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May 22

SharkTank Idea Problems

By ted sikkink | Podcast , Starting a business

Hey, this is Charles Kirkland. Welcome to episode number seven of Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur. You’re busy. We don’t have time for an intro. So, let’s go ahead and jump into the meat and potatoes of it.

Sharktank. I love the show. I think every entrepreneur needs to watch that show from start to beginning. It would be a huge education. But this is the problem we have. Quite often, we see that. It’s like, “Oh my gosh I’ve got an idea and it’s going to be worth millions.” Recently I had a friend come to me and he goes, “Hey Charles, I’ve got an idea and it’s going to just, you know, nobody else has thought of it. It’s going to be great. I just need you to sign this NDA before I talk to you.”

And I was like, “You want me to sign a non-disclosure agreement for you to talk to me about your idea?” He’s like, “Yes.” I go, “I’m not going to do it.” He’s like, “You’re my friend. You have to sign it.” I’m like, “No. I don’t.” And this is what happened. I told him I had me, you know, an idea, probably worth a few billion. And he’s like, “Well, what is it?” I said, “Well, I’m going to create a soft drink. Add a lot caffeine and a lot of sugar. We’re going to put it on the shelves of grocery stores all across America.”

He’s like, “You’re an idiot Charles. That’s Coca-Cola.” I said, “That’s the same thing with your idea.” He’s like, “No. It’s different.” What I’m trying to get to is, an idea is not anything that’s- you see on Sharktank, they go, “Hey, I’ve got an idea and this is going to be worth…” And they go, “Hey, we’ll give you 10 percent of the business for $100,000 cash infusion.”

So, they’re saying their business is worth $1M, for an idea, a logo you got off of 99 Designs, a WordPress blog, which is free, and a premium theme. You have no sales; have no revenue; have no customers; have no clue or idea how to market. But you’ve got an idea –

Guys, ideas are worthless. There are millions and millions of great ideas. The only thing that counts is execution – going back to the soft drink example. That’s a great idea. Coca-Cola, Pepsi – they executed on it. Red Bull – they executed on it. How many guys have had ideas for energy drinks well before Gatorade; well before Red Bull?

And the reality of it is, ideas really aren’t worth anything. I can tell you all the ideas that I’ve had, but unless you execute on your ideas, you’re not really going to have anything. So, keep that in mind.

Next time you watch Sharktank, watch out. These guys have tone of ideas, but watch as the sharks as they’re talking to them. The sharks are like, “Do you have a plan? Do you have a patent? Do you have something tangible? Do you have something that’s worth things?” Because quite often, everybody’s imaginary number is $1M.

So, keep that in mind. Sharktank’s a great show. You should watch it. Give you a huge amount of ideas. Anyway, this is Charles Kirkland. Hope you enjoyed it. By the way, if you’re over at iTunes, I’d love to have a five-star review, or whatever you know – how many stars you think it’s worth.

And make sure you visit CharlesKirklandBlog.com. We’ve got some of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make. Nice little free guide there. So, anyway this is Charles. Hope you enjoyed it. Talk to you later.

May 22

The Most Valuable Asset in Your Business

By ted sikkink | Podcast , Starting a business

Hey, this is Charles Kirkland. Welcome to episode number six of Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur. You’re busy. We don’t have the time for an intro. So, let’s go ahead and jump into the meat and potatoes of this.

What is the most valuable asset in your business? I can ask that and people will tell me, “Charles, it’s the building. It’s the machinery. It’s this, or that, and the other.” The truth of the matter is, the most valuable asset you’ve got in your business is your customers, and your customer list, and your relationship with those customers.

It’s not the machinery. It’s not the building. There are plenty of people going out of business who do the exact same thing you do right now, and it’s not because they don’t have the right machinery, the right equipment, the right whatever. It’s because they don’t have your customer list. And they don’t have your customer relationships.
So, keep that in mind. Now what I’m trying to talk about, if you’re an online business, your relationship typically is your email list. That most valuable asset is your CRM, your email list, have whatever you use basically to communicate with your customers. You know, that is what you need to look at as your most valuable asset.

If you’re trying to sell an online business, which I’ve done a few times, I can tell you, that email list is worth the money. It is that relationship with the email list. That is it. Now it’s not necessary- Hey, you know, the spammers have the biggest email list in the world. So obviously, they should be filthy rich. Not necessarily. And this is where it goes into that relationship with the email.

