Um, and we had, you know, it was, we had an IT development company and we developed a lot of different products. We developed games and stuff like that. But here was this idea we came up with, we even had the domain name, but we never took it any further. And, uh, in, in the end, you hear, you know, you don’t, you heard about Uber and you heard about Lyft and, you know, we really did identify a big problem.
So, so again, we don’t, you don’t wanna be that individual who says 10 years later, I had that idea first. . So what is it that we can do to take the idea forward and, and just see how far we can get with it? The other thing I often do with a lot of the ideas that we have is we vet them. I vet them around with people around me who are not necessarily, I don’t want naysayers and I don’t want naysayers.
Okay? We don’t want those two types, cuz trust me, when you’re a startup, entrepreneur, as you know, the naysayers are everywhere. It could even be family members, whatever. I wanna vet them in an environment like an incubator or with other [00:20:00] advisors or peers or, or friends that I can trust. We wanna vett these ideas because if, if, if, if not one person likes your idea, your your idea probably is not gonna make it.
But if you see, you know, the eyes open from many different people, then you know your idea has traction. Well, I’m happy to see that. Uh, we have a couple of people on stage as well, a couple of brave souls who are gonna talk about. Um, this topic, uh, Mike, uh, welcome On stage on the Serial Entrepreneur Secrets reveals.
Would you like to share with us your, uh, idea to get to market or are you, are you, do you have an idea and you’re, you’re challenged with getting it to market? Mike,
and we’ll go to if Mike Mutes on the bottom right and if we’re, have you have, there you go. Hello. Hello. We do hear you. Hi, [00:21:00] this is Michael Goodman and I have my idea and I published my book and it’s called Life’s Calendar. And the product is for people to, um, raise any type of life. The first type was, uh, children.
When you have children, To, uh, get a life’s calendar for them and, uh, teach them to, uh, to do, um, you know, keep track of their lives and, and to do, uh, um, my mind’s a blank all of a sudden, . But, uh, you, you write in, um, to-dos in this life’s calendar, um, and then they’re letter to-dos, uh, A through Z and more.
[00:22:00] And, and then you apply them every year of the calendar. There’s a hundred years in this book. Uh, it’s a hardcover book, and, and you apply these to-dos to, uh, that 12 month calendar of that year. And, um, you teach children along the way to, uh, Be responsible for their time and for their life. And, uh, use their life’s calendar to become an adult.
And, um, I think that, uh, this product’s great. Great. I’m 55 years old, uh, excuse me. Uh, years ago I had a son, my first child. I was 23, 22. And, um, my [00:23:00] son Keaton and I, uh, was raising him and I got him to about 10 years old. And I was thinking, I get to get a book. I don’t know how to do, I don’t know how to do this.
I don’t know how to raise a kid. Uh, so I looked and looked and there was no book. So I wrote Life’s calendar. And had it published 2021. And, um, I’ve been successful when I sit down with the parent, um, and get to show it to them, they buy it. Um, but, uh, major media is expensive and trying to get part of that is, uh, impossible.
And, um, you know, my funds ran out. I have multiple sclerosis. I can’t walk anymore. I, I get around on a scooter, [00:24:00] but, um, um, my MS is 35 years old and, and this published book is spectacular. I love it. And I think, uh, it’ll work very well for parents. People that are responsible for lives and need to, uh, raise those, those lives, uh, with their calendar and keep track of what they’re doing.
So, um, wow. Wow. Like what a great, what a great title too. Life’s Calendar. Hard, hard to miss it, right? . Yeah. What a great title. And so what’s interesting when you’re, when I’m hearing about this, I’m thinking about, you know, what are some of the things you can do to get traffic, to get yourself noticed, especially given you, like so many startups do not have a, a large budget.
And there, you know, I know this show is all about coming up with 20 ways [00:25:00] to, you know, help you take your idea to action. But the reality is there’s probably a hundred things you need to do, maybe 200 things. But one of those things is own your own. The first page of Google. and how do we do that? And then sometimes we gotta go, we have to be reasonable on our approach here.
But yeah, we don’t want to, you don’t necessarily wanna say like, you know, child development us, cuz you know you’re not gonna win that market. But could you, uh, could you win it in a more long tail way? Right. You know, and, and actually get yourself on the front page of Google. And how do we do that? There’s a couple of, of tricks that don’t cost a lot of money.
