Quick, easy, painless. That’s how I like most everything in my life, who can argue that? That’s why Speed Mentoring may just be the most awesome thing ever. It’s quick: 10 minute sessions. It’s easy: you're matched with four of the 30 enormously talented Chicago entrepreneurs based on your preferences and interests. It’s painless…well, pause, maybe.
Ok. It could be painless if you are an askhole. What’s an askhole? You ask for advice, but you don’t actually take it. You know that type, someone who calls you to talk about their latest problem. You listen attentively and give your loving and compassionate advice, and they totally do the opposite thing (thank you Julie for the word!).
Here are my top 3 ways to gain insightful advice from people you trust and admire and to take action. That’s the differentiator between being an askhole and being an entrepreneur: Taking Action.
Interview potential customers.
This year I took Marie Forleo’s B-School program. At the beginning of the program you are taken through a PDF called “Start the Right Business” which asks you: Is this business idea viable, do I love it and will my customers love it?”
Since 2008 how many failed online and off-line retail businesses have you seen? Tons. It’s not because the market is so shitty, there are many successful retail start-ups out there with super cool business models…look at all of the new subscription box businesses. I believe retail fails because owners don't ask their customers what they like, instead they bought what they wear. Heck, I would love to open a retail shop that had all of my favorite bright-as-hell-clothes in it, but nobody would buy it, it’s my style, not theirs. Knowing you customer, asking your customer what they want, and providing that item, not your favorite accessory, makes a business idea viable. Make it about your customer, not you.
Interview your peeps.
This is a tough one. It requires to you ask for criticism, and act on it (see askhole above). Marie Forleo suggested asking people you know, admire, or work with what your strengths and weaknesses are. This was an eye-opening experience for me.
I sent out an anonymous Google Form to 20 people. 14 of them took the time to respond back, which showed me that they care about me and my business. My husband thought I was brave for even opening myself up for asking, which I can agree with him, it wasn't easy to do.
I consider myself a good designer, and a better strategist. If no one said I was creative then I should seriously reconsider what I am offering. Luckily, almost most said that I was indeed creative. Whew.
I have to admit, my focus went directly to the *weakness* column, the items I could work on. I was asking for feedback, and I got it. Isn't it always that ONE thing that festers in your mind for days?!
The one person that said, “Interpersonal connection & relationship building” was something I could work on totally made my monkey mind go crazy for days!
There were 14 x 3 = 42 positives and that one negative kept creeping into my mind. We all do that: negative reinforcement, but you know what? If I didn't get past it, or work on it, I wouldn't have the feedback and insight that I have from the 42 other answers that I can focus on to make my business better. Long story short: you have to ask and you have to listen.
I am making it easy for you. Copy/paste this into Google Forms, add email addresses and send away.
“Hi there! I am working on aligning my business services with my strengths and would appreciate your feedback. I have send this email to 20 friends/foes/favorite people because I respect your feedback. On Google Forms you can be anonymous! Go go ahead and be straightforward and truthful, I really appreciate your insight.
1. What are NAME’s top 3 strengths in business and/or *real life*? 2. What is one thing that NAME could work on?”
30 entrepreneurs in a room for $30? Sign me up.These people have experience. They have already had to problem solve the same problems you are facing, difference is, they have answers. People love to talk about themselves and their business so ask them.
Ask: Where did you find customers? How much capital did you invest in your business? What classes or skills do I need to know? What kind of rates should I charge? How did you handle customer reviews?
We only have 5 4 tickets left for our summer Speed Mentoring session. If you can come, please do! We’d love to host you. If you can’t make it, consider taking action and pushing your business forward with these 3 tasks. It’s hard to ask, and even harder to get real answers, but it will help your business ten-fold.
I’d love to hear if any of these ideas work for you, or if you have more, spill them! Forth is a community of sharing and growing together. You can leave a comment below, or tweet me at @stepbrightly, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be bright, Lisa