We’re already a few days into the New Year and many of us are doing our best to succeed in our fresh 2017 resolutions. Having a long list of things we’d like to achieve by December 31st can get a little overwhelming, especially if we’re not so sure on how to make them happen. For someone interested in becoming a 10% entrepreneur, the task may sound attractive but daunting.
Fear not. I’m not going to add a long list of shoulds to your already long list of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, today I want to talk about two key elements you must put into practice to ensure a successful 10% in 2017.
Follow the José Rule and Find an Ally
In one of my Facebook live videos, I spoke about José. He’s an Argentinian businessman who’s starting his first 10% project. While he explained to me all about his venture, one thing he commented caught my attention: regardless of what happened in the future, José’s 10% had one faithful customer who needed the product and would use it. This person had been struggling for years trying to find a solution to their problem, and when they found out about José’s venture, it was almost godsend.
It made such an impact on me that I decided to name it The José Rule.
Even if your venture doesn’t become the next Über, having a regular customer or ally who benefits from what you do adds plenty of value and, may I add, personal satisfaction. Also, in time, they could become an advocate for your brand.
Find someone who can really benefit from your idea, and bring them on board to help you fine tune it, in order to reach the best solution for its conundrum. It can’t be friends or family: you’ll have to reach out to others, and in the next point, I’ll tell you how to do it.
Seek Opportunities… and do it well prepared
If you’re starting your first 10%, you may be concerned about how to find angels or other like-minded entrepreneurs who could help you. There are plenty of resources on and offline to meet people in the same path as you, but before handing out the first business card, you must prepare yourself.
In chapter 6 of The 10% Entrepreneur, I talked about making your biography as a key resource to outline what you can bring to the table as a 10%er. You have a lot to offer and seeing it in writing will help you explain it in a better way to investors and colleagues. Make yourself a half-page or one-page biography about your background, your idea, and what you bring to it personally and professionally. I promise you you’ll refer to that document over and over as you prepare marketing materials, pitch decks, and more.
Meanwhile, where are all these wonderful people? They are in many places, sometimes hidden in plain sight. Some of the places where you can find them are:
- Universities: especially in business or science schools.
- Angel investment groups. There are more than 300 angel groups in the US and hundreds more worldwide. A while ago, I put together a list of resources here.
- Meetups: Check out sites like Meetup or local entrepreneurship hubs in your city. They can help you find people in interest groups related to your 10%. Going to events prepared by these organizations are also a great option. If there’s a conference coming up, look up the main speakers and be prepared to approach them after their talks. Or, get into stalker mode, and see who else will be attending the event.
- Online resources: The main advantage of sites like Linkedin or your university’s alumni chapter is that it allows you to connect to people who could be far away from you but that perfectly fit for your 10%. Distance is no longer an impediment to business.
Take advantage of the big motivational push we all get at the start of a new year to get your first 10% going. When going out and finding that customer who can benefit from your idea, or that angel that can make it a reality, remember to take small steps. Eventually, and maybe even before you notice, you’ll be halfway through your goal!