Most startup companies fade out fast while less than 30% with real promise get funded.
Despite the odds, thousands of pioneers take the plunge into the business pool each year. In order to swim and not drown top performers suit up with the right gear.
At the Founder Institute in Los Angeles Monday night, Simon Mainwaring, a global branding consultant, author, speaker and blogger, revealed his secrets to success. Presenting to a group of 34 enrollees who aim to score with their business plans, Mainwaring explained how to smash through the walls of resistance.
The first step is to research who you are, in order to define your core values and brand identity.
“In a fast changing market you have to be your own compass or stay lost at sea the whole time,” said Mainwaring. “If you clearly define yourself, you will stand out from the crowd.”
Thoroughly interrogate and distill it to a rich purity, he said. Establish a brand with emotional power.
Examples used were Coke and Pepsi. It’s not brown sugary water. Coca-Cola is all about H-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s! Pepsi is R-e-f-r-e-s-h-i-n-g!
Your core values must be firmly rooted. An example is Walmart, which promotes a core value around sustainability. Every successful brand has a core value that is well received with a strong emotional connection. When that happens fans will promote the brand through their social media platforms.
Every business also needs a tagline. My tagline is at the top of this blog site: “Seeking trends and truth in the world of technology.”
Businesses also need a manifesto – a declaration of principles and intentions that employees understand and support. Also create a vision statement that defines where you are headed.
Do all this and you are now well defined, able to look forward, not back for validation. It makes you consistent and effective in achieving goals, as employees rally around the constitution with a purpose and passion.
Now you become genuine and authentic – worthwhile, significant and meaningful.
“Authenticity is what resonates in the marketplace,” said Mainwaring.
Now you’re on a roll, transparent and accountable with a clear, powerful and positive identity. Your’e a social superstar.
Confront competitors head on, without timidity. Now that you know your core values, brand and mission, there’s no wishy-washy wrangling over how to lead.
“All this will save you countless hours in the boardroom,” said Mainwaring.
Congratulations. You’re a winner.
Among other guests and speakers at Monday night’s event was Brock Pierce, a successful serial entrepreneur who, when asked who he is, replied, “An arms dealer.”
Among his many successful ventures, Pierce created a business that developed weaponry and other tools that are bought and sold in the “World of Warcraft” game. It’s a huge business.
Pierce said that building a successful business requires three keys. 1) What does it cost to acquire a customer? 2) How much is that customer worth? And how much must you spend to scale the business? Do all three profitably and you’re a winner. Pierce also emphasized the need to launch into foreign markets, especially China, Brazil and India.
Another presenter was Taryn Rose, a former orthopedic surgeon who changed the footwear industry by creating a line of luxury shoes that are both fashionable and functional. She outlined the need to identify the geographic, psychographic, demographic and behavioral character of customers. Meet with potential customers to ask questions about what they need.
She built the Taryn Rose brand into a $30 million business, “with very little outside funding.”
I will end with comments from venture capitalist William Quigley, who told a story of one company founder that was 12 inches from greatness and never reached the end zone.
“The difference between a $10 million company and a billion-dollar company can come down to whether you go one step further,” he said. “They were on the one yard line and didn’t take that extra step.”
I’ll be at Founder Institute next Monday. I’ll be at the METal breakfast on Saturday. Life is rich, life is good, and I am really glad you are here.
As Russell Crowe’s Maximus said in the movie “Gladiator,” Stay With Me!