No doubt you're already discovering that there's just SO much to think about!🤯
I recently spoke to BoardShape's Nick Holder about lots of topics affecting early-stage entrepreneurs - including avoiding common traps, financial planning, market research, MVPs and spinning all those plates, juggling all those balls, wearing all those hats 😅... and some actions you can take to make life easier (and keep track of what's important.)
Here's a taster:
Q: What common challenges do most startup founders face in the early stages, and what strategies can you suggest to overcome them effectively?There are so many steps in the entrepreneurial journey from initial idea through to launching a business, hustling for those first customers and then focusing on growth! First and foremost, you’re getting a solid grasp of the problem that you're trying to solve, and marrying that up with the best, and most appropriate solution for the customer group(s) that you’ve decided to serve. The business won’t survive if there aren’t enough interested customers continuing to pay for the product or service, so carrying out market research is critical.
Q: What form should this market research takeConsider not only qualitative research in the form of questionnaires, but qualitative research in the form of discussions with people who experience “the problem” that you’re trying to solve. The information gathered will not only clarify whether your business idea is worth pursuing, but can generate so many valuable by-products, including testimonials, anecdotes and verbatim quotes that can be used on a website, included in pitches and even in marketing campaigns.
You can find the rest of the article here: https://boardshape.com/blog/master-startup-success-interview-with-kay-kukoyi.
The Road to Wisdom
The road to wisdom? — Well, it’s plain and simple to express:
Err and err
and err again
Piet Hein (1905–1996)
With a few gentle words this poem reminds that chasing perfection is NOT how we grow, and that patience and persistence can work together in harmony. In other words, keep going, keep improving and you'll get there.
So, how does anyone err "less and less"?
Through *iteration* - popular in software development and business /entrepreneurship.
To *iterate* is to:
- Take the most sensible action(s) based on what's known at the time
- Observe the outcomes and seek feedback
- Learn by analysing the outcomes and feedback
- Take further action(s) based on what worked (and what didn't) and then repeat the cycle again.
Iteration works, whether we're considering:
✅Entrepreneurship and aspects of your business
✅ Career and work
✅A sport or hobby
Until you get the big win, welcome each small one, and keep going, one step at a time 💪!
You're already on The Road to Wisdom... 🎉
Do you have a poem, phrase or mantra that motivates you and helps you maintain your perspective?
Drop your thoughts in the comments!
Here's a new use for AI that may reduce the environmental impact of air travel. ✈
Every day's a school day... We think this is really interesting!
❗The aviation sector is responsible for around 2.4% of global CO2 emissions.
😒 A single flight can emit as much CO2 as many people do in an entire year.
(Source - BBC News)
Contrails,🤔 are line-shaped clouds made from the water in plane engine exhausts. They account for between approximately 30-57% of the entire climate impact of aviation. (Estimates on impact seem to vary a lot between sources 🙄.)
☄Contrails don't always occur during flights - the air needs to be both very cold AND humid, but they trap and absorb heat which would have escaped into space, this contributes to global warming.
🌃 The effect is worse at night when it's colder and contrails have a longer lifetime.
🙌 American Airlines partnered with Google Research and Breakthrough Energy. They used AI to predict where contrails would be formed so flight paths could be re-routed to avoid them.
☑ During a 6-month study, 70 pilots reduced their contrail formation by 54 per cent, according to satellite imagery.
👏 This is one of the first examples of commercial flights being able to avoid contrails, reducing their impact on the environment.
❓Have you come across any new uses for AI that are applicable to the lifestyle or habits of the masses? Chat GPT has been discussed to death, but we'd love to hear about other advances affecting large segments of the population...
Please pop your thoughts in the comments!
💡 🤔 Small Things and Great
“He that lets the small things bind him leaves the great undone behind him.”
Let's talk about perfectionism and its impact on another P - Productivity.
🔎 Personally I've found that the big downside to perfectionism is the rumination over small details, or spreading myself too thinly to try and attempt "everything".
- Whilst attention to detail is very important and a superpower in the right scenarios, it’s also a BIG distraction in others.
- If you want big results, smart prioritisation and consistent laser focus beats the scattergun approach!
✅ Knowing “when to move on” and when “good is good enough” are instincts that every entrepreneur, CXO, and business leader must develop if they wish to be effective. It's essential to untangle yourself from the weeds and those activities that, in the big scheme of things, won’t *really* make much of a difference.
⤵ In the meantime, the actions that will really move the needle for you suffer!
😲 I’ve heard of very successful founders literally throwing out to-do lists when they get too long (oh, the horror!!!), but the thing that I’m focusing on more than ever right now is consistently focusing on the big things first.
