Mehdi Ravan

In my last post which was part one of starting a successful startup business, I shared eight key points.

If you haven’t read that yet, then I highly recommend checking it out here How To Start A Successful Startup Business Part 1 of 2 before you continue reading this post so you get the whole idea and make sure not to miss any important point.

Today I want to share six more crucial steps that one should keep in mind before starting a business. 

Let’s go and see what they are.

Step 9: Find A Mentor

This was one of the major turning points in my business journey.

I had launched my first software product and it had taken me almost 18 months to get to where I was. 

I remember myself always messaging other successful startup founders on Linkedin and hoping they will give me some advice and luckily I got one great mentor who agreed to join me!

Now looking back, I can say that it was one of the best decisions I made in my business, that single act has saved me thousands of dollars in unnecessary mistakes and months of precious time.

Having a mentor does not mean you are weak, if you look around closely you will find that most successful athletes also have personal coaches that help them become who they are.

Remember, you need a coach or a mentor for four major reasons:

A: They see in you what you don’t see in yourself

What I mean here is potential. 

Sometimes a coach or a mentor can see the potential that you have in you that might not even occur to you.

A great mentor is someone who sees you better than you are today, someone who always envisions you in your next best version.

B: They see things around you that you don’t see yourself

What I mean here is the the opportunity.

I have been there and let me give you a heads up now, it’s very very easy to get caught up in the day to day works of your business and miss on what might be more important.

What happens here is that you get so busy at times that you don’t even get a chance to sit down and think clearly, so your mentor from outside the noise can share great ideas and insights with you to help you elevate your business to the next level.

C: They have already made the mistakes you are about to make

I always like to repeat this Chinese proverb that says, if you want to walk a path, find someone who is coming back that way!

It’s such a true and valuable piece of wisdom.

Your mentor has probably made most of the mistakes you are about to make, so he or she can save you out of most of them.

D: They hold you accountable

If you are a hardcore entrepreneur like myself then you may not need someone to hold you accountable because you work day and night regardless.

But it’s great when you have someone who has more experience than you and can review your progress with you from time to time and ensure you are on track and working on the right things.

Step 10: Understand That Running A Business Is Like A Marathon

You read it right!

You see, hear and read a lot of those overnight success stories, but there is no such thing as an overnight success.

Jeff Bezos says for us in Amazon every overnight success has taken at least around seven years! But the thing is people do not see the work that goes behind the scene and only hear of the glories.

Warren Buffett says one of the key elements to his success is long term thinking.

When you run a Marathon, you are already thinking long term, you are not thinking of the next ten or twenty minutes but for the next few hours.

This kind of thinking makes you stronger, forces you to plan things better, and be patient with the results when things don’t go as you expect them.

Therefore, develop a marathon runner mindset, think and plan long term for your business and you will be good.

Step 11: Learn Business

Yes, learn the business!

Let’s be real, this is actually where most people go wrong including me in the early days.

Before diving deep into the business world, I was training to become a pilot which was my childhood dream.

And to fly a commercial airline in the left seat as a Captain, It will take you around seven years of flying if not more.

The same applies for many of the occupations out there, this means you have to put in the time, money, and effort to study.

But the sad part is when it comes to business, people tend to fantasize and think all they need is just an idea and all will be well.

Yes, all will be well, and glory will be yours, but if you pay attention to all the points I have mentioned in this post part 1 and part 2, you will see that the first step is only an idea but there are many more steps for you to take before you succeed.

So approach business just like anything else in life or else you are going to pay a high price for not knowing and I’m saying this from my painful personal experience until I started to become a learning machine.

That is now my advice to you, become a learning machine, read any book or take any course related to your topic that you can get your hands on and you will achieve your goals so much faster.

I try not to let any day go by without me learning something new. I now have a list of books and courses that I want to go learn from as I continue this exciting business journey of mine.

I have recently combined my mistakes, learning, pains of sleepless nights, and lessons I learned personally and through my mentors into a systematic 90-day coaching program.

This is exactly what I wish I would have access to when I was getting started and it would have surely saved me 2 years and thousands of dollars in mistakes!

