We are constantly working on a stream of interesting start-up ideas at the Urbane Lab, some that mushroomed into companies. Out Street Eatzz Brand launched in early 2012 now has Street Eatzz 313 Foodie Sauce on the grocery shelves. We are jazzed to have sold about (75) Cases in our first six weeks of 2013. The business is off and running, but now what, we need to market it!
In 2013, our first of three new Start-Up’s, BuyMichLocal.com is out of the gate and starting to monetize. But now what, we need to understand how to sell the Listing Service to provide advertising value.
The Idea Stage of a Start-Up is much safer than the actual Start-Up. We can vacillate for hours on end about this and that. It makes us feel good. It is exciting to talk about our ideas. Actually launching your idea is a bit scarier because the stakes are higher. It is no longer just verbal masturbation, you have likely plunked down some dough to get started, either yours or someone else’s.
But at some point, as Seth Godin coined the phrase, “You Have to Ship”. Stepping off the dock can be a tough one, particularly if you are pulling the plug and quitting your day job. Running your Start Up part time in the beginning is an excellent safety net until things are running smoothly and you have steady cash flow. Extend the Runway. You definitely do not want to Run Out of Money.
Must Do Exercises
One of our Must Do Exercises with our companies that we own and operate is to create a new value curve. We spend a lot of time on the following four questions:
- Which factors should be reduced well below the industry standard
- Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered
- Which factors should be raised well above the industry standard
- Which of the factors that the industry take for granted should be eliminated
Create Your Niche
Getting really clear with the above four questions has helped us carve out niche businesses. Many times the things that separate one company or business from another are not large single items, but a series of small, but radically different, things. A great place to start is your policy and procedure manual. It is likely slam full of stuff that no longer apply or never worked well from the get-go.
Have You Answered Why?
This is a tricky one, we tend to race to What We Do. That is much easier to identify. We gravitate to How we do it. The question of Why we do it only gets answered by the remarkable brands. If we reverse the order, and start with why we are doing this and keep that at the core center of our culture, we are heads above the rest. Why People Buy People buy from companies because of why they do, not what they do. That is one of the explanations as to why great brands exponentially lead the pack. Many times their competitors actually have a better product. Many times the competition is better capitalized. Yet the company who best identifies what motivates them, and why they are doing what they are doing run circles around the pack. We suggest that you take some time to identify the Why, way before you get to the What and the How. Your result will be diametrically different.
For more inspiration on the same topic, check out Simon Sinek’s awesome TED Talk: