on life, ambitions, and dreams

Entrepreneur in Training: Three Tips for Launching Your Startup

Entrepreneur-in-training

Back in August, I read Michael Karnjanaprakorn’s blog post, How to Launch Your Startup Idea for Less than $5K. I don’t know much about his startup and his company, but I love the approach he took to launching, mainly the following points:

Start with small ideas

“Entrepreneurs should start with small ideas and learn how to execute those ideas.” – Mike Karnjanaprakorn

Yes, we know you want to take over the world. But in order to do that, you need to start by taking over your local metropolitan precinct. So do that and prove to us that you can. Start small, kick ass, and then move to conquering the bigger fish in the sea.

Test small first, then grow bigger.

Just do It

“The secret behind launching your startup idea is to always move the ball forward on your ideas through execution. “– Mike Karnjanaprakorn

Strategizing how you’re going to take over the world is one thing, but let’s be honest here, strategy is a bunch of hot air. You are nothing unless you ship, unless you launch, unless you do.  So “do something,” and show exactly what you’re up to.

Ask for feedback, specifically, will it work or will it fail?

“Once I convinced myself this was an idea I’d like to pursue, I asked a dozen really smart people I knew what they thought about the idea with a small twist. Rather than asking them if they liked it, I asked them why the idea wouldn’t work, why it would fail, and why I shouldn’t work on it.” – Mike Karnjanaprakorn

When we have a great idea that’s burning in the back of our heads, it’s easy to ask our friends, mentors, and allies, “What do you think?” but it’s incredibly hard to ask, “Do you think it will work or how do you think it will fail,” that, my dear friends, is a whole other beast of a question and I love it.

In summary, when it comes to testing if you have a viable business and idea, start small, be strategic, and get specific feedback that will help you along the way.

What feedback would you give to an entrepreneur in training?

Photo Credit: justmakeit

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22 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for the specifics on Tip 3. Going with it, there’s a CRUCIAL Tip 3A: listen when they answer you. Without going into specifics, a recent business I know of that went under did so for the very reasons the entrepreneur was told all along. She put on her rose colored glasses and thanked people for their feedback, but assured them “that won’t ever happen,” and failed to plan for “Yeah, but what if it does?”

    Listen, listen, listen, then act.
    -Brianne

    1. Ouch, that’s a tough lesson to learn. The part I love about that piece of advice is how Mike has changed the question from “What do you think?” to, specifically, “Will it work or will it fail?”

      I think people are too forthcoming with advice about other people’s projects. I can see where/why your friend would have ignored what other people were saying, especially because she didn’t want to hear it.

      With the project I’m working on, I’m purposely keeping it quite while I for a better idea of what it is and what I want it to be. Once I figure that out, then I’ll know exactly what parts I’ll need help with and want feedback on.

      1. Yes, this was a slightly different situation, she was originally planning on buying into a franchise, but decided it was too restrictive and too expensive. So, she changed a lot of things about how it would have operated instead of asking herself *why* the franchise had certain requirements. Those of us trying to help were numerous, but when she asked for feedback, what she was really looking for was cheerleaders. A LOT of us expressed our doubts when asked, to her, we were merely being negative and didn’t want her to succeed.

  2. Thanks so much for the specifics on Tip 3. Going with it, there’s a CRUCIAL Tip 3A: listen when they answer you. Without going into specifics, a recent business I know of that went under did so for the very reasons the entrepreneur was told all along. She put on her rose colored glasses and thanked people for their feedback, but assured them “that won’t ever happen,” and failed to plan for “Yeah, but what if it does?”

    Listen, listen, listen, then act.
    -Brianne

    1. Ouch, that’s a tough lesson to learn. The part I love about that piece of advice is how Mike has changed the question from “What do you think?” to, specifically, “Will it work or will it fail?”

      I think people are too forthcoming with advice about other people’s projects. I can see where/why your friend would have ignored what other people were saying, especially because she didn’t want to hear it.