During these 90 days, I go through A to Z of starting and growing a business from scratch or any stage, just imagine a step by step guide that you just need to follow, take action and build your idea into a business.

I believe this is one of the best favors you can do to yourself, check it out here ( LINK ).

If you decide to join, you will have direct access to me during the 90 days and you can ask any questions and I’ll help you out, see you there!

Step 12: Go Deep And Aim For Mastery

The last thing you want to do is being average.

It’s a one time life and you have the potential, so just aim for the best.

This comes in two parts, first, you have to have a burning desire for greatness, and second, you have to work for it.

This is almost like the last step I mentioned but in a more specific way, whatever business you happened to be in, make sure you know more than anyone in your league.

This comes by really studying deeply in your niche and reaching the level of mastery until you understand your business and industry like a teacher.

This ensures you always stay ahead of the competition and continue to become better and grow every day.

Remember, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades but instead be the master of one.

Step 13: Learn Marketing

If you build it, they won’t come!

Yes, even if you build the best product in the world but no one knows about it then they are not going to buy it from you anyway.

Big and successful companies spend millions and billions of dollars every year in marketing despite being massively successful, ever wondered why?

It’s interesting, whenever I drive on the road and notice the advertisements, I see that they are from the most successful companies such as McDonald’s, Toyota, Emirates, and so on.

But the question is why so? Aren’t they already known? Aren’t they already big? Aren’t they already successful?

Yes, but what made them successful in the first place? Any guess? Yes, marketing! So they know the moment they stop marketing, people are going to start forgetting about them and lose their customers to other players.

Master the art of marketing and this will have a huge impact on where you will take your business.

Note that I do not mean you have to become a marketer yourself and learn how to run Facebook or Google Ads, not at all, but what I mean is learning about different marketing strategies and then finding the right people to execute them for you, this is also something that I go deep in my 90-Day Infinite Growth Startup Coaching.

Step 14: Know Your Numbers

Last but not least, measure everything that matters.

One of your main jobs as a leader is having the big picture in mind all the time, and you can do that by tracking your numbers.

Numbers tell you everything in a measurable way, numbers in finance, numbers in sales, numbers in marketing and so in all departments.

Many business owners sadly do not know what is going on in their business and this becomes a major cause of their business dying over time.

Make sure when you start from day one, you understand what you have to track and how you track them in a way that everyone in your organization will be on the same page.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. 

If so, put a like, share it with someone you know will benefit, and leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts and questions.

Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so that I can send you my best content every week and help you take your business to the next level!

You are probably thinking of starting a business. Either because you want to leave a 9 to 5 job or because you want to gain freedom in your life. 

In any case, starting your own business is the right move as it brings a lot of benefits such as being your own boss, owning your own time, earning more money, working on the things you love and so on. 

But it is easier said than done! By now, I have started many businesses, online and offline and I can tell you from experience that it is not easy and it is not for everyone. 

This is not to discourage you at all, but I just want to give you the real picture and what I believe is right so that you have the right plan from day one.

So if you are really serious about starting your own business, read on! I’m going to share a few steps here for you so that you make sure to get them right in place before you start and avoid the costly mistakes I made

Make sure you read till the end to see the bonus tip which I have put there for you.

Step 1: Find An Idea

Here people usually fall into two categories:

One is those who do not have an idea and are trying to find one and the other is those who have more than just one idea and want to understand which one they should pursue.

So I’ll address the first category as it is the subject of our article and let’s say you want to find an idea for your business. So how do you find an idea? 

Here are two main strategies to find great startup business ideas:

A: Find a real problem

This is where many of the best business ideas are born.

You find people facing a problem and complaining about a topic and there you go, you have a business idea already, all you need to do is just to solve it for them by a product or service and they will pay you for it to solve their problem!

Take Uber, for example, the problem for people was waiting outside under the sun or rain and wasting time and missing appointments as you did not know when the cab would arrive. They now allow everyone to order a cab with the click of a button and know exactly what time it will come and when they will arrive at their destination, that’s why Uber has become so successful.