You know, one of them is to make certain your title tags match what the words that you wanna own on Google. It’s about five to six words. You can do it on your website. By the way, do you have a website, Mike as well? I know we didn’t talk about that as one of the steps, but do you [00:26:00] have one? I do. Life’s calendar net.
Very, very cool. So what are the key words? What are the five or six key words on the internet that. Are going to get traffic to that website that if someone were to search for them, they’re now searching for, they have this problem, they’re searching for ’em for you. What are those five or six keywords?
And you may have already set that up and, but I’m, but I’m, I’m trying to share this as being, you know, one of the ideas to get to market or to get No, I love it. This is good stuff. I, I, um, have only been able to, uh, out of the 200 things you can do, I’ve only been able to do upon 180 . It’s a, it’s, it’s, it’s a darn, it’s hard work.
You know, it’s like, it reminds me of, of Jim Collins, how he talks about the flywheel effect, how it’s very, very hard to turn that flywheel. But here’s the good news, Mike, is when it does get going, [00:27:00] you know, and I don’t, I don’t wanna let you go here cause I got another idea too. But when it does get going, that fly wall, it starts to spin really well.
I think in your particular case, Michele, and, and again, if somebody else on stage wants to comment on, on Mike here as well, but I think in your particular case, Mike, start with that seo. Get yourself on the front page of Google. The next step is obviously about pr cuz this is such, this is such a pable moment of a topic, uh, is so relevant.
Uh, how do you get PR for your company? Cuz that sometimes doesn’t cost a lot of money, but, you know. Yeah, go ahead Mike. I wanna hear, I hear from you. I think I go, I’m trying to get dressed for a period, you know, I’m disabled so I’m like balancing on scooter. But um, back to your question, uh, last night I googled PR and I found, I [00:28:00] found a couple companies that do it and they talked about the importance of it and.
Haven’t, uh, been able to contact them yet. But, um, that’s the next thing I think. But, uh, that, and, and Google and I have to adjust my website so that it’s more user friendly. It’s, um, but sometimes, like I, I know if you, depending on your budget, right, you hiring a PR firm can be expensive. Sometimes it’s a matter of, when I talk about pr, also just getting yourself into those groups on Facebook and communicating.
So we had a, um, we talk about that vacation rental business. We had a hurricane in North Captiva in last September, and here was a moment, uh, we had finally got the, the beach house. I talked about sunset Escape back online. So here we are, we’re up and running again, and [00:29:00] I’m like thinking it’s 13,000 people in this group.
So I’m thinking, okay, so here’s what I’m doing. I’m gonna write an article. and I would’ve post it on this group called The Good and Bad of the Island. The good news is we’re up and running of, of course, a picture of the, the actual rental. Bad news is this, this, this. And, you know, I saw us being authentic in the way I approached it cuz you weren’t allowed to promote your rental on this particular group.
But I was able to say, the good news is we’re back up and running it. And I’m telling you, we had a thousand views, we had a hundred comments, we had so many people saying they were gonna rent this place. So there was a way that we were able to create PR without spending any money just by connecting into the right groups on Facebook.
So, so think about that as well, uh, Mike and uh, and I think we should do a show, Michele, on just pr Honestly, I think there’s like, should be, you could, there’s a hundred PR ideas, right? Bike. There’s a hundred different things you could do for pr. I, I really. I, I really love what you [00:30:00] described and it sounds so unique to me, Mike.
I’ve never heard of that. If I understood you correctly, it’s literally a lifetime calendar. You know, just like helping children, I see so much research about we should be offering, you know, our children classes, you know, emotional wellness classes and, um, you know, I haven’t looked at your website and this is the first time we’ve heard you, but I really do think it’s a really super cool idea.
I think if I were you, I would, you know, maybe broaden it out a little bit. and you know, just like, look at the research, you may need to like tweak the positioning a little bit because it is such a hot topic. And I think it’s much more than a calendar, but it’s almost like a guide, right? A guide to helping your child be emotionally, you know, um, adjusted or secure.
And, you know, I would suggest maybe taking it from that point of view and maybe even [00:31:00] talking to some educators or to some community centers. I think there’s a lot here. And, um, I could even see it as an app. I’m just gonna say, I think you said a calendar, a book, which, you know, the ultimate mic. And Michele, I I got it.
