Janine Marin - communications expert

Entrepreneurs: Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Steps to Master the Art of the Start

“Many would-be entrepreneurs are obsessed with shipping something that’s perfect, and they take too long,” Guy Kawasaki at Wired for Wonder 2015, Sydney. 

Wise words from Guy Kawasaki – former chief evangelist for Apple in the 80’s and current evangelist for design company Canva. I was fortunate to watch him at the Wired for Wonder event this week and, boy, was he inspirational.

For current and will-be entrepreneurs, here are Guy’s 10 tips to master start-up success:

Ask simple questions: ‘therefore, what? Is there a better way? Great companies start with very simple questions. Apple didn’t start with a grand vision reflecting where it is today. Start asking simple questions.

  1. Make an MVVVP (minimum viable valuable validating product): to expand on the Minimum Viable Product concept, Guy urges you to also test your idea for value, i.e. does it solve a problem? With Viable, does it validate your vision?
  2. Get going: ship it early rather than late. “Do something cringeworthy” & “find commentary soul mates – find someone to make it and someone to sell it. Everything else is bullish*t”.  To help get you going, create a mantra; 2-3 words that roll off your tongue and keeps you focussed.
  3. Define a business model: Remember you have to make money, so be specific. Be so specific that you have the name or the title of the person who has your money in her pocket. Also keep it simple: you want a business model where it costs you $1 and you sell it for $10.
  4. Weave a MATT  (Milestones, Assumptions, Tests and Tasks ): Milestones (celebrate things you’ve done/finished/sold), Assumptions (test the assumptions of your business, e.g. a bottoms up analysis), Tests (ship your product and launch), Tasks (do things that constantly test assumptions).
  5. Tell your story: make it personal and ask yourself, is your competition saying the opposite of you? Also embrace the 10-20-30 rule for presentations: tell your story with 10 slides in 20 minutes using no font smaller than 30 points.
  6. Hire infected people: ignore irrelevancy, “If you find someone with perfect educational background and perfect work experience, but does not love the product, I would make the case that work experience and background are irrelevant.” Also hire better than yourself – ‘A’ players hire ‘A+’ players.
  7. Socialise: use social media to network and provide value – marketing is fast, free and ubiquitous for entrepreneurs. You must also perfect your personal brand online.
  8. Seed the clouds: think the impossible and test drive your product. Find your influencers and build relationships. “Throw stuff against the wall, see where it sticks, go up to the wall and paint the bullseye around it.”
  9. Don’t let clowns grind you down: Guy isn’t talking about trolls online or jealous people, he refers to those ‘clowns’ that are successful and give you bad advice. “Just because people are rich and famous, doesn’t mean their advice is right.”

    Guy’s new book The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything is available now.

What steps will you do in the next 30 days? 


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