Your emails are going out to customers. And I hate to tell you. You’re not the only vendor; the only product owner; the only entrepreneur they’re dealing with. They’re dealing with multiple entrepreneurs every day, multiple different scenarios. And unfortunately, a lot of us will end up sending these very dry, boring emails.

You know, basically, “Hey, Bob. We’ve got a brand new shipment of x, y, z. We’ve got a special 50 percent off sale. Buy now.” While that’s great, we really like to buy from people we know, like and trust. So, inject some personality in these emails. That’s one of those big assets. You know, the more personality you can inject, the more they feel like they know you personally.

Typically, the more they will buy from you. And sometimes you’ll have hiccups in business. And people that know you, like you, and trust you can over look those until you get them fixed. If you have no relationship, it’s just purely a transactional relationship, the minute something goes wrong, they’re looking for somebody else to take your place.

So, definitely keep that in mind. Your biggest asset in your business is your customer list and your relationship with it. Hope you enjoyed it. By the way, make sure you give me some five- if you believe I deserve it. Give me a five-star review over here at iTunes. We try to put out the best content in these short little sound bites.

And head over to CharlesKirklandBlog.com. We’ve got the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make special report we’re putting together. So anyway, this is Charles Kirkland. Hope you enjoyed it. Give me some feedback. Talk to you later.

May 22

How To Get Started Outsourcing in Your Business

By ted sikkink | Entrepreneurship , Podcast

Hey, this is Charles Kirkland. Welcome to episode five of Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur. You’re busy. We don’t have time for an intro. So, let’s go ahead and jump into the meat and potatoes here. Now, we’ve got a great question today.

How do I get started outsourcing in my business? And that’s a great question. Now believe me, I’ve had great experiences with outsourcing and I’ve had some that are completely horrible which would just leave you just shocked. First of all, you need to understand there’s a difference from outsourcing and out-tasking. And whether you’ve got an online business; you’ve got an offline business – a lot of us quite often get the two confused.

Now this is some things to really keep in mind. Out-tasking is, let’s just say I go to Fiverr.com. I get a postcard made. I get a graphic made. I get something done on my website. That’s out-tasking, not necessarily outsourcing. That’s like a very specific task – you give it to somebody, they give it back to you. Maybe you use them again, maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s something you only need one time. That’s, more or less, an out-tasking source.

Outsourcing is like, okay let’s get somebody. Let’s have them do basically, multiple things. They report to me. And they pretty much work for me for the majority of the time. Now, I would say get started out-tasking and get comfortable. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs really aren’t comfortable giving orders or giving feedback, or saying, “Hey, you know this really, completely, utterly sucks. Stop.”

As entrepreneurs we’re often so driven we’ll take care of those details later and they bite us in the tail. Believe me. It’s happened to me way too many times. So with that said, I’d say start out-tasking. Find something that is not mission-critical, because that’s one of those big deals.

If somebody goes, “Hey, you know what?” They’re doing something like your accounting or your book keeping, you probably don’t want to out-task that from that standpoint. Maybe you want to have a CPA, an accountant, or something like that. Don’t do anything that can basically cripple your business. Don’t hand that off to anybody quite yet.

Start with an out-task and give somebody a job. Say, “Hey, could you do this job?” And you may want to give that to three different people; and I’m going to use Fiverr as an example. Give it to three different people. You’ll get three different results. And find somebody who’s doing a great job and just talk to them. “Hey, could you- I’ve got additional projects. We need two of these done a week. Would you be available to do that?” Get your feet wet in out-tasking and then work on saying, “Okay, you know, we’ve got enough. We can hire you now. We need you to do this. This is your job. You work for me 40 hours a week, whatever the case may be.” And hat’s how to get started.

When I originally started outsourcing, I actually purchased a percentage of a VA’s time. I said, “Hey, can I purchase 10 hours of your time? I’m just going to need two hours a day.” They had other stuff going in. This was really on oDesk. And they did an amazing job for me. She was really talented, really skilled. I think I paid her $5 or $6 an hour. And before you send me the hate email, they were in the Philippines, and that’s really good money to get in the Philippines.