I got it. I got it for your mic. You want a million people to to, to hear about this and it will cost you nothing. TEDx do a TEDx, Ted. You can do it. Yeah, do a TED speech. , this is a TED speech. All this is the type of stuff they love on Ted. I, if you’ve got research, I’m telling you, if you could turn this into a little app, it doesn’t sound, I mean, to me it’s more about the content, right?
And make sure that you’re not like saying something that’s not appropriate. , obviously, but I, I could just see this really taking off, especially with the backstory that you’re telling us about, honestly. Yeah, but what about a Ted speech? Michele, you’re like, that, you’re like, it’s so cool. [00:32:00] What about a Ted speech?
I, I love a Ted speech. I love this. And if he, if he gets this app going, okay, Mike, I know we’re taking it down the road for you here, my friend, but if you get this app going, you’re gonna have loads of data. And that’s what people love. They love the data, right? Because otherwise it’s just us making up stuff, right?
Yeah. Yeah, I’ve done, I’ve done studies, I’ve done Okay. Major corporations. I’ve done a lot of major parents and had clients like that for 25. Well, you, you may already have that date of my friend, like I, I, I would package it up. I’m, I’m just suggesting here running ahead a little bit for you. Like you might package it up a little bit differently than how you describe, like, I’m thinking a little bit bigger for you cuz I think, I never heard of this and I love the idea, like, it’s almost [00:33:00] like a roadmap and it’s like a lifetime, you know, kind of guide.
I think that’s so cool. Thank you . Thank you. It’s nice to have someone say that. I have a lot of people that buy the book when I talk to ’em face to face and show it to ’em. And they’re, it’s a jaw dropper and they’re like, wow, this is awesome. I want it. And, you know, it’s not the, uh, major media, like I said, but I think you said, uh, TED Talks is the way to go right now, huh?
Well, I, I just think you get a lot of people, a lot of volume and it’s a great story. It’s the type of thing that, especially if, if you have some statistics to back it up, uh, I know you have to apply for the process and, you know, maybe you don’t jump right into Ted, but maybe there’s some talks before you can get to Ted, but mean, why not just go for it?
I mean, it doesn’t cost you anything. And it’s something [00:34:00] that I think that just applies very well. Yeah. I’m, I’m listening to the news yesterday about all the children that are depressed and, uh, all the children that are ill. and like this book is pretty good for parents to help ’em. And, and it says right on the cover, get what you want, you know, and you can, you just have to, you know, you have to put your to-dos down and schedule ’em and do it.
Get what you want. Well, great, Mike, that was really fun. And, and really thank you for being our first on stage. And wait, I, I just wanted, oh yeah, one more. Send the mic real quickly. There’s Ted X, which is more local, and I, I would be shocked if you could get into that. So you should look on their website and look at the local, that would give you a chance, an opportunity to [00:35:00] refine your, you know, your, your talk.
Right. And it’s not, yeah, I think you could easily get into it from what you’ve described. Thank you. Thank you very much. TEDx. Appreciate both your time. Absolutely. And we’re going to jump down to you, um, ish, Sakara. Um, is that the pronunciation? Is that right? Yeah, you almost got it. Almost. Got it. All right.
What do you, what are your thoughts? Um, I felt, um, shaker, I’m from India and I’m 21 years old. Uh, I own a company called Ter. Uh, we launched our first product on Valentine’s Day. I thought of, um, you know, making, creating this company like, um, six month ago. And, um, I did it, but now I have no idea how to get this plan to the next [00:36:00] stage.
Um, I think be valuable to hear, you know, your inputs. That’d be very useful to me. Thank you.
I’m sorry, could you just, just say that one more time? Um, sorry about, and made it a little bit louder as well, cuz it, I’m trying to get the gist of what you’re looking for unless Michele, you’ve picked up on it. Um, okay. I want a company called, uh,
and, um, we launched Wait, wait. Say, say that, say that slower. We’re, we’re not catching it. It’s, it’s us, not you. Tell, say that again. Okay. Su lifestyle,
I mean, you get it? Yep, yep, yep. Yeah. I created this company like, um, uh, two months ago and, uh, I launched [00:37:00] our first product on Valentine’s Day and it’s a perfume called, uh, romantic Blast. Um, I wish you check it out like, um, you know, something I can improve or, or, uh, I’m trying to build a brand here. I mean, rather than, uh, giving a product, I build a lifestyle brand, which, um, which has to have its phone value rather than its product.