B: Look for something you need for yourself

This is yet another big source of business ideas where you should pay attention to.

The thing is people don’t think, don’t observe, if they do, they will find great opportunities around!

Everything around you that you see and use today was one day just an idea which was the result of someone’s problem or need. So if you observe carefully as you go through your daily life, you may face a need that the solution to it does not exist yet, and there you go, an idea for a potential business.

This was the case with me for one of my startups Duminex, I was looking to hire a high quality vetted freelance accountant and I could not find a place to find such talent easily and quickly which led me to the idea of building a platform to hire top freelance accountants and finance professionals.

There are more tactics on how to find great business startup ideas including strategies on how to know which ideas are best if you have more than one idea which I go through in-depth in my 90-Day Infinite Growth Startup Coaching.

Step 2: Find A Market

It’s easy to fall in love with your idea and then ignore the facts.

If I have one piece of advice here is that you should always be logical with your ideas! let me explain that.

When you have an idea and you talk to the people in your close network, chances are that they will most likely agree with you and like your idea, that is not because your idea will succeed, it is just that they are biased and since they like you, they will like your idea too and that is a danger zone you want to avoid.

You have to make sure that you do research the market on your ideas thoroughly and ensure that there is a market and there are people out there ready to buy your product or service.

It’s super important to always keep in mind the market size, you don’t want to build something that only a certain group of people in a certain area will use, which will be too small for you to scale and succeed.

Instead, you should always pursue ideas that will have the most impact on the world, something that you can envision lots of people using.

Step 3: Start Part-Time

 This is something I get asked all the time.

With the help of the internet and technology, now more people are able to start their own businesses and especially do it from home.

Many of these aspiring entrepreneurs are either students or employees working for other companies and here is my one major piece of advice for all of you out there who happened to be reading my blog now, in fact, I learned this from the great philosopher Jim Rohn:

Start part-time working on your fortune while you are still working full time on your income.

This is such a profound word of wisdom. There is so much time in a day and you really do not need to start full time. Just imagine after work from 6 pm to 12 am is 6 hours, even if you remove the rest times and gaps in between, you will still be left with 4 hours which is a great amount to get started.

Starting a business comes with a risk and you want to manage and minimize that risk as much as possible and one way is by starting part-time.

Because you are just using 5-6 hours of your time and you also have an income that sustains you, so you do not need to worry about the necessities of life and get distracted and just focus on developing your idea to the best you can.

Step 4: Surround Yourself With Likeminded People

 They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with! This is so true.

Going from being a student or working in a job to starting your own business means you are moving into a new zone or level in your life.

Surely the people around you now are not the right people to guide you and help you towards your next level, otherwise, they would have done it themselves.

Warren Buffet who is one of the greatest investors of our time says: it’s very hard for me to be friends with someone whom I can not learn anything from.

If you pay attention to his quote, he is just talking about the same thing, the type of people around us which is also known as the circle of influence.

So if you really want to expedite your success, upgrade your circle of influence, because whatever they are, they affect you and your life.

Step 5: Find Your Why

 

You read it right, yea, find your why!

Let me say this quote I love: The road to success is always under construction 🙂

With that being said, you should always be prepared for any challenge or obstacle that may come your way.

Before you begin, I want you to really take your journal or somewhere you can always say and write that why you are starting your business, why do you want to do it.

Is it because you want to make more money? Is it because you want to feed your family? Or you want the freedom that it brings? 

Whatever is it, write it down and always remember this:

The stronger the why, the stronger you are!

Step 6: Align With Your Passion

 

This is almost like the why, in fact, your passion could also be your why. Sometimes you do things just because you are passionate about it.

For example in my case, the reason I do business is that I’m passionate about spotting business ideas and opportunities and bringing them to life with the cooperation of the smart people in my teams.

I have been an entrepreneur for as far as I can remember, I have been selling things in school since age nine up to the level that I built a successful newspaper business in high school.

So why should you find your passion? Here is why:

Your work fills a major part of your life and your goal should be to ensure that work does not seem like work for you!

For me, it’s a blessing to wake up every single day and work on great ideas with amazing people and find ways to serve millions and billions of people on the planet. 

