Saturday, October 10, 2009

Slow Startups. What to do first.

The economy is rebuilding, but I don't know anyone who feels relaxed about their future economic security.

People want to put some stability and meaning back into their economic lives. There are certainly many paths to get there.

I've been writing about slow startups as a viable path for creating smart new enterprises that can make significant financial and cultural improvements in people's lives.

We've got slow food, and now slow money. Why not slow startups? Everyone wants viable new solutions and the emerging model is competence and sustainability, not speed.

Just as there is great honor in slow foods and what that idea brings to commerce, there is also great honor and long-term value in creating slow enterprise models.

We need to make entrepreneurship simpler and more accessible. We need to nurture entrepreneurship that builds and sustains our communities and our regions. We need to help people create and build their own enterprises in ways that fit into their lives appropriately.

Slow startups take into account whatever your personal and financial status is. This model allows you to build and test your own enterprise at your own pace, so that in the end you will have a service or a product that you're passionate about and a sustainable business model supporting it.

Slow startups certainly match up well with my own boomer demographic. I also think these kind of slow launches will fit in well with the wonderful artisinal young people doing so many cool things out there. And if you're in the middle, what's wrong with trying to create a long-term job for yourself by slowly starting your own business now?

So, here's my news: Most startups take far longer than the people think. This is especially true for small, self-funded startups. That's not a bad thing, it just is. What this should be saying to you is to start creating your own small business ASAP. It will take longer than you think to get underway. Start one while you have a day job. Start one in your spare time. I know, this is not easy, but the time is there. Find what time you can and put it to work.

By taking the process slowly, you will learn far more than by rushing through it. You will learn to enjoy the journey.

If you REALLY love this process after trying it out, you can circle back and do startups over and over - a perfectly viable and compelling career path in the 21st century.

In trying to help some new enterprises through our economic development office, I've been re-using the Micro-Enterprise courses I wrote and taught through the Small Business Center at WCTC in Waukesha. It's my slow startup manual.

Slow startups perfectly suit micro-enterprise and vice versa.

What do I really mean? I mean you can invest a few hundred dollars and a year or two of part time effort and come out the other end with a viable enterprise that's making money and building greater security and independence into your life. From there you can nurture and grow it in any direction you want.

If you have more time and money to invest, you can shorten your timeline to launch. This also makes it possible to make expensive mistakes. Careful.

So, start now. Start slow. Take some time to think about this and explore the possibilities. Here is my outline:

Slow startups. What to do first.

There are six fairly simple, but critically important steps to launching a slow startup. These make slow startups sustainable:

- Get a realistic understanding of what it takes to wake up an idea, as well as the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship and how to plan for both.

- Learn what information you'll need, how to find it, and how to use that information once you find it.

- Learn how become a professional at what you do, and where to turn for help.

- Create a management structure that builds your own confidence, deals with the details, and creates peace of mind for all involved.

- Learn how to market and sell in your niche.

- Learn to capture your data and turn it into commerce.

These six approaches to slow startups were the core of the six courses I wrote and taught through the Small Business Center.

They are my roadmap for creating slow startup enterprises. Each one of these topics unfolded into a 90+ minute discussion in my Micro-Enterprise courses when we dug into all the how-to stuff. There are multiple, discreet steps behind each of these major categories. I really loved sharing these ideas in depth.

I want you to know that it's not complicated. It just takes time. Take informed, measured steps. Develop mastery in small valuable steps. Make as many inexpensive mistakes as you can as quickly as you can. Execute. Innovate. Repeat.

It is not hard, but it does take time. Slow startups. Start one now and you'll thank yourself down the road.

As Tom Peters says, "Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark."

This is the Renaissance Age of entrepreneurship, and its just beginning.

Welcome friend. Now get going.

Tom Peters site

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