I mean she had a master’s in computer science and she could just- she spoke perfect English. Better than mine. So, that’s one thing to look at. I mean you may want to go to some place like oDesk, VWorker – go some place like that. Fiverr – start out-tasking. And once you find somebody that’s really doing a good job for you, then you may want to bring them on as a full or part-time business venture.

And I think you’ll enjoy that a lot better. That way you’re getting your feet wet. You know what the quality of the work is. You’re just not hiring somebody blatantly because of something on a résumé that may or may not even be true. Make sure you do some out-tasking. Get familiar with them. See the work ethic. See the quality of the work. Find out if they’ve got anything wacky going on. And at that point, you’re ready to go.

So, I hope you enjoyed it. Give me some feedback by the way. You know, that’s how a podcast grows. You know, the more five-star ratings we get, the more iTunes will show it to other people. So, make sure you do that. Also, head over to CharlesKirklandBlog.com. We’ve got a special report on the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs are making in business. So, go ahead and hop over there.

Give me some five stars here. This is Charles Kirkland. Talk to you later.

May 22

Should You Take Outside Funding?

By ted sikkink | Podcast , Starting a business

Hey, this is Charles Kirkland. Welcome to episode number four of Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur. You’re busy, so let’s go ahead and skip the intro, and get into the meat and potatoes. We’ve got a question today. Should I take outside funding to grow my business?

Well, it totally depends. First of all, do you really need it? A lot of businesses can basically finance themselves through cash flow. And that may be a case of where you’re producing a product. You’ve got enough. Maybe of you get a big order, yes, then definitely get some outside capital to fuse that – to get it going. But, if you’re just getting started and you really don’t have a whole lot of proof of concept, I would not take outside funding. I wouldn’t even seek it.

You may want to get a microloan, may want to get a small business loan, may want to get a credit card – that’s an extremely high interest rate to begin with, but you may want to get one of those and start working on getting a proof of concept where people buy it. If you can get that, and-

Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs I talk to they go, “Charles, we showed the product to x, y, and z, and they loved it. Then they wanted to get some-“ Let’s just say hey, they wanted to order 1,000 units of whatever you’ve got. My question is, talk is cheap. Talk is so cheap it’s incredible.

Problem is, a lot of people talk, but when it comes down to putting money down to order their product, to give you a P.O., to sign a contract with you – all the people that said, “Hey, we want it. We like it.” Most of them will hem and haw, and basically kind of back out on you. So, I want you to understand, because people say they want to buy it, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to buy.

So, before you take outside funding to get something made, make sure you’ve got at least a contract, maybe you’ve got some negotiations – get some signed paperwork ahead of time because I’ve seen plenty of entrepreneurs who’ve invested money in something and all of a sudden, you know, the buyer backed out and things went wrong. There was no contract, just a handshake.

Don’t be that guy. Make sure you at least have that. So, if you need outside funding, fine. Go for it. But please understand use it wisely, because unfortunately you have to pay it back most of the time.

Anyway, this is Charles. Hope you enjoyed it. Talk to you later.

May 22

Could Sleep Be Sabotaging Your Success

By ted sikkink | Entrepreneurship , Productivity

Hey, this is Charles Kirkland. Welcome to episode three of Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur. You’re busy. We don’t have time for an intro, so let’s go ahead and jump into the meat and potatoes of this.

Now, this is a very, very, very controversial thing. Are you getting enough sleep? You say, “No. No, Charles, I’m an entrepreneur. I will sleep when I die.” I said that so many times, you know. I’ll rest when I’m dead. I got stuff to do. There’ve been times when I’ve had so many ideas where I have literally worked 24 hours straight, stopping for food and bathroom breaks, and that’s it.

And while that seems great, and I mean that’s the classic stories you hear entrepreneurs tell. You know, working through the night and everything else. The truth of the matter is, that’s probably counterproductive. First of all, your body’s like a Ferrari. It’s a fine-tuned racing machine. And it needs basically, maintenance. That means getting consistent sleep – going to bed at a certain time; waking up at a certain time. That’s consistency.

And when that happens, your body says okay. I know between ten pm and six am I can rest. I can sleep. I can rebuild. Do whatever. And I can recharge. Now what I would do, I’d have worked 24 hours straight and then I would crash for about 18 hours. Now, while I thought I was getting ahead, I’m going to be honest with you, after about the first 12 hours you’re just dragging.

