Entrepreneurial Vision

Every Entrepreneuer Lives off Their Vision

Archive for the category “Personal Vision”

Urgency to Innovate

Innovators are needed more than ever. Businesses that don’t innovate will perish. It’s already happened so many times; company xyz find a successful equilibrium until start-up 123 creates a better, faster, and cheaper offering. Company xyz is then caught red handed with nothing to counter the agile start-up 123 and begins to lose market share. When xyz loses market share the budget gets cut which affects R&D who is now under extreme pressure to create a miracle product with just a fraction of the resources it needs. Unfortunately for xyz the need urgency to innovate and the ability to innovate are inversely related.  Company xyz is now in real trouble.

 Those that do invest in innovation are rewarded handsomely. Think about the most innovative companies: Apple, Google, Honda, Procter & Gamble, Amazon, Nike, Target, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Tesla, Virgin, etc. Every year they spend millions on different types of innovation and receive a generous return through incredibly loyal customers.

 Innovation is what creates new customers and keeps the old ones. The market is so crowded that it is now a requirement to standout because your competitors are doing all they can to overshadow you. If you’re not making something that’s better, faster, or cheaper there is someone else who is. Think of your modern businesses as a shark: Sharks must constantly swim to survive. They can never stop moving or they will quickly run out of oxygen and die. In the same way businesses must always keep moving forward or die.

Innovation is also needed at a personal level. No matter what industry or type of business you’re in if you are seen as an innovator you become invaluable. People pay a premium for innovative products and in the same way companies pay a premium for innovative people. We are now part of a global economy and I can almost guarantee that someone in India can do your job for a fraction of what you’re currently being paid. The one thing that can be outspurced is the capacity to innovate. Innovate peoples’ jobs don’t get out sourced because they’re the only one who can think like they do. 

What Flavor is Your Passion?

There is nothing more energizing than a good brainstorm. The thought of creating new ideas and planning them out is just absolutely invigorating. The topic doesn’t even matter, we can brainstorm about fish, paper, canyons, or the stock market. My girlfriend says I have so many ideas that she can’t even begin to keep up with me. There is something so promising about an ideation session. It’s hard for me to believe that some people don’t like brainstorming. I don’t really care because I love it. My dream is to travel the world thinking of new ideas for businesses and other organizations. My creative talents and dreams inspire me to reach for that goal everyday. 

What makes you jump out of bed in the morning? Accounting? Horseback riding perhaps? Passions coupled with goals are a powerful force. Think of it like a recipe: passion+goals=happy vocation. This combination is a common trend among happy business owners. I imagine you would like to be a happy business owner one day as well. Start finding your passion and promise yourself that you will live out that passion. No more excuses.

5 Free Ways to Get Noticed

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Andrew Sieg successfully standing out.

Your mother probably told you that you are unique. Unfortunately when customers have an ocean of suppliers to choose from they’ll think otherwise. It’s more important than ever for you stand out from the competition. Use these five innovative tactics to draw attention to your brand.

1. Provide value before your customer buys anything or even asks. When the competition is clamoring for the markets’ money you’ll be making their lives better without charging a dime. Find out what what pains your prospect has and do a little research on how it might be solved. Put the solutions up on your website. If you have a subscriber list you can send it out as a newsletter. The most impressive option though is to put it in a report form like an eBook. The solution is probably on the internet somewhere, just do a little digging to find it.

2. Think outside the box. In college there was this internship I really wanted at a marketing firm. I sent in my polished resume and waited with anticipation. After a week I heard nothing. In response I found a cheap shoe and mailed it in a box to their main office. When they received the package there was a note that read, “Now that I’ve got my foot in the door can I get an interview?” They contacted me the next day. It never hurts to be bold. Especially when you have nothing to lose. 

3. Stay positive. We live in a world of negative news. With all the sickness, war, and poverty in the media, a little bit of optimism will go a long way. Express you your positive attitude proactively. Update you twitter about some exciting news or complement someone. When interacting with others be more accepting of their ideas. Encourage them by saying “How can we do that?” rather than “That won’t work.”

