Throughout our Build-A-Business Competition our four mentors provided expert advice through a popular video series. Here's a bit about each mentor:
- Daymond John created FUBU, a fashion company with over $6 billion in sales. He's also a regular investor on ABC's Shark Tank.
- Tim Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek. He's also an active angel investor and an advisor to Shopify.
- Tina Roth Eisenberg is an internationally recognized designer. She created Swissmiss, Tattly, TeuxDeux, Creative Mornings and Studio Mates.
- Eric Ries wrote The Lean Startup and is an advisor for over 30 startups and small businesses.
We cherry picked some of their most useful tips and share them with you here. Also feel free to scroll to the bottom and watch the video.
1. Work Backwards From Your Goal
"Work backwards from a target monthly income goal, design your business to support that, then minimize the amount of moving pieces and automate it. All that can be done with a full-time job, and I discourage people from cutting all ties and losing full-time income to focus on a business. You don't have to make that leap. People tend to think it's employee or entrepreneur, but there's a boad spectrum and you can very slowly and mythodically move from one end to the other." (Tim Ferriss)
2. Start Local
"Always start with your local store and become a local hero. That's how you get attention, you start to get people who become your local cheerleaders. You don't want to scale too quickly, you don't want to take out a big loan until you start to sell, see what works, what doesn't work. And then when you have all the bugs out of the line, then you can go further and further." (Daymond John)
3. Be Consistent
"Make sure your brand is consistent throughout everything you touch. Not only your website, but if you ship something, make sure there's love in the packaging. Make sure they sense there's a human being behind it. Make sure that they feel like there's a human that has touhed the product and they wrapped it carefully." (Tina Roth Eisenberg)
4. Get Scientific
"Treat everything we do as entrepreneurs as a scientific experiement designed to help us figure out if we're actually on the path to a sustainable business." (Eric Ries)
5. Get to the Point
"When pitching it's very important to understand that what is important to you is not necessarily important to them." "Do not over sell. Take your time, hit the exact points you need. You should be able to summarize your company on the back of a business card." (Daymond John)
6. Learn to Communicate
"You need to be able to communicate effectively, the best entrepreneurs I have ever met are all good communicators." "Practice is the only way to get better." (Tim Ferriss)
7. Numbers Aren't Everything - Listen to Your Gut
"Numbers are important - I don't question that, but I do feel that we need to listen to our gut a little more. All of the really important decisions in my life have been gut decisions." (Tina Roth Eisenberg)
"The successful entrepreneurs did not have better ideas than the failed ones. The difference is the succesful entrepreneurs had the discipline necessary to pivot when it wasn't working - to change the strategy without abandoning the whole vision." (Eric Ries)
9. Make Strategic Partnerships
"When I created FUBU, we understood that we could make the best mens apparel, but we couldn't make ladies, we couldn't make bags or fragrance. We found professionals and companies that could make that - we would loan them the name and help them with the art and DNA of the brand. They would go sell it and give us 6%, 7%, 10% - and that's how the brand was able to grow from 20, 30, 50 million to $350 million. That's how you scale a brand." (Daymond John)
10. Use the 80/20 Rule
"20% of your actions, inputs, or products or services will create 80% of what you want - whatever you want that to be. So lets say you have 100 products that are creating 100 hours a week. Chances are if I did an analysis, 20% of those products are producing 90% of my profits - which means, hypothetically, I could cut out 80% of my products, make 90% of what I'm making now and work 20 hours a week instead of 100 hours a week." (Tim Ferriss)