Issue: September/October 2010
Entrepreneur's Toolkit: Commandments for Success
Jim Cossler, Youngstown Business Incubator’s chief evangelist, offers these tenets for turning your idea into a winning corporation.
→ Thou shall test your idea. Nothing verifies an assumptive market like customer cash, Cossler says. Before you spend $250,000 on a market analysis firm or a year pushing your product, test your idea with complete strangers and see if they’d buy it.
→ Thou shall optimize your website. “Just putting up a website is pretty meaningless unless it’s been optimized for search engines,” Cossler says. Also, make your site “sticky,” or generate return visitors, by providing constant value and embracing social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
→ Thou shall check your egos at the door. “You need to be prepared to give up majority share,” Cossler says, to attract the best strategic partners to grow. “Would you rather have 10 percent of a $10 million company or 100 percent of a business plan?”
→ Thou shall not marry an idea. You can evangelize like Cossler. You can be passionate like FlashNotes’ Matousek and Petruziello. But you must learn to move on if all the signs indicate your idea will be the next Crystal Pepsi.
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