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The hard thing isn't setting big hairy audacious goals

What To Do About The Struggle [a letter to entrepreneurs]

The hard thing isn't dreaming big...

The hard thing isn’t usually what you think it is. In the entrepreneurial journey there are a lot of emotions, life gets down right shitty some days. There is hope though. You’re on a journey only the greatest minds of our world start out on. A journey that most won’t try make. The journey of a true entrepreneur is plagued with disappointment, triumph, and even more let down. As long as you stay a little more positive than those negative thoughts you’re going to come out the other side a winner.

When you’re in it, it sucks. There’s no way to describe it. It’s a necessary evil, without the years of failure there is no learning, and no learning means no company.

The struggle is when food loses its taste

What is the struggle?

Something every entrepreneur human being goes through. The longer you can last, the further you will go. A lot of people don’t last. The Struggle eats them up, destroys their soul, and all they’re left with is a scared, hurtful attitude towards anything outside of what is expected. Protectionism sets in the status quo is the only way of doing things.

Why do we have to struggle?

Simple, the universe doesn’t give you anything for free. Nothing in life is easy. The more you struggle, the better the reward.

There’s a famous quote from Bill Gates “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”. You have to struggle, there’s no easy way about it. You have to go through the bad to appreciate the good.

How long has the struggle been around? 

The struggle has been around since the dawn of civilization. Our ancestors went through it. Anyone who has done anything worth talking about has been through it.  Anyone who has that crease near the corner of the eye, you know the one, the one that lets you know they’ve been through a lot.

Don't take it personally

When we’re in the struggle our minds are our greatest enemy. We tell ourselves lies, we’re delusional, we create a reality in our heads that’s just not true. Humans are amazing at finding every possible way a plan can fail. We find every loophole that might come back to bite us in the ass. In this horrible state of mind we never look for the positive horizon with the attitude of it gets better. No instead we try to warn our subconscious with these thoughts, it’s a defence mechanism sounding the alarm bells. Read more

Bad online reviews

How To Combat Bad Online Reviews

On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.

So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?

kill em with kindness

1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.

Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone. “But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”. If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.” -David Kelly, IDEO.

2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.

If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.

Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!? Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…

3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.

If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.

*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success.