I don’t know you get it out or not, but, um, if you get it, your valuable inputs are always welcome and that’d be very, very useful to me. Um, thank you.
Yeah, I don’t really have the concept quite in my brain yet. Okay. Um, what I do know though is that more often than not, email@example.com we run a company here in the incubator called Pod dot. Okay. And of course it’s got a pretty cool brand, right? It’s a pretty cool [00:38:00] brand, but the reality is nobody bought our products in the early days based on our brand.
So almost branding, in my opinion, this could be controversial. What I’m gonna say is sort of a secondary right? Spam, spam phone call, branding, uh, is sort of secondary to actually coming up with a product or service that people, people really need or want. And let’s try to sell ’em that first. And, and ironically, we were selling products on Facebook with a, a different domain name and they almost didn’t care about the brand or name, they just wanted to look at the product or service.
So if you got something that’s compelling and you can get one customer, and then 10 customers and then a hundred customers, now we can start to think about more about the branding itself. So I would actually encourage you to really think about the product and the service and getting that to market. And maybe a little bit less on focusing on brand marketing or just getting your brand to market.
Um, what do [00:39:00] you think, Michele? Yeah, I, I would agree. And I think if you look at a lot of branding experts, they’ll even say like, don’t focus so much on the logo. Like, in the early days, those things can be, you know, they can be changed quite easily, right? So just focus on, you know, what are the parameters?
Like, what problem are you trying to solve, right? And what does that customer look like? That that would be my suggestion. And it doesn’t have to be like you’re, you know, solving some huge world crisis. It could be something, you know, very small, right? Yeah. Like the gentleman Mike that was talking, like really trying to give your child good guidance throughout their lives in a very easy.
Way that they, they’ll, they’ll embrace. So I would suggest to start with the problem and who, [00:40:00] who, who you’re solving that for. Thank you. Um, thank you ma’am. Um, thank you Mr. For calling. Um, I would like to share my, uh, INTA with you guys so you can look at my product and um, see, um, is there anything to improve or something, I mean like in a different voice or, um, any other things.
Can I share that? Sure, sure. You can back channel us right on this app and, uh, back channel Michele and She’ll, she’ll have a look at it and try to give you the best advice we can. I’m certain others might be interested as well. So thank you. Thank you very much. Uh, we’re gonna move on to our, a regular here, although I still don’t think I can pronounce your name either.
A A Yoko. A Yoko. Yes. You got it right Colleen. It’s a Yoko. . Awesome. What are your thoughts on taking an idea and getting it to market right? You know, is it, are you one of [00:41:00] those people who has all these ideas and never actually makes it to market? Or are you one of those people who’ve actually taken it to market?
Actually, we all do have those ideas that, uh, we never had time to, to bring to market. Uh, I am a professional accountant here in Calgary, uh, Alberta, Canada, and, uh, I help small businesses sometimes with this very question. And, um, I remember I came in late, but I remember Michele and yourself, uh, talked about market research.
From my experience, that’s something I find people skip on and they don’t take the time to do that research. I just want to emphasize the, the importance of it. And, uh, you get a lot doing that research even though that’s not the all of it. [00:42:00] And another thing I want to share is, um, the business, uh, model canvas, um, it’s an activities I I I like to, to recommend to people who have ideas and are stock.
By doing those exercises, uh, if you just go on Google and type business model canvas, you can find, um, a template that you can work with. It’s something that I like personally because when doing those activities, um, it’s in light you on, um, things that you. , you are not necessarily thinking about whether you are starting a new business, even if it’s an established business.
Doing these kind of exercises help us open our minds into things that we may not be thinking about. And the third thing I wanna, um, I would [00:43:00] like to share is, uh, doing a swo analysis, not just for the business idea, but for, uh, the creator personally. And those are the three things, uh, I’d like to share. Uh, it could make things easier and clearer and above all things do not stop because you are overthinking it.
