There are two entrepreneurial entries I really liked from GigaOm that I accessed from the NY Times. The first is Paul Polak: 15 Rules for Business Success in Any Market by Carleen Hawn and the second is UGC + Golf Tips = MyTourSwing.com by Chris Albrecht.
Paul Polak is a serial entrepreneur. He’s succeeded and he’s failed. He has enough experience to create some fairly simplisitic rules for starting a business. Here they are (pulled from GigaOm):
The 12 Steps to Practical Problem Solving:
1. Go where the action is.
“Spend significant time with your customers. This is how you learn what
they need,” he says. Not hours, days. Polak lived with his farmers for
2. Interview at least 100 customers a year. You
do it. Not an employee. Listen to what they have to say. “Too many
entrepreneurs build the product they want to build — not the one that’s
3. Context matters. If your solution isn’t right for
the context, for example, if it costs too much for the customers you’re
trying to serve, you won’t succeed.
4. Think big. Act big.
5. Think like a child.
6. See and do the obvious. Others won’t, which is opportunity for you.
7. Leverage precedents. If somebody has already invented it, don’t do it again.
8. Scale. Your business must have potential to scale. Remember, your market must include at least 1 million customers.
9. Design to specific cost and price targets. Not the
other way around. (Celeste: it means — Do not price to your design,
design to the price you need to hit to make your product appropriate to
10. Follow practical three-year plans. Two years is too short. Ten is too long.
11. Visit your customers again. And again. “Any
successful business in this country is based on talking to your
customers all the time. A good CEO spends half his time ‘in the field.’”
12. Stay positive. Don’t be distracted by what other people think.
You can read more about these rules in Polak’s book, “Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail.”
Next is the MyTourSwing.com piece. I really like the innovated way to do golf lessons. Basically, you video yourself and post to a website. Others can comment on what you are doing wrong and you can pay to get professional teachers to send you direct criticisms and advice. Most of the time an entrepreneur doesn’t need to create something never offered before, all they have to do is offer something that could be possibly mundane a new way. The golfer community is always looking for easy ways to improve. Sometimes it is special brush tees. Sometimes it is alignment training aides. Sometimes it is a special golf balls. And sometimes it is a website. There are millions of golfers looking for a easy fix. Curiosity will get the ball rolling.