The funny thing about common sense is it’s the least common thing out there. That is until someone shares a little bit of common sense wisdom and then you get that flash of recognition, “But of course! I knew that. It just makes sense.” (Followed by a forehead smack and a sheepish grin).
That’s why we pulled together a list of 25 Just Plain Good Ideas – a comprehensive list of common sense tips for smart start-ups (and probably everyone else too) that just aren’t all that common (but definitely should be). We called the list 25 Just Plain Good Ideas for short.
25 Just Plain Good Ideas – Common Sense Tips that Aren’t So Common, But Should Be
#1: Start simple – New business, new product or new idea – it’s better to start simple and add complication than get stalled trying to sort out an overly complicated plan.
#2: Register it – Grab the social name – on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channel or the current trending social platform.
#3: Check it before you name it – Before investing in registering and buying a domain for a new business or product name, check for trademarks, review the name history and if you are targeting a global market, find out if the name has any undesirable meanings in target countries.
#4: A penny saved is a penny earned – Budget, budget, budget (even when you don’t have to because too much money makes for stupid entrepreneurs). Get creative in finding frugal solutions.
#5: Test and measure – Don’t be afraid to try new ideas or approaches – just start by testing it first and build in a mechanism to track and measure your results.
#6: Build a list – First and foremost: build your subscriber database and use your newsletter to extend the conversation and build the relationship.
#7: Always have a plan B – Kids get sick, trade show displays go missing enroute, suppliers go out of business – in short, shit happens. Protect your business by always having a plan B (just in case).
#8: Pre-sell – Whenever possible, eliminate the risk by pre-selling before you launch. Not only does it give you an opportunity to reward the early adopters (with a discount or special bonus), but it guarantees you sales and lets you test the waters.
#9: Delegate – The ORG chart of one isn’t going to get you very far with any sort of speed or efficiency. Outsource to experts who can handle the tasks with greater speed and efficiency.
#10: Starting and finishing saves time – As compared to starting, putting down, forgetting important details, restarting and getting back up to speed…you get the picture. Start and finish one task at a time.
#11: Connect with a community – Surround yourself with people who get you and understand your industry. Peer communities offer support, insight and valuable wisdom from the trenches.
#12: Get expert advice – Seek niche experts to fill in the knowledge gaps.
#13: Begin as you intend to continue – If the purpose of starting your business is to spend more quality time with your family, build that into the planning and begin as you intend to continue.
#14: Partner with your competitors – It probably seems counter-intuitive, but chances are, you and your competition have more to gain by the synergy than to lose by partnering. For example, refer the customers you can’t accommodate to your competitor and vice versa.
#15: Thank You – Don’t underestimate the power of a simple Thank You. Say it often, send cards, live and work in gratitude.
#16: Ask for help – The first step to receiving is asking. Ask for help.
#17: Anticipate the best, but plan for the worst – Plan for double the timelines, anticipate additional costs, cut your forecasts in half.
#18: Marketing is job #1 – Without sales, your business is sunk. Invest in marketing your business.
#19: Build your referral network – Connect with people who have access to your target audience (gatekeepers) and build a strategic alliance to share referrals.
#20: Choose the right marketing channel – Just because social media is the latest and greatest trend, it’s not the right tool for you if your target audience isn’t actively using social media. Use the marketing channels that reach your target audience.
#21: Negotiate – Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. If you don’t get, chances are you’ll get a lot closer to it by asking.
#22: Know the WIIFM – For your potential customers, joint venture partners, even your employees, know “What’s In It For Me”. If you understand what motivates people, you can build a win-win relationship.
#23: Everything is marketing – Every element of your business – from your outdated web site to your messy front reception guarded by a snarky receptionist – is your marketing.
#24: Ask questions – LOTS of questions.
#25: If it’s not fun, it’s probably the wrong business for you!