That’s another thing I see. Just go, Michele talked about M V P. Go to market and, uh, and test the water because no textbook. Can, can teach you how to be in business if you are not in business taking massive action. That’s how you can make a change to the, you can start with an idea and end up with a different product than what you started with, but it, it need to, to be, to be implemented.
And also I see people afraid of [00:44:00] sharing their ideas because they are afraid that the idea can get stolen. Colin talks about, uh, trademark. That is something that is very important, but it’s also important to share our ideas to, to hear feedback from customers, from partners, from from investors. When I take Facebook for example, they probably didn’t start with that idea.
I remember, um, there was other companies that were doing the same thing. It’s just about execution. So when you are strong on the execution and taking action, um, try not to worry too much about, uh, who’s gonna steal your ideas. And uh, yeah, those are the things I just, uh, have to share. Thank you. That is great advice.
I totally agree with you. It’s hard, [00:45:00] right? It’s hard to like, share your ideas and be vulnerable and, you know, people get so defensive and upset. . But what I say is, a, you know, only share it with people you trust or you have respect for. Okay, start with that. And then b, you know, it’s, we recently went through this with something that we were getting feedback at first.
It hurts. Oh my gosh. It hurts sometimes. But if you can just make yourself sit down and try to pull the essence of it out, like what truth is there in it, like you can, you’re, you can be so much better off. So I, I love aka you’re, you know, you’re talking about being vulnerable and I think that’s what makes a good leader and a successful person.
Cuz you know, we all know it’s a hard world out there, so you might as well. Some constructive criticism from people that love or like you [00:46:00] first and try to improve rather than going out there and just dismally, you know, failing. So I, I completely agree and I love the research. Thank you. Yeah. And she, she talked about research.
You remember last week on our show, we, we had two data scientists on, and it’s all in the data science, it’s all in the numbers, it’s all in the research. And I know that’s a scenario that you really talk a lot about, Michele. I think I probably tend to go more off the cuff with ideas and jump into the, jump into the water before testing it.
But, um, but I know that’s something you talk about also, aka you mentioned something that’s very interesting. Only two weeks ago I was working with a serial entrepreneur and he’s, um, he’s bought, he sold, started and sold three or four companies in his life in his last company he’d done for about 10 years.
And he’s, he, his last day is today actually. at that company, and I’d worked with him for over a couple of weeks, and you [00:47:00] never guess you’ll, you’ll never believe what we did. We did a SWAT analysis, a personal SWAT analysis of who he was to try to figure out what his strengths are, weaknesses, the opportunities he has in the threats that he, he, he has within his industry as well.
So this idea of the SWAT analysis can be applied early on in the process as well. I think that’s, that’s very useful because then you can identify areas where, okay, well my weakness is I’m not really good at sales, but. I actually have to sell the product. So therefore, if I have to sell the product, then maybe I should partner with somebody who’s good at sales or come up with a distribution strategy that addresses that particular component.
So understanding yourself through a SWOT analysis can actually, a personal SWOT analysis can actually be a, a, uh, a good idea. So I appreciate, I appreciate that, those thoughts. I, you know what, Colin, I never thought of doing a personal SWAT analysis. I [00:48:00] love that. I think that’s a really great suggestion, aka and, uh, Colin, you know, um, being truthful with ourselves, I feel like only makes us stronger, right?
Because then we can pay, play to our strengths and fill out the rest. Yeah. And, and also like this idea that, okay, you are, you have your strengths and if you understand who you are as an individual and use those strengths to get your startup to launch, That’s great, and, and, and you absolutely need to do that.
But not everyone is a jack of all trades. I am not. I mentioned I, I am not naturally good at sales. Uh, I don’t like rejection. , I got some issues. Uh, I do like strategy and I do like other aspects of the startup process. Um, but I’m, I don’t like sales, so I tend to partner with or hire people who are good at sales.
Now, the opposite’s true. I often find a lot of entrepreneurs are very good at sales, [00:49:00] but they’re not so good at operations. Um, and we know them. I don’t wanna mention names, okay? But, you know, uh, uh, uh, you know, somebody in particular I’m thinking about right now, Michele, who has a, a nice beard. We’ll just say that he’s phenomenal.
I’ve never seen anybody better at getting customers, but I’ve never seen anybody worse. So I’ve never seen anybody get this right. I’ve never seen anybody better at getting customers, but I’ve never seen anybody worse at keeping customers. . Uh, it’s fascinating to see, uh, because he just doesn’t have the back end.
