Today at Anant, we’re focusing on strategy. There’s a wealth of information and thought provoking writing published on the internet, but there’s also a lot of junk. We’ve taken the time to comb through some of the fluff, and get to articles that will help you think about how to improve your business in some way today.
Bold, visionary leaders who have the confidence to take their companies in exciting new directions are widely admired—and confidence is a key part of strategy and leadership. But confidence can balloon into overconfidence, which seems to come naturally to many successful entrepreneurs and senior managers who see themselves as action-oriented problem solvers.
My company, BrandYourself.com, built a product that helps people improve their own search results. While we’ve always strongly believed in the importance of our product – my co-founder Pete couldn’t get an internship in college because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer in Google – we also understood that we don’t have the same natural viral stickiness as a game like Draw Something or a social network like Instagram (I’ve always (half) joked to investors that we’re more TurboTax than we are Facebook).
So when we launched our product in mid-March, we were only expecting a moderategrowth rate. I would have been happy with 100K users by the end of 2012. To our surprise, we surpassed 100K users in less than 3 months after hitting a tipping point in the beginning of May.
On May 1st we announced a new feature: the ability to see which companies or employers are Googling you and finding your profile. We were hoping the announcement would generate some press and a few thousand new users. Instead, between May 1 and May 3, we had 180K new visits and signed up 60K new users at a 30% conversion rate.
3. Stop Claiming You’re Profitable, by A Smart Bear
The first and biggest error is thinking you can ignore your own salary. Sure your time is worth $1000/hr, but no you do not have to cover that to be dubbed “profitable.” But you do need at least a ramen-profitable definition of valuing your time. If your business makes $3000/mo after direct expenses, but isn’t paying you, and you still have a full-time day job to keep up with the mortgage on your under-water house, then you’re not profitable.
Why not? Because the business cannot sustain even one person to run itself, which means that $3000 is not “extra money which can be plowed back into the business or distributed for an awesome vacation.” It’s just made-up leftovers because you’re not acknowledge the actual costs of a startup, which include time and you having to work a second job.
About three years ago, I read the excellent book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. At that time, I made a list of the top 5-10 people in my life that I was to and had similar goals with. I sent out emails to them every once a month with what I was working on.
Eventually, I fell off from this habit. Not sure why – I’d had gotten good advice, stayed in touch with people I like, and it was a positive experience. I started re-thinking building my counsel a little over a year ago.
And eventually, the idea hits me. I need multiple, relevant counsels.
Why I need multiple counsels:
*Gives me people to figure out who to contact when I need to improve
*Gives me the list of people to update with new insights that are relevant to them
*If I had just one counsel, it’d be overwhelming to update them on everything – multiple counsels means I can reach out to people on topics they’re interested in, but not bother them on topics they’re not interested in.