The 2 Step Startup

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Let’s face it. Startups are hard.

From big things like naming your business and crafting a brand to more mundane tasks like figuring out taxes or how to market through email newsletters, there’s always more to do. It’s very easy to lose sight of the straightforward goal that you started with: starting a business.

After years of striving to help entrepreneurs succeed, I’ve developed a simple formula that gets straight to the point. It’s called the “2 Step Startup Formula”. If you can stay focused and boil your core process down to this, you’ll be on track to succeed in the startup arena. The formula is as follows:

1. Get one person to give you money for something.

2. Repeat.

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was simple. Believe it or not, it has taken years of trial and error for me to figure this out.

To say that it’s simple isn’t strictly true. It is a highly distilled piece of advice that addresses the number one issue entrepreneurs must face–faulty focus.

Startups can be very messy places. It can be all too easy for an entrepreneur to focus on the wrong things at the wrong time, or not focus at all. They lose track of what it really means to build a business.

I have seen otherwise intelligent people spend weeks trying to figure out the name of their new company without any idea of how they can get funded, where they might get the money from. But if you haven’t managed to execute the two steps above, it doesn’t matter what you name your company. Give yourself a 10-minute brainstorm session to come up with a name (there’s always the classic “Your Name and Associates”) and move on.

It’s not just a matter of wasting your time. It’s the trap of an indecisive mindset that will swallow both time and money that you could be using much more efficiently on getting your company off the ground. I have watched people spend tens of thousands of dollars on patents before even reaching step 1. I have personally spent days debating the difference between “C” corporations and “LLC”s. Entrepreneurs get stuck on time sinks like purchasing insurance, analyzing the competition, writing business plans or market analysis, drafting up customer surveys, and crafting exit strategies.

These steps are important. But until you have the funding to actually put your ideas into practice, none of these things deserve any focus.

The 2 step plan is distilled because it has to be. Without that highly refined sense of focus, all the minutia can and will swallow you up. You’re an entrepreneur because you have a big vision. Keep your eyes on it, and don’t sweat the details until you have to.

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