He doesn’t have that partnership, he doesn’t have the accounting, he doesn’t have that. You really need the whole thing to come together. So recognize our strengths. If you think about what Steve Jobs did with, uh, Paul Allen, gimme a second here. Uh, I’m mixing up Microsoft, aren’t I? Um, Wazniak Steve Jobs and Wazniak, how they, they were very different personalities.
He needed somebody who was really strong at it, but Steve understood the concept of connecting technology, [00:50:00] behavior, uh, and, and understanding what people actually wanted. He was a great visionary at that, but Wazniak could actually get the product to market, especially if you’re in it, you really do need the technology.
Worked out with po ai. Let’s go back to that. PO ai, my daughter took a AI course and she knew how to do APIs, and Michele and I don’t, we have our strengths, but she, her strength was being able to put this thing, actually put it together. Some of the prompt engineering we helped her out with. But the reality is she was the one at, my daughter was the one who actually put it together.
And Michele actually knew Shopify cuz she’s, she’s, uh, run many e-commerce sites. So very interesting. It’s all about finding people who can compliment you. She can get your startup to launch while simple. You’ve been very patient and welcome back again on Startup Club. You’re, uh, a regular here as well. A V I P.
Uh, we’d love to hear from you. Oh, Clint, um, I’m sorry. Uh, yeah, I just wanna just say one thing when [00:51:00] you are mentioning the, uh, swo analysis and, uh, um, the story I wanna share is about like the way you present yourself as strategists and you know that’s what you are. Good. . Uh, by doing that I met somebody who’s very good at machine learning.
He’s a professor. He, that’s what he does, but he doesn’t know how to make money out of it. He knows how to teach people he knows how to. So, um, knowing that we can compliment each other, we are currently working on a program that can help, uh, CFOs and entrepreneurs making decision using AI. And uh, yeah, I just wanted to share that.
No, that’s interesting. You could actually partner with chat g p t as well. . I was doing that three times today cuz I’m not the best writer either, but I had to write all these documents and things. I just got a chat, G p t and I have chat, G P [00:52:00] t, uh, completed for me. All right. Very, very, uh, thankful for you, simple for being patient.
Uh, we want to hear from you and welcome back. . Uh, well, thanks a lot Colin, uh, for inviting me, Michele, and wonderful thoughts over here. But I was just wondering when you were talking about the previous, uh, uh, room about data scientists, uh, I really believe that all entrepreneurs now, uh, from now on, probably if they can utilize data in a very smart.
Uh, or analytics in a very smart way. I think, uh, a lot of mistakes, time, energy, and money can be saved big time and how we need to adopt it Easter or try to bring one who is really strong in that area, in that particular domain. So thanks for making me remember that and probably I had a question for. Uh, you, Colin, when you mentioned about personal SWAT analysis, uh, see SWAT is used so many times.
[00:53:00] Sometimes, uh, we really take it for granted, but it’s so, uh, kind of immense, uh, to know about ourselves. Uh, at least, uh, give it a shot because sometimes we are really comfortable doing a SWAT analysis in others rather than a, or taking a feedback on a, from others about our swot. But I, I had a question. Uh, do you think SWAT analysis, uh, and Iki guy, if you want to choose one, I believe that probably would’ve heard about Iki guy, which is the one which is more important for No, I haven’t heard of, I haven’t heard of, of that particular one.
Um, I, what I will say though is that, you know, we have to check our egos. We have to understand who we are. We have to understand our strengths. I often see. Business partners formed right out of college where they just formed them with their friends with no sense of, okay, this person [00:54:00] actually, you know, doesn’t compliment me.
He’s actually similar to me, or she is, and, and I think that’s a mistake. I really think the more you think about or, or step back and just think about who you are as an individual and what your strengths are and what you think you’d accomplish and recognize your weaknesses. No one’s perfect. No one’s great at everything.
If you can recognize your weaknesses, then you can at least begin to fill in the gaps. It doesn’t mean you need to have a business partner, but could mean you hire that person. If you can’t afford to hire that person. It could mean that you’ll need a consultant. Maybe I’m not good at accounting, but I’m gonna hire AO o to do the accounting for me.