4. Hold true to your values. People who live their core values regardless of what other think get respect. There is something very authentic about someone who lives consistently with their beliefs. Even when someone doesn’t agree with you they will see you are true to yourself and others. People will find you to be stable which is rare in today’s dynamic world.

5. Ask open ended questions and probe. The best salesmen do this without thinking about it. Open ended questions create an opportunity for developing last relationships. You have given the other person permission to open up to you. Probing after an open ended question let’s you find out deeper needs and desire than most people see. You might ask “what is working well at your company?” After their answer follow with “why do you think that is?” Then you might email them an article relating to the conversation afterwords.

These are just a few ways to stand out from the crowd. What ideas do you have? Be sure to share this with friends.

Turn Any Obstacle Into an Opportunity

It looks like Callie and I may not be taking a trip to the Florida Keys due to a lack of income. This was something we have both been excited about for a long time. There is no question we are disappointed. I have a couple options here. First, I could complain that I can’t get what I want and curse God for my wretched existence or I can simply do something about it. Good thing I’m always full of ideas.

I am currently looking at closer alternatives for adventure. There is a beautiful park in Kentucky called Red River Gorge and its world famous for its hiking trails and rock climbing. Here would be an excellent opportunity to better my camping skills. With all the money we save we could also afford to splurge on food (hobo dinners are my favorite).

What if we’re still looking for that beach scene? After just a bit of research I came across Myrtle Beach State Park. This beauty lets you sleep on a mile of undeveloped beach for about $20 dollars a night. From the pictures on the site, it looks far away enough to enjoy costal nature but close enough for a night on the town. This alternative is great!

For a relaxing getaway there is a quaint place in central Indiana known as Brown County. This is Indiana’s best kept secret as it is lined with boutique shops, but at the same time adjacent to Indiana’s largest state park. If we wanted to get some adrenaline going, Brown County has the 3rd best mountain bike trails in the nation. When I browsed the website they had many itineraries for all different kinds of people. This place has the best of everything.

            There is an important lesson to be learned here. The happiest of people turn obstacles into opportunities. Also, most of these people happen to be very wealthy. When it feels like you’ve hit a road block stop and think for a moment. What poor assumptions have you made? What other actions can give you reasonable results? What are you actually trying to do? For me I thought for us to have an adventure we have to go to some exotic land. That assumption is wrong. There is a world of opportunity in my back yard! These other destinations offer 90% of the same things as the Florida Keys but at a fraction of the cost. In the end all we are really trying to do is have a good time together.

            A true entrepreneur lives in the “obstacles to opportunity” mindset. They know adversity is not a matter of if but when. This mind set gives them an advantage in the market place because they prepared themselves mentally so they can react quicker. Take these three steps to give yourself the “obstacles to opportunity” mindset.

  1. Know adversity is coming and accept it.
  2. Have a plan b and plan c based off the questions above.
  3. Invest your resources so they can be reallocated to other plans if needed. In other words don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

            What obstacles have you turned into opportunities? Be sure to follow my blog via email. When I’m done with my eBook I’ll send you a free copy if you sign up in the next 6 days. Be sure to share this with your friends.

My new ebook

Yesterday I started writing my first ebook. The topic will be a how-to guide for first time entrepreneurs who want to start a business they can enjoy. What my book will include that most don’t are are the steps it takes to build an entrepreneurial mindset. Too many people try to start a business but quickly give up after their first rejection. If a business owner sets realistic goals, makes small wins, and is held accountable they will see starting a business from a new light.

The material will be inspired by real entrepreneurs, investors, and other industry leaders. As an entrepreneur myself I have gone though the best books and pulled out only what works. My hope is that people who have a hobby or a talent will be able to do something they actually enjoy, even if it is only part time.

Sections that will be included so far are: goal setting, sales, marketing, business plan writing, innovation techniques, product development, and finances. I will be using methods from my book to promote this book to confirm its effectiveness. With that being said whoever comes across this blog and follows me via email for the next week will get a FREE COPY before it is officially released.

