What Would I Tell Young Me?

At the EO Accelerator Mixer earlier this week we were fortunate to have Michael Brown, CEO of Affirma, speak to a room full of leading entrepreneurs and share what advice he would tell his younger self. Michael is a seasoned entrepreneur and his company is a PSBJ Fastest Growing Company winner for the last four consecutive years, INC 5000 fastest growing company, and Best Place to Work for three years. Michael has bootstrapped his company to over 110+ employees. Here’s what he would tell himself:

“Young me, bad advice has ramifications only to you, your family and your team.  Find advisors that have successfully been where you are going and get right sized advice.” – Old me

“Young me, Don’t Party with Employees” - Old me

“Young me, a niche service focus can keep you small.” - Old me

“6 months ago me, Business is Personal, Don’t Hire Your Neighbors, BBQs will get weird” - Old me

“Young me, people make perfect sense if you understand the emotions driving their decisions” - Old me

“Young me, bad advice has ramifications only to you, your family and your team. Find advisors that have successfully been where you are going and get right sized advice.” – Old me

“Young me, shamelessly plug your solutions and services” - Old me

What are some of the things that you would tell your younger entrepreneurial self? If you are interested in joining the EO Accelerator check out the following information:

Apply for the EO Accelerator: Email me or fill out this form.

Requirements:

  • Company that can scale and grow to $1M and beyond (see the infographic)
  • $250K in revenue or $250K in funding
  • Founder of CEO

Program starts: July 2014 thru June 2015 Time commitment: Once a month for 3 hours you will participate in Forum with same stage entrepreneurs. One day per quarter you will participate in Quarterly Learning Day which focuses on: Strategy (building your $1M plan); Financing and Funding; People and Culture, Sales and Marketing. Access to EO Mentors (ad hoc, connect with experienced entrepreneurs when you need them!).

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The big ‘fat’ launch

The Big fat lunch1

Entrepreneurs know what it’s like to be in an environment that changes everyday, and sometimes every minute. To launch a product or service within your budget and on time can feel daunting. Then again, when has a daunting task deterred an entrepreneur?

What to Expect During a Launch:

Change is the only constant when it comes to the launch process. The team needs to be prepared to deal with ambiguity that cannot be predicted by even the best data. As the plan starts taking shape, a clear picture emerges, and that is when a roll out action strategy is created. The key to a successful launch lies in the way the launch manager tracks this roll out plan: meeting deadlines; staying within budget; seeing issues before they become problems; and changing tracks as needed.  In other words, ensuring that the entire process is seamless.
 Now that we know what to expect, what are the three things that must be done in order to have a successful launch?

Don’t assume you know everything about your audience:

In our frenzy to be unique and with the passionate belief that our product and service is going to change the face of the market, we tend to make assumptions about our target audience. This can hamper the success of the product. Know your customers — their likes, dislikes, needs.  Most importantly, know how your product will change their lives. Do not spend too much time analyzing the demographics data; try to understand their mindsets.  What drives them and does your product have the potential to be in the front of their minds?

Create the buzz:

For a typical launch, invites are sent a week before, but entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need to launch their product via this traditional route. Before the launch, start having conversations with your community and your peers. Start utilizing social media to create excitement without putting a huge dent on your resources. By using the power of leverage you can get the word out faster, build your customer base more quickly and generate more revenue. Consider for a moment the employees, friends, family, customers, partners, investors, press and associations that you can reach out to – the people that can influence the success of your product launch. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. One person talks to another, who will in turn talk to others and the word will spread. Give your audience something to talk about.

Post launch sustenance is more important than the launch itself: 

Once the product or service is launched, the team needs to work harder and faster to deliver results. Ensure that you answer all of your team’s questions. Organize your team in such a way that every query or problem is answered within one business day. Be open to criticism; not everybody may like what you have launched. Take it in stride and see if you can incorporate the feedback to make your product or service better.

Launching a product or service is not easy, but a calm mind coupled with someone on your team to drive accountability for the project can get you closer to the ‘dream’ launch that we each envision for our products and services!

Ready to launch your next project?

Not sure where to begin? Do you know what tools to use? How fast it needs to get done? Who your audience is? Join us Friday, May 30th at thinkspace in Redmond. We will meet at 12:00 pm to discuss the launch manager services that we offer here at thinkspace. Our panel of experts has insight and knowledge you will need to get your project management on track!

To join the event, click here.