Build something that 100 people love (Earnspiration Report Issue 17)

100 customers quoteOnly a few start-up businesses go on to become billion-dollar household names – Google, Twitter, PayPal and LinkedIn all being high profile members of this elite club.

And the odds of success don’t really improve at the multi-million dollar end of the market either, with the ‘start-up school’ Y Combinator reporting that only just over 1 in 10 of the start-ups it chooses to work with actually end up becoming a successful investment.

This is a high-risk business, so how can founders improve their odds of survival?

The advice venture capitalist Paul Graham from Y Combinator gave to the AirBnb co-founder Brian Chesky was:

“Build something that 100 people love rather than 1 million people kind of like.”

The theory being that if you can build a product that a 100 people love and will pay to use, the viral growth will take care of itself.

Chesky and his co-founders took this advice to heart and spent weeks in New York working with some of their most enthusiastic customers to perfect AirBnB which was recently valued at $13 billion ahead of its initial floatation.

The same advice applies to lifestyle businesses.  In Issue 10 I wrote about playing the six figure income game; where I try and think about products or services that would only require a 100 or so people a month to pay for on a subscription basis, in order to generate a comfortable living.

This is very much the essence of the ‘incredible secret money machine’ where you create a venture that solves a very specific problem for a core audience.  Your customers benefit by getting the product they really want and you benefit, not just financially, but also from the satisfaction of using your energies to solve those problems.

British entrepreneurs who started with little or no funding

Just to prove you don’t need mega-bucks to get your business off the ground, here are 25 UK entrepreneurs who started their multi-million pound businesses with very little money; in industries as diverse as food, retail, video gaming, telecommunications, IT and travel.

This weekend, kill the inner ‘wantrepreneur’ and start your own million dollar business

Noah Kagan was employee number 30 at Facebook, employee number 4 at Mint and built 2 x multi-million dollar businesses by the age of 28. Both businesses were started on a shoestring budget over a weekend.

This blog post explains why you should stop talking about starting your own business and just get on and build it, along with four practical steps you can take to begin.

How to compete with Amazon

It may be the 800lb gorilla of retail, but that doesn’t make Amazon invincible to the competition. In fact one of the main strengths of Amazon is also one of its key weaknesses.

Yes it has everything for sale, but it can’t be good at everything; which means there are plenty of opportunities for smart retailers to focus in on a niche and exploit Amazon’s weaker offering. Neil Patel explains in this five step guide.

From artist back to artisan and the rise of the creative entrepreneur

Before we thought of artists as poverty-stricken, creative geniuses who would sooner starve than prostitute their creativity, we thought of artists as artisans – people who make, craft or fashion things into shape.

Artists served apprenticeships just like other craftsmen and the output of their works were traded in the same way that we would expect for those of a blacksmith or cabinet maker.

Then along came the era of Romanticism during the 18th and 19th centuries, where the artist moved to a higher, more noble plane and the image of the solitary genius emerged. No longer would they be expected to engage in the dirty world of enterprise.

But this all started to change again during the 1960s and more recently as the internet opened up marketing and distribution channels to individuals, artists are evolving into the role of creative entrepreneurs.

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