I am excited to be doing this and in the mean time if you have any entrepreneurial related questions just ask me. If I don’t know the answer I’ll find it.

Best Regards,

Andrew Sieg

Planning to Travel the World Part 2

“You want us to do what?!” said Callie. “Let’s travel the world. I’d like to start with Thailand” Andrew cautiously replied. Callie just gazed at Andrew with a look of disbelief. In hopes of getting a positive reaction from Callie, Andrew pulled up pictures of Thailand’s beaches and jungles on his laptop. “See how beautiful this is? It’s so cheap to stay in Thailand. I found a place in Phuket right on the beach.” said Andrew with a bit more confidence. “Andrew, Thailand has to be dangerous” Callie said. Andrew immediately interjected “Actually Thailand is one of the more popular travel destinations. It’s quite safe from what I’ve seen. We could go snorkeling, sit on the beach, and explore with kayaks. Doesn’t that sound fun?” Callie thought for a moment before giving her reply, “you like doing those things and I like doing them sometimes but there are other things I’d like to do.” “Like what?” Andrew quickly asked? “Oh I don’t know” said Callie. At that point Andrew had hit a brick wall. He had wanted to travel all his life. Now that he found the love of his life he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. It seemed like nothing he said would convince his girlfriend to live a life of adventure. All he could do was suggest where they should go eat for dinner. 

The next day while working a shift as a resident assistant at his university, Andrew began to really complain. “Why can’t we go where I want? There is nothing wrong with us going to Thailand. Doesn’t she know how bad I want to travel? What is wrong with me getting out of here for a while?” Then Andrew noticed a pattern in his thinking. Almost everything was me and I. Even when he used we, it still came from a selfish place. That moment he knew what was wrong. Later that day Callie came to visit Andrew while he was working. “How is work?”  Asked Callie. “it’s fine I suppose. Say Callie let me ask you a question. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you want to go?” Callie excitedly replied, “I’ve always wanted to go to Italy.” By now Andrew had a huge smile on his face. “Let’s go then” said Andrew. “Really?” Callie replied in disbelief. “For sure. We’ll find places to go, things to do, and we can stay as long as you like.” Callie became almost flattered that Andrew would consider her destination without question. For the rest of the day the couple looked up Italian destinations, restaurants, hotels, and everything else that allowed them to set a goal. Andrew learned two very important lessons that day. First, put your partner before yourself. Second, it’s not where you go but who you go with that matters.

Sell Now and Plan Later

There are different schools of thought on when a new company should sell their first product. One group seems to think a product should be well designed and operates with minimal bugs. The second philosophy is to build a bare-bones product and let the market tell you what to make of it. My stance is usually with the latter group. So many would be entrepreneurs get so tied up in making the perfect business plan or product they end up with planning paralysis. The former group does have some ground to stand on though. If the products still has so many kinks that only the experts of your product can give feedback, it probably needs more work before introducing it. The solution to this is to create a prototype of your product that communicates the value to the main user.

I am mentoring a class of entrepreneurship students at the University of Louisville and they have created a concept for a device to save energy, but at the same time it uses energy in innovative ways. I am interested in how they will pitch their product to investors, as it requires hardware and an application. One solution (there are many) is to create screenshots of the application that are nonfunctional but still delivers the message of the benefits the user will get. Hopefully they will spend more time getting real feedback from potential customers and less time on the details. 

I have currently developed a product of my own. The aesthetic design of it is very important but my goal is to have a only a functional prototype finished in less than a week. I’ll spend the time I could be developing my product and more time getting input from people who will actually be in my target market. The way I keep myself in check is by following the 80/20 rule. This rule in short, states that 20% of my efforts give me 80% of my results. If I question my current activity I’ll stop and think if the outcome will deliver 80% of my goal. 

Flex Your Vision Muscles

 What have you done today to make your vision a reality? If you said nothing then one of two things are happening. The first possibility is that you do not have a vision. The second is you have not shared your vision in a way that other people believe it.

