From 2001 to 2007, I worked as a message architect and storytelling consultant. This was my brainchild and labor of love. I worked with big brands on high-stakes innovation initiatives. A few years in, the business was growing.
When I added my wife to the company as a business partner, I envisioned we’d become a dynamic duo — living together, working side by side, and traveling the world. One day, perhaps, it would evolve into a family business, with our future kids sharing in the legacy.
When the marriage broke up a couple years in, the business was caught in litigation for over three years. Sadly, I never put a formal business partnership agreement in place; I had given my ex-wife a 49 percent stake on blind faith alone. It wasn’t in my naïve thinking to plan for such a rainy day or “what if” scenarios. By the end of the legal nightmare, I found myself divorced and the business insolvent. And with a $ 100,000 debt, I was on the brink of personal bankruptcy.
“Boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination” –Confucius
“The Chinese parenting approach is weakest when it comes to failure; it just doesn’t tolerate that possibility” –Amy Chua, author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”
Of all the entrepreneurs I met in Asia, James Khoo was the most uncertain – or maybe he was the only one willing to admit his fears. “In Malaysia, especially when you’re Chinese, failure is not an option,” he said flat-out. This may be one of the reasons Khoo struggled so much in the early stages of his company, secQ.me, an app that helps people send out alerts when they’re in danger.
Every day, hundreds of entrepreneurs launch crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo to raise money and awareness for their businesses. As CEO of Indiegogo, I have been in touch with potential entrepreneurs from all over the world with a wide variety of business ideas. Across this wide spectrum, I have realized that many entrepreneurs are misguided by the same myths, time and time again.
Here are the five most common myths about starting a business — and how we’ve seen them get blown out of the water at Indiegogo:
Myth #1: There’s a “right” time to start.
Question: I Run a Successful Storefront Boutique and Want to Offer an Option For Online Shopping. What Are Some Things That I Should Think About Before Doing So?
1. FOCUS ON “EASY WINS” FIRST
“Launch your online storefront with a limited selection of popular items that you can easily ship and manage (get a shopping cart solution with a simple inventory management). Get the basic online payment-delivery-return chain in order first, then expand the features and audience (U.S. vs. global) if you so see fit. Keep the painless shopping experience the main goal, at all times.”
– Juha Liikala | Co-Founder & Director of Marketing, WebVehicle Oy
Question: How Are You Using GOOGLE+ As An Entrepreneur? Give One Tip.
1. BUILD YOUR BRAND FOLLOWING
“Google+ is a very powerful platform when used correctly. My tip would be to share interesting content, especially images with your followers. Keep at it and people will start re-sharing your content which will build up your following naturally.”
– Ben Lang | Founder, EpicLaunch
If you own a company, you should learn everything you possibly can about the companies that you consider your competition. I’m always surprised when I talk to our competitors and they have no clue what we are up to (especially as we are such an open book at our company). There is no excuse for not monitoring your business competition, especially with all the tools available now on the Web.
Here are six things you should be doing to keep on top of what your competition is doing:
When I started my business with two other partners at age 24, I was a great consultant — but a mediocre business owner. Like many others who start their own businesses to do what they love, I was completely focused on executing the work, and I had a lot to learn about running the business itself.
Over the past few years, I’ve run into more than a few surprises while running the business with partners, and I’ve learned a number of lessons about what it takes to run a successful new business:
1. Cash flow is, and always will be, king. When you’re used to having your paycheck deposited directly into your bank account every two weeks, dealing with the cash flow of your own business can be a bit of a shock. If you work with clients, invoiceswill be paid late (it’s not a matter of if, but when), and even highly profitable businesses can become strapped for cash at times—especially early on. Every entrepreneur should have a personal emergency fund in place in order to keep a cool head before business cash reserves build up.