5 Things Startups Think About Themselves That Are Wrong

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May 29, 2014 by Bill Johnson


The easiest thing in the world is to have an idea. The hardest thing is to successfully execute on that idea and turn it into something that creates customers and actually turns a profit.

I talk with startups every day, and the one thing many of them have in common is that their self perception is often out of whack with what people actually want or need. Lots of valuable time, money and most importantly, energy, get lost this way via development, marketing and PR.

1. We’re Changing The World!

Not yet you’re not. Your vision includes the potential to change some part of the world and people’s lives, but until you’ve attracted enough customers, subscribers, media attention, or social media swagger to actually start making a difference,  you’ve changed nothing.

Take a realistic look at when that moment will be that you go from the “idea” of changing the world to “actually” changing the world. That’s what you’re shooting for, and if you’re smart, driven and talented you’ll get there.

2. We’re Revolutionary, A First, Unique!

Are you sure? Have you really looked? Are you really as unique as you think or are? Are there others like you out there? Don’t be afraid to look. If there are similar solutions to the problems you’re solving, you’ll be far more successful if you know now, than if you find out later.

If there are, don’t give up. Just play to your strengths. Differentiate. Never give up. Be smarter.

3. We’re newsworthy. The Media Will Swoon When They Hear About Us!

Unless you can clearly tell them why they should, they won’t. Is what you’re doing proprietary? Do you have the patent for it? Are you in a position to license it? Does it solve an existing problem or are you trying to create a market around something that people don’t necessarily need? Do you have a name investor on board? Is what you’re doing so new that it’ll stop everyone in their tracks?

Take off the rose-colored founder glasses you were wearing when you thunk up the idea and created your startup, and look at your business through the eyes of your customers, potential investors and the media. What about you will attract them? What will get their attention? What problem are you solving, what makes you so special?

Now is not the time to be lofty or arrogant. Be realistic. That’s how you’ll be judged… realistically, by people who have no skin in your game other than what you can do for them right now.

If you identify striking comparisons to other existing businesses, take them on in a smart way, and defeat them. All’s fair in love and war… and business.

Read more: 5 Things Startups Think About Themselves That Are Wrong

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