      With the project I’m working on, I’m purposely keeping it quite while I for a better idea of what it is and what I want it to be. Once I figure that out, then I’ll know exactly what parts I’ll need help with and want feedback on.

      1. Yes, this was a slightly different situation, she was originally planning on buying into a franchise, but decided it was too restrictive and too expensive. So, she changed a lot of things about how it would have operated instead of asking herself *why* the franchise had certain requirements. Those of us trying to help were numerous, but when she asked for feedback, what she was really looking for was cheerleaders. A LOT of us expressed our doubts when asked, to her, we were merely being negative and didn’t want her to succeed.

  3. I think this is reallllly important for any entrepreneur. I just finished reading Eric Reis’s “The Lean Startup” and he talks about a concept I honestly never had cross my mind.

    Along the lines of your points 2 & 3 is the idea of just getting feedback… as soon as possible. 

    It doesn’t matter if the product sucks, it’s just a MVP that will get feedback and help you tweak the idea further.

    The whole principle underlying this is action, which is a little funny because it’s the thing that most of us are afraid of.  It takes guts, time, money, and exposes us to criticism.

    And I couldn’t agree more on the testing of small ideas.  A couple weeks ago I wrote about the myth of million dollar ideas and am sticking to it all the way.

    Are you working on any projects / start ups yourself outside of your blog?

     – Alex

    1. It’s all about iteration, testing, launching, and tweaking your strategy all the time. I’ve heard great things about “Lean Startup” but never read it myself (yet). That theory is big up here in the tech center of Seattle.

      I’m working on two projects: 1) Building Scrappy Face during the day (details in this post: http://bit.ly/sko7Xm), and 2) Working on building my own business, which is in the very infant idea stage right now (again, more details in this post: http://bit.ly/nRP4VX).

      While a little contradictory to the transparency that is my blog, I’m just not quite ready to share what my EIT project is yet 🙂

  4. I think this is reallllly important for any entrepreneur. I just finished reading Eric Reis’s “The Lean Startup” and he talks about a concept I honestly never had cross my mind.

    Along the lines of your points 2 & 3 is the idea of just getting feedback… as soon as possible. 

    It doesn’t matter if the product sucks, it’s just a MVP that will get feedback and help you tweak the idea further.

    The whole principle underlying this is action, which is a little funny because it’s the thing that most of us are afraid of.  It takes guts, time, money, and exposes us to criticism.

    And I couldn’t agree more on the testing of small ideas.  A couple weeks ago I wrote about the myth of million dollar ideas and am sticking to it all the way.

    Are you working on any projects / start ups yourself outside of your blog?

     – Alex

    1. It’s all about iteration, testing, launching, and tweaking your strategy all the time. I’ve heard great things about “Lean Startup” but never read it myself (yet). That theory is big up here in the tech center of Seattle.

      I’m working on two projects: 1) Building Scrappy Face during the day (details in this post: http://bit.ly/sko7Xm), and 2) Working on building my own business, which is in the very infant idea stage right now (again, more details in this post: http://bit.ly/nRP4VX).

      While a little contradictory to the transparency that is my blog, I’m just not quite ready to share what my EIT project is yet 🙂

      1. Haha don’t worry, no one knows what projects I’m workin either!  I’m always haunted by that Napoleon Hill quote “Tell the world what you intend to do, but do it first.”

        Honestly I found the Lean Startup bloody hard to get through – not very well written in my opinion.

        But the singular idea behind it is really important, the product, test, alter, produce test, alter type of method.

        Re: your projects – build your legacy and change the world.. and hit us up with some updates once you’ve done it ! 

        1. That’s true, I’m still trying to figure you out.

          I’m a fan of shipping and doing instead of speaking ans strategizing. While the latter are two very important steps, they get in the way of “do” way too much.

  5. Excellent information! I agree with your opinion, This post
    shows that if you want business on big level then firstly you should start
    small business. If small business getting success then you should explore your
    business.
     

    Business Development

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