So, so it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to build a big organization and you can’t launch. , you can be very innovative in your approach in how you do this. Um, but I’m not familiar with that particular system. But, uh, I dunno if [00:55:00] you have any thoughts on it yourself. Yeah. Uh, IK is a very simple Japanese, uh, principle, which actually takes you a, can you say the name again?
Iki. How do you spell it? Just so, uh, I, I k I g E I. Icky guy. It’s a jab. Yeah. Icky guy. Icky guy. Yes. There are quite a number of books on, uh, on that as well. It just takes a one diagram of your, uh, uh, passions and whether it has a commercial, a commercial, Uh, advantage and whether there’s a need and, uh, a few more factors into that.
And you can put it in an Excel sheet, uh, your idea, and you just say, yeah, I’m skilled in it. I’m passionate in it. Uh, probably, uh, it does not have commercial liability. Then drop it. Then you really go for the other ones. So you list 10 of your passions or skills, uh, and then start doing whether there is a, uh, necessity in the market.
Uh, can it be packaged [00:56:00] for money, uh, and how sustainability. So, and after of doing a good work about that, and probably you get one or two and you got to choose, uh, uh, the one which best suits you. Uh, and if you align yourself with that. I don’t think entrepreneurship is our startup, uh, should be scared by any potential entrepreneurs by just looking at the stats, which easily says that nine out of 10 startups flunk.
Uh, that’s one of my, uh, belief in and I really want to try the personal analysis as well. Uh, the second point is when Michele was mentioning about, uh, the vulnerability and, uh, I think also mentioned about it, saying that, uh, people are scared about sharing their idea. Oh my goodness. I think we see it all the time.
Uh, and uh, I see in my circle, Fran, and when they talk about ideas, I tell them, if you’re [00:57:00] not shared your idea with enough number of people, at least with your target people who might be your potential, uh, uh, customer or client, That means your idea is in a very amateur stage. It has not grown up, uh, for execution.
So, uh, and I also say that if, if you really can give your business plan and handover to the person, and if he’s not passionate about it, it can shoot it down in, uh, in a second. And it’s simply, simply, people can’t take a business plan and start doing it. It’s people who make the organizations, uh, start, work, grow, run.
Uh, it’s definitely not just the, the plan or the idea. So , there’s no need to be, uh, scary about it. But, uh, another thought of my, with my personal experience, I had some, uh, two startups, which I did really well. Uh, and the third startup outside the business also, you can really. Make big mistakes and, uh, uh, it affects your business as well.
Uh, [00:58:00] the last business, what I did in India was related to health informatics. It was, uh, obviously I was thinking about a nationwide, uh, thing. Uh, I got hit by Covid. Uh, I mean, I’m doing good in a way, but yeah, it was a big, uh, uh, probably I spent around two years on it. Uh, and I went back to my village and became a farmer for a couple of years.
So I allowed growing plants, which are still growing as they speak. Uh, though there’s no great investment. It’s quite a satisfactory thing. When I came, came back here, Colin, uh, and Michele probably can share your experience, uh, I started another startup, uh, a small one with a team of people. I don’t know how I got carried away with the team who didn’t have, who were not having a lot of passion, passion towards it, I suppose, but they were interested to get on.
There’s so much time in training, which is going out. Uh, sometimes I get drained, uh, and I’m helping two other startups, uh, which is one [00:59:00] in hormone replacement therapy. And another friend who just by intuition, has opened, uh, a chain of pathology labs and she gets, uh, uh, a very poor response. And the business is doing, uh, really bad.
It’s going down in fact. So, uh, if at all, you guys, anyone are looking at partnerships and, uh, as Colin mentions what is very important, and if that’s, uh, you can’t fulfill that strength and you wanna bring someone on board, uh, ensure if it’s your passion, uh, get your documentation, your trademarks as okay was mentioning everything with , because your passion is what, uh, takes, uh, takes it a very long way, and you can hire them.
Yeah. And so I know we, I know we do have to move on, but your point about passion, Uh, it’s key. It’s, it’ll get you through the hard stuff cuz startups are a rollercoaster. You’re up and down all the time. And if you don’t have a love for, for what you’re doing, it’s not gonna [01:00:00] get you through the hard times.
