Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, Part 2, by Granger Whitelaw

About Granger Whitelaw: Entrepreneur Granger Whitelaw has founded companies in a number of industries, from social media marketing to rocket racing. He has also worked in venture capital.

Figure out your niche

Entrepreneurs starting new companies need to do one of two things: build a product or service that is better or cheaper than existing options or come up with a brand new idea. Both approaches can work, but you need to find your niche. The research you conducted will help you to do this, but you also need to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers to figure out why they would be interested in what you have to offer.

Practice explaining your idea

In order to attract interest from potential business partners, funders, and customers, you will need to have a variety of pitches at your disposal. These should be different lengths and targeted to different audiences. For instance, have a one- or two-sentence version for networking events or cocktail parties. Develop a slightly longer “elevator pitch” version for short conversations with individuals who might have more than a casual interest. Also produce a number of longer, formal presentations that you can use to raise capital, bring partners on board, hire staff, and sell your idea.

Use the resources around you and assume you won’t get any funding

Almost all startup companies are underfunded. You will need to come up with solutions that involve little or no capital, at least until you have built up a sufficient reputation and/or customer base to bring in money. This means you should rely on free software, used computing equipment, second-hand office furniture, and any other cost-saving measures available to you. Instead of paying for an office space, work at home or out of a garage.

Work on your communications skills

Whether or not you are a natural networker, part of entrepreneurship involves communicating. If your strengths are in online channels such as blogging or social media, start there. If you’re more comfortable with traditional press releases and cold calls, that works too. Whatever your communication preference, build upon it and develop your skills.

Set goals and track them

Once your idea starts to get going, it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday challenges of keeping the business afloat. One way to avoid this pitfall is to have regular goals and metrics. Spend some time early on finding accurate ways to measure your progress, and then set realistic goals. This will help you prioritize your time and activities.

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About Granger Whitelaw

Granger Whitelaw founded the Rocket Racing League along with partner, Peter Diamandis in 2005. See more information at http://www.grangerwhitelaw.com/blog and http://grangerwhitelaw.brandyourself.com View all posts by Granger Whitelaw

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