If you don’t have a vision, ask yourself why that is. Where will you be in five years? Ten? How can your compass point you in the right direction if you do not know where you are going? Let’s start with a simple excersize. Where will you be in an hour? How are you going to get there? What will it be like when you get there? Imagine the sensation of arriving to your location. It does not matter where it is. Is it cold? Imagine any smells that will be there. Don’t quit thinking about it until you have convinced yourself you have experience the sensation of your vision.

Your vision is now a reality in your paradigm. It is your destiny to be at that location and experience the sensation you had just as you imagined them. Now that you know what the end location will be like you have an idea of what need to be done to get there. What is the last step you will take before you arrive there? Imagine that just as you imagined you final destination. Then imagine the step before that and the step before. Keep creating your vision all the way to the point that you are now in your present state. You have now connected your future reality to your current reality.

You have deemed yourself the master of your own destiny. Now all you have to do is take action on the reality you have dreamed up for yourself. You know what is going to happen, just follow that plan. Will you be going to the gym? Having dinner with your family? Practice this daily. Make to envision and create your future. If you do not do this on a regular basis then you will become a product of the other forces around you. Don’t neglect your gift of free will. The ability to be self-aware and to make true what we think is what separates us from the animals. Now what was that vision? When you created it did it feel in sync with your internal compass? Do you think it contributed to fulfilling your purpose and mission in life? If not then you are wasting your time. You are putting off what you are really meant to do. Take your thought now to recreate this one hour vision until it feels congruent with your compass. For instance, perhaps you thought about play a game of basketball but your mission in life is to help the underprivileged. Combine these two create a third alternative. When you play basketball make sure they outcasts or athletic players are not the last ones picked. Do you what you love and combine it with what is important. This will take a good deal of creativity but the dividends are well worth the investment.

Hope for a Better Future

Hope for a Better Future

By: Andrew Sieg

            Chances are you already possess the most important ingredient of a person who is on their way to success. You have vision. A better future is in your reach and you know it. The feeling may not be there but that doesn’t matter. Deep down in your heart of hearts there is an absolute confidence in yourself that you can take yourself to exactly where you want to be. If you disagree, then the current paradigm you have is not congruent with your mission in life. Think about the direction your internal compass is taking you. Does it feel like the direction you should be headed? If not then you need think about your purpose in life. What gives you meaning? If nothing comes to mind then refrain the question like this; what makes you mad? My personal example is the anger I feel when perfectly capable people think they are unable to achieve certain goals they would like to accomplish. I think everyone on average has at least 60% more potential than they think themselves capable. In fact that is why I wrote this. I don’t know much about writing but I feel like when I type on this page I am traveling congruently with my internal compass. You also need to find purpose that not only you have passion for but you can also act on. What can you do that would make a difference if you took action right now? I personally consider myself a creator over an executor. I have ideas that add value and I map out how this idea will come to life and inspire other people to act on these ideas. This is no excuse however, to wait for someone else to take action on your behalf. The bottom line is if people don’t do things then they won’t get done. People will be more inspired to follow your vision if they see the results you have already. Speaking of vision, where are you going to ultimately be? How detailed can you see the future you have created for yourself? And just as importantly what are the steps you will take to get there? An excellent way to start creating vision for yourself is to think about a vacation you really want to go on. My vacation is a trip to the Caribbean. Imagine every detail that makes this vacation enjoyable. The clear blue water dancing under a sunny afternoon crashing on your ankles. The rum drinks the local bartender makes you that have a true tropical flavor. Sailing on an open ocean that screams freedom and adventure while the wind wisps through your hair. These are the thoughts that compel me to pursue my life’s mission because this is where I will end up. Your actual mission consequences might be different for you. Perhaps you look forward to the day no child will go to bed hungry. What you choose doesn’t really matter. What is important is that you have articulated a vision that compels you to take action that provides you with a better future. When this vision is articulated then it is time to take action. The first step is universal; write your goal on paper. This will give your thought a sense of tangibility and will be especially helpful if you know where you want to be but don’t know how you want to get there.

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