I know we’re very, very running at a time. I’m very sensitive about time. Thank you very much. And, uh, a ako thank you for bringing up the Swatted Dallas analysis. That was your idea there. You, you, you started us on that path. Sandra, uh, we just wanted to finish with you here. I know we have a few minutes left.
We’re gonna go a few minutes over. Uh, but we’d love to hear from you as well in regards to how do you take that idea and get it to get it to launch. Thank you so much Colin, and thank you Michele for bringing me up. That’s a loaded question, right? There’s a, it’s a process. It’s, it’s hard work and there’s steps in the middle.
Um, but, um, on just wanna, uh, retract on that SWOT analysis, I, I’m so glad that you mentioned that, Colin, about doing the personal SWOT analysis. I think it’s critical for all of us to know what our strengths and weaknesses are and we’re where opportunities lie. And also, Exactly in the people that we hire and even in the partners [01:01:00] that we bring on.
I believe everybody, if you’re building a partnership or you’re bringing somebody on board, that both of you do your SWOT analysis and have that conversation with each other where these are my strong points, these are my weak points, and vice versa. So we know what people can handle and we know what, what, where we can pick up, you know, and support each other.
I have an L L C and I have an S corp. And I, my S corp is a partnership. And I mean, the flow is phenomenal because we understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we pick up where, you know, and it’s just a beautiful balance. And I recommend doing a SWOT analysis as a team, um, for sure to, um, to, to really.
you know, to, to really understand that and, and really progress and build that company. Right? So, taking the company in short, in a quick summary, cause I don’t wanna go too much over your time, um, from Idea to Launch is you named it first. The first step is a strategy. What is your plan of action? Um, there are three core questions I usually ask in the beginning, and these three [01:02:00] questions could be really, really fast.
Is one, why are you in business? Really be clear in understanding what it is that you bring to market and why you’re bringing that to market. Two, what makes you special and unique? What is it that you do differently? And three, how do you make money clear? If you can be clear on those three core questions, I think that’s a great foundation to start building a strategy and, and building upon.
Uh, but that’s all I don’t want, I don’t wanna take up too much time. Thank you so much for bringing me up. And I, I always love the shares and the space, so, um, thank you. I’m Sandra. That’s awesome, Sandra. That was really good. And, um, You know, I think I mentioned it at the beginning, but one of the ideas, so if you have your idea and you’re ready to go, you want to vet that idea or maybe beyond the vetting stage.
Now you’re in the processing. I wanna take this to launch. There are so many incubators and innovation centers that you can go to, and guess what, they’re absolutely free. [01:03:00] Some of them are government backed, some of ’em are privately backed. I know the one here in South Florida called the Allen Lavan Center, uh, actually um, is free, absolutely free.
You just apply to get into it. And they bring in about 10 to 15 different speakers over a two month period. And you do a, you learn how to do a pitch. You meet investors, you learn how to make contacts, you understand how to get government funding free. And they’ve done studies that show that those who go into incubators and those who join.
Or innovation centers or, you know, more than shared office, but those who actually go into these environments actually have a much higher chance of succeeding. Uh, you can actually look at your local university as well, and I’ve done, now I’ve done probably around 10 cohorts, um, at, at the island of Van Center and at fsu.
But trust me, they’re not just students at the cohorts. I’ve had people in there in [01:04:00] their sixties in some of these cohorts. It doesn’t matter how old you are, but if you’re alone at home trying to get your idea out the door, it can be a lot harder than, than surrounding yourself with good people who have a lot of experience.
Any last words from you, Michele, before we close the room? No, I think this has been a phenomenal 97th session. and we always appreciate all the insight from the members. Thank you so much. You guys make it, you, you all make it worthwhile. So please, um, you know, come back next week. We’re here every Friday at 2:00 PM Eastern.
We also write blogs and do a podcast out of all of this content. So we spend a lot of effort doing this. It’s all free. There’s nothing you have to do. If you wanna look through past episodes, you can go to www.startup.club or go to your, um, you know, your favorite podcast [01:05:00] network. Um, also, if you’d like to be notified in advance of special topics, you can join our email list.
So thank you again. I hope everyone enjoyed it and was able to get something out of it today. And we look forward to hearing of your future successes and seeing you next week. Thank you so much. Bye for now. Bye. Um, no.