❓What are the things to focus on so that if these few things were kept on course, everything else by default would be o.k. In your world?
❓What are the things to work on so that if you did nothing else, your life, your career, and your business, would grow and thrive?
📈 Big questions, big impact!
💪 Place your energy and activity where you can get the best return on investment. High value items come first!
🙏 Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic below.
The photo below is of me enjoying speaking to a group of female entrepreneurs about creating a digital MVP or prototype using code-free tools or by hiring a developer to help them. Understanding how to create tech products is so important a microphone would not do, I needed a MEGAPHONE! 😄
“There isn’t a person anywhere who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can.”
A powerful quote! Super inspiring and also gives you a bit of a mental kick in the pants, doesn't it? (It did us, anyway! 😅.)
You have been given strengths, resources and gifts that are your personal superpowers 🎉.
Do you know what yours are, and are you maximising them?
What's that thing that you’re NOT totally sure you can do?
Maybe it's something that you really want or aspire to, or could make a big difference in your life or business... C’mon, you know, *that thing*! 😉
It could be something you've been skirting around, or dismissing and pushing to the back of your mind.
🧠✍ Brainstorm at least 5 ideas that will bring you closer to achieving your goal and write them down.
1️⃣ Pick at least one that you can commit to taking action on.
🚶♀️Taking small steps forward can be more effective than trying to take large ones if it leads you to feel burned out, procrastinate or feel overwhelmed. This is counterproductive, and you'll be less likely to follow through. (Remember "The tortoise and the hare" story?)
💪 Take action! (Even if it's learning about a new topic to build knowledge and confidence, that's a valid action.)
📈 Keep pushing forward. If you can't take daily action, can you schedule in consistent action weekly, fortnightly, or monthly?📆
Forward motion is forward motion.
This will change the world!”
“We're going to make a fortune!”
“THIS technology is the answer we’ve been searching for!”
Hmmm. Maybe, maybe not!
In that case, how exactly should we decide where we should focus our time and/or our money as the pace of innovation continues?
The Gartner Hype Cycle is a useful tool to assess tech advances, and shows the journey that tech trends take over time.
The cycle has 5 phases:
🔵 Phase 1: Innovation Trigger 🔵
The Innovation Trigger is when a new technology emerges. The tech makes headline news, and people get excited. Expectations surrounding the tech start to grow.
🔶 Phase 2: Peak of Inflated Expectations 🔶
This is the peak of the rollercoaster.🎢
Suddenly EVERY problem will be solved using this tech! (This is where the "hype" comes into it.) Caution is key - this is where investors and startups can make the wrong decisions, and may end up "backing the wrong horse."🤔
🟡 Phase 3: Trough of Disillusionment 🟡
Reality sets in. Erm, maybe the tech isn't that amazing after all...
Problems and barriers to usage become more obvious. Ventures may fail, or lose value, and confidence dips as flaws with the tech's reliability, security, accuracy, safety, or its impact on people, the environment or other issues come to light.
🟢 Phase 4: Slope of Enlightenment 🟢
Consumers and/or businesses start to find affordable, practical uses for the tech, and access spreads beyond scientists, elite innovation teams, or people with specialist skill sets. We start to understand how best to use it, and there are clear wins and benefits.
At this point, it could be fairly save to say that the innovation is here to stay and as user adoption grows it could well be a sound investment (after completion of some careful analysis and due diligence, of course!)
I think this is where ChatGPT (openai.com) and Llama2 (ai.meta.com/llama) have brought us to with generative AI. Let me know in the comments if you agree with this, or not!
(Other major players include Google's Bard and Anthropic's Claude.)
🟠 Phase 5: Plateau of Productivity 🟠
The tech matures, and becomes part of everyday life. For example, smartphones!📱The tech is reliable, easy to use/access, and adds real value.
Tips & takeaways:
1️⃣ Understanding where tech trends are on the Hype Cycle can help with good decision-making in terms of investments, study, adoption of tech for business, and generally knowing when to get involved.
2️⃣ Not every tech advancement will reach stages 4 and 5. Some will stay niche, and some will die altogether.
3️⃣ Research examples or "use cases" for how tech may impact your industry or profession. Check for new advances through content from futurists, podcasts, webinars and tech blogs.
4️⃣ Start experimenting with new/unfamiliar tech via free accounts, software demos, or training. You're unlikely to "break" anything, and the more you explore, the more normal this will become. As a result, it will be easier for you to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise!
Updates come out each year as Gartner reviews the latest tech advances and where they sit within the Hype Cycle.
You can see an example from 2022 below.
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