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Starting: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Ok, so I don’t really want to call anyone ‘stupid’. I just want to reinforce that keeping things in your business simple is critical for success, especially in the early stages of a startup. What do I mean by simple? Apply ‘simplicity’ to any dimension within your business. If it’s too big in the early stages while you’re still ‘small’ and growing— you’re doomed to fail.

Let’s begin with your value proposition. Think about what it is that you’re offering your customers. Can you describe your product or service value proposition in an ‘elevator’ pitch? This translates to clearly, concisely and coherently describing your value in less than 30 seconds to someone who’s never heard of you. Think about what makes you unique and describe your secret sauce. Keep it simple! For example: In one of my previous businesses, NuKitchen, there were lots of words to describe our ‘value’- “online internet based pre-packaged healthy portioned controlled meals that were healthy, delicious, and ideal for diet, weight loss, managing chronic illnesses”- That was a mouthful and was just way too long, therefore, we settled on a variation of “NuKitchen- the gourmet diet delivery service serving healthy and fresh prepared meals”.

Next, look at your target customer. Identify what you think is the most profitable segment of your business. Many business owners, myself included, have made the mistake of casting too wide of a net and trying to reach out to everybody. Don’t dilute your message. Keep it simple and determine from the get go, who your target customer is. Think of the energy involved in finding and securing customers –you won’t overextend yourself if you identify exactly who you’re marketing to i.e., who would most likely use your product or service. Also, ask yourself: If you could have a thousand of a certain type of customer, who would that be? Don’t waste time, energy and money trying to secure anyone else.

By leveraging this strategy, you’ll be able to tell your story more easily to potential customers, partners, and investors. This will get them engaged faster and will deliver results. I like what Seth Godin has to say on the subject along with the wisdom found in “Laws of Simplicity” by John Maeda. That’s definitely a must-read to check out!

So remember, keep it simple.

Bryan JaneczkoFounder, Wicked Start
Bryan has successfully launched multiple startups. His latest venture, Wicked Start, provides tools to plan, fund, and launch a new business. Also author of WickedStart: Guide to Starting a New Venture with Passion and Purpose, Bryan is committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed. | Facebook | @WickedStart | LinkedIn | More from Bryan

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