Even if you’re fueled by adrenaline you’ve got passion, you’ve got drive, you just basically ran out of juice and then you started popping the Red Bulls, and the Mellow Yellow’s, and eating the carbs and pizza. And long story short, if you really look at that, and I know people will say, “No, Charles, I’m productive.”

That’s fine. But you have to understand. That takes a toll on your body. All of a sudden, you’re not thinking as clearly. There’s so many things that basically thrown monkey wrenches at you when you sleep like that, because then you’re so tired, you sleep, you wake up you’re groggy. That’s really not productive.

So, I want to end this segment. Start going to bed at a decent time or a certain time. Wake up at a certain time. The first week or two you do this you’re not going to like it. You’re going to be upset because, “Charles, you’re crazy. It’s not working for me.” Your body will get into a rhythm. And you’ll find you think clearer. You think faster. All of a sudden, you’re just like Johnny on the spot for stuff.

And as entrepreneurs, it’s not about how hard we work. It’s about how much we get done that really counts. So, keep that in mind. Anyway, this is Charles. Hope you enjoyed it. Give me some feedback. Talk to you later.

May 20

How Can You Fix A Failing Business?

By ted sikkink | Entrepreneurship , Podcast

Hey, this is Charles Kirkland and welcome to episode two of Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur. And I know you’re busy so we’re going to skip the intro and go right into the meat the potatoes of the show. Now one of the questions I hear asked a lot is can you turn around a failing business.

We see it on TV all the time. They come in. The guru will fix the business. And all of a sudden, things are magically better – within an hour timeframe, by the way. And does that happen in real life? And can that happen to you?

Well it depends. Typically, we have businesses who are failing for one of two reasons – you’re fundamentally flawed. A.)You’re selling the wrong product to the wrong market at the wrong price. I don’t care what you do on that. You probably can’t make that happen from a survival- I mean, I’m just going to be honest with you. It probably isn’t going to survive. And it’s probably a good thing it doesn’t survive.

So before you go, “Charles, you’re saying I need to go out of business?” No. I’m just saying fundamentally, you don’t need to be paddling upstream. That’s what a lot of people do. You know, the right market to the right product – you’ve got a good combination. Right product, wrong market – I don’t care how hard you try. It’s just not going to work.

If you came to me and said, “Charles, guess what? I’ve got a truckload of Prada pink purses. I’m going to give you a discount. They are only going to be $10 apiece. I don’t want them in any way, shape, or form. Just don’t want a Prada pink purse. Don’t really don’t think it would be me. you know, I don’t think it would look good on me.

Now if I was a female I would be like oh my, gosh, greatest day ever. Yes. Back that in the garage right now. Here’s your check. Let’s go. Right product. Right market. You can make those sales. So, yes, you can. If the business is failing because maybe you’re not charging enough; maybe you don’t have the right marketing aspect; maybe there’s something fundamentally flawed with the product itself – those things can be easily fixed.

You can always adjust prices. You can adjust the product itself. Those things are easily tweaked and easily fixed. Fundamentally flawed products – you just need to let them die and start paddling with the flow of the water here. So, keep that in mind.

I can give you a good example of this, and this is probably a horrible example to use. But you know an Omaha steak distribution restaurant, or whatever you want to call it, in the middle of a town that’s inhabited by nothing but vegans. Maybe one vegan out of 1,000 may decide you know what? I need a little protein. I want a little steak. Probably, most likely, not going to happen.

Right product – would work great in central Texas. Austin Texas – steaks, you’re ready to go. In veganville, probably not going to happen. But now you’re saying, “Charles, that’s an exaggeration. That’s not really how things happen in real life.” That’s exactly how things happen in real life.

So, before you, you know, do anything look at your business. Is it fundamentally flawed because of the product – issue that doesn’t work, or is it flawed or are you not really successful because of pricing, marketing, things like that? That’s how you can turn around a business. But the other business- you may as well let it die and keep on going.

Anyway, this is Charles. Hope you enjoyed it. Give me some feedback on iTunes. You like it? You hate it? Best podcast ever? Worst podcast ever? Anyway, this is Charles. Talk to you later.

May 20

What you’ll find on the podcast

By ted sikkink | Entrepreneurship , Podcast

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