If I Had to Start Over (Part 3): How to Shortcut Success

Tom Gaddis, here. Do you want to figure out if your business idea is actually worth your time and energy? How can you get your idea off the ground and gain traction as soon as possible?

It has nothing to do with “overnight success” (which is a lie), but you can implement strategies TODAY to make your progress faster than ever.

I’m going to share how you can use a secret weapon to shortcut your business’s success so you can start generating cash flow.

I’ve been talking about one of the questions new entrepreneurs ask me all the time: What would I do differently if I had to start all over again building my business from scratch? Today, I’ll lay out some specific strategies I’ve used to grow my businesses and that you can use to get traction and head in the direction you want to go.

We’ve talked about necessary mindshifts and just getting started.

Whether you’ve got an online business, or you’re a freelancer, or you’ve got a service business, how can you shortcut your success?

There’s no one miracle action to take—starting a business is a relentless process of pushing a giant flywheel. So how can there be a shortcut to success? Is this a contradiction? Can we turn the flywheel faster?

By the way, if you want to hear this in podcast form, simply follow this link.

Why Validation is Crucial for New Entrepreneurs

For a long time, I missed the fact that validating my idea is key to getting a business off the ground. You need to see how the market resonates with your ideas.

When you don’t know how the market will react, you want to be able to adjust quickly and make new plans when you need to move forward. Never let failure go to your head

When you’re starting a business, your secret weapon is agility.

In the military, they call this shifting fire and failing fast. With the mission in mind, if something isn’t working, they want to know when to adjust aim and make new plans quickly.

In order to gain traction on your ideas, you need to fire bullets into the market as quickly as possible. If that doesn’t work, adjust. But if it does work, you can start firing cannonballs.

The only way to tell if the market thinks your idea is good or not is if it actually gives you money. So, how do you test your idea to see how the market resonates?

For more ideas on generating cash flow, check out my FREE guide!

The 4-Step Plan For Validating Your Ideas

By validating an idea, I mean you want to go ahead and put your services and products out there so you can see what people will actually give you money for. Then, you can build on that and invest more in the successful ideas.

When I did this, it saved me time and frustration of working really hard on an idea only to put it out there… and discover that nobody wanted to buy it.

A bullet is a small thing: you can adjust your aim and get more precise. When you’ve got your target, you can start launching cannonballs.

If you want to apply this, here are some ways you can validate your ideas.

  1. Get People to Give You Money for Your Ideas

Some new business owners go around and ask their friends and family if they think an idea is good, but you won’t really know if your idea is good unless someone is actually willing to pay for it. If your friends and family say it’s good, ask them if they want to be your first customer. See if they would actually give up their money for your service or product.

  1. Offer Live Training

One of the first things I did in my online business was to teach people how to build a freelance business or agency. I created a Facebook group and advertised it through my personal feed and other forums. 

Once I had about 50 interested people in the group, I offered a live training on a specific day to show how I got my first sixteen clients in seven days. As enticement, I also told the group I would give them templates and tools that I used to get my business off the ground. I offered the class for $150, and four people signed up. 

That was my first online product—it validated my idea. If four people spent $150, I knew the information must be valuable. Perhaps if I improved the idea, or grew my audience, I could turn that first $600 into $6,000, and so on.

You can validate your idea by making it live. Online teaching sites, like Udemy, provide another way to see if the market has interest. If it fails, you can shift. 

  1. Get Your Feet in the Doors

In the beginning of my business, I put out a number of foot-in-the-door offers with potential clients. These offers ranged from $500 or less, and they proposed a fix to a problem I could identify. For instance, I reached out to businesses whose websites were unsecured, gave them information about the benefits of securing it, and offered to come in and secure it for them.

You need to reach out to as many businesses as possible to get an idea of how your product or service resonates. Ten businesses is not enough. Test multiple offers from different angles. Test constantly. Run with the ideas that resonate with the market most.

By doing this, I’ve doubled my revenue every year because I know the ideas I run with have the best chance of success.

  1. List 3-to-5 Ways to Validate Your Idea, and Actually Do Them

Sit down with a piece of paper and think about your idea. List several ways you can validate that idea tomorrow.

Remember, the faster you can get that cash flow coming in, the faster you can solve other issues that come with growing a new business.

Internalize the idea of bullets, then cannonballs. Put multiple kinds of offers out there. Test the market. Get your foot in a bunch of different doors.

The key is to fail fast, and then shift your fire.

This might be a slow process at the beginning. In my experience, the more offers you put out there, the better your chances of success. That’s the shortcut.

When you validate your ideas, you start to see what works, and you get experience. Pretty soon, you hit on one thing you might not have even expected to resonate. If you roll with what the market loves, you have a success on your hands.

For more secrets the so-called “gurus” won’t tell you about making money online, check out my podcast:

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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