YOU DON’T need a big bank account to pursue
your big idea. Contrary to common belief, you
may actually be at an advantage if you don’t have
a ton of resources, since you’ll
be less likely to waste capital and
more likely to find creative,
Here are three concrete
ways that you can get started
Trade with other entrepreneurs. Connect with others trying to create businesses, not
only for moral support, but to
trade comparable skills. For
instance, a tech-focused entrepreneur could help you with
your programming while you
assist with her marketing plan.
Both businesses give time in lieu of money.
Create preorder demand before you start.
Some of the most popular new ideas, like the
Pebble Smartwatch, started from preorder cam-
paigns. Reach out to your potential audience and,
if they like what they see, people will send you
the money to make it a reality. Kickstarter,
Indiegogo and other plat-
forms can help you get started
or you can create demand
through your own website.
The beauty is that you get
instant feedback on whether
people are truly interested in
your product or service.
Focus on the prototype.
Create enough of a product
to get it out the door and get
feedback from your audience,
and then you can invest more
time and money in a final version. Silicon Valley calls this
the minimal viable product,
or MVP. The key here is to not pursue perfection,
but to do market research before you break the
bank. It is a model worth considering; nearly
every major startup follows it. C
Bootstrap your business
BY SEAN LYNCH
WHEN I joined the U.S.
Air Force, I fulfilled a
dream of becoming a
fighter pilot. When I
left active duty, the
impact of service went
far beyond developing
piloting skills. The Air
Force equipped me to be a leader.
Today, I meet people who don’t identify
with the word “leader.” They say, “I’m not
the boss. I can’t do that.” In the military, I
learned that leadership isn’t about posi-
tional authority. It’s about behaviors. These
leadership behaviors are exhibited by indi-
viduals we call “Sparks.”
A Spark is a doer, thinker and innova-
tor whose unique approach to creative
problem-solving betters the lives of
others. Their actions can directly
shape their future, and they can
make things better. Sparks demon-
strate the following behaviors to
obtain the results they desire.
Character. Being aware of what you
value enables you to direct your life and lead
others authentically. Dedicate time to con-
sider what values matter most to you and
how they can better guide you.
Credibility. Credibility is the key to
leadership and grows when others know
they can count on you because your words
match your actions. Mind your say-do gap;
keep the difference between your words
and actions as small as possible.
Accountability. When challenges arise,
question whether you are part of the problem, and accept responsibility. Focus on the
factors you can control, and disregard those
Service. Make sure your colleagues have
the necessary tools and support. By directing your resources, talents and experience
to benefit others, you develop trust and
transform a group into a team.
Confidence. Confidence is your belief
that you can succeed at the task at hand.
Pay attention to your internal dialogue when
challenged. As Henry Ford said, “Whether
you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”
To learn more about each of these
behaviors, visit sparkslead.us. C
Sean Lynch is senior consultant at Lead Star
Lead yourself and others to greater success
FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Damon Brown is the
author of the Bite-Sized
( damonbrown.net; not
available at Costco).