Friday, December 28, 2012

6 Lessons on Starting Up From Norm Brodsky

Learn to Pursue the Right Opportunities

Though Brodsky is often sharing his thoughts and opinions with the many entrepreneurs who come to him looking for direction, he makes sure they understand that the decision is theirs and theirs alone. "Otherwise," says Brodsky, "they won't take responsibility if they fail. They will simply blame 'bad advice' and lose the opportunity to learn from failure, which is always the best teacher." So the next time you're faced with a difficult decision, begin by asking yourself what it is that you want to be doing for the next 10 years. Be aware of the potential downside of each decision and, more important, the time, money, and energy each will require. Never lose focus of your goal.

Keep Your Message Clear

"One of the most common mistakes you can make in business is to assume that potential customers think the way you do," advises Norm Brodsky. Consider Justin Esgar, who created an iPad app that allows you to sign PDFs on your iPad in hopes of helping to reduce the amount of paper in the world. He had been pitching his product as a way to go green, says Brodsky, but for most people, the real benefit has to do with the time and money it can save. "Not that Justin shouldn't continue to tout the green virtues of his product, but he'd probably sell more copies if he focused instead on the time-saving features that almost any professional with an iPad would gladly pay $3.99 for."

Attract More of the Right Kind of Customers

Generating publicity is key to getting the word out about your new business, but it oftentimes isn't enough to reach your target market. A mention in your local paper might not result in the surge of traffic you'd expect, probably because the article isn't targeted at a specific market, says Brodsky. Instead, he suggests, "make a list of the 10 categories of people most likely to want [your] services, along with ideas of how to reach each category." For example, if you're trying to target people planning to move, you could talk to moving associations about getting on their websites. "But building a business takes time," advises Brodsky. So don't be discouraged if your idea doesn't go viral overnight.

Exercise Sound Inventory Control