So find your passion as that is the key ingredient of your joyful life and successful business.

Step 7: Have A Dream & Vision

Jack Ma, the visionary founder of Alibaba says:

It’s not the idea that makes it work and successful, it’s the dream behind the idea.

I always say life is a one time gift, better do something great with it to avoid the regret at the end.

Having a compelling dream and vision to back your ideas is a sure way of propelling you towards the required progress on your journey and your support and motivation when things aren’t going the way you want.

Your vision should be so clear and vivid that you can literally close your eyes and see it and be able to live it at that moment as it has already been manifested.

This is so powerful and is almost like a hidden secret to success not only in business but in the area of your life.

Your vision will also enable you to attract great talent to join you later as you continue to grow and start hiring and building your dream team.

Step 8: Focus On Your Customers

It’s very easy to find yourself at some point and suddenly knowing that you are paying so much attention to your competitors. 

This is probably one of the many mistakes I made early on as I was looking at competitors more than I should have and I could have spent that time focusing on our customers.

Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon says: we do not focus on competitors, we are only focused on our customers.

Because if you are only focused on competitors and you get ahead of them, then what else is there for you to strive for? 

Where if you focus on your customers, they will never be satisfied and always ask for more which puts you in the position to always remain hungry for innovation and growth.

You have only so much energy during the day. 

Your energy flows where your focus goes, so place your focus on the right place from day one and this will add so much to your speed in achieving the success you desire.

It’s also important to note that when you are just starting out and your product and business are not fully shaped, you have to iterate and improve on things so quickly to ensure that you develop your product fast and in the right direction and as you may guess, you can achieve that better by focusing on your customers.

Your customers could be your major source of information and learning and if you develop the right mindset in your team and ensure that everyone is fully focused on what can we do today to improve the experience of our customers and then see how things will unfold magically!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. 

If so, put a like, share it with someone you know will benefit, and leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts and questions.

Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so that I can send you my best content every week and help you to take your business to the next level!

What Do Investors Look For In Startups Before Funding?

You are probably curious to know what’s going on inside the brains of investors?

So basically you can read their minds and adjust your presentation accordingly 🙂

Here i’m going to share four signs that investors look for when investing so you can make sure you meet them all before
approaching investors to increase your chances of getting funded.

1: Team

Richard Brandson says: a company is just a group of people coming together to build something meaningful.
So at the core of any organization wanting to be a family, a company or a football team, are people. People are the most important
asset any business can have.
Warren Buffet has many companies yet he does not run even a single one of them, how then they are still so successful? Because
he makes sure there are great leaders at the helm of any of his companies.
So when it comes to the startup world and funding, it’s not different that investors look at the team first.
Masayoshi Son, who invested in Jack Ma’s Alibaba when they had still no revenue or business plan, says i invested because of
Jack Ma himself and not the company, because of his charisma and vision.
So startup investors want to see a few things before investing:

1: More than one founding team member

This does not mean being a single founder means you have less chances of success, not, but investors feel more confident when
there are two or three founders who share the same vision, so their risk of losing that single founder reduces.
It takes a lot of work, not all individuals can handle that much work alone, so multi founders is a good sign that founders won’t be
overloaded or exhausted.

2: Founders with complementing skills

You don’t want to have three founders who are all from a marketing background or a tech background. What investors like is when
a founder is into the tech side and another one is on the business side, that is a great match.

3: Founders who get along well

You don’t want to tell your investors that you met your cofounder at the coffee shop a few days ago or just at a gathering. It’s
always best if founders have known each other from the past and history has proved they can get along well.
It’s also important how all founders met with the idea or their level of belief in the vision, you want to make sure everyone is on the
same page.

4: Founders who get along well

Investors also want to see if you are the right fit for the idea,
The question or assessment usually is if any of the founders has domain expertise, so that you understand your market, industry
and competitors well.
Or at least a way to relate your past experience to what you want to do now.

2: Vision

Jack Ma says: It’s not the idea, it’s the dream behind the idea.
Have you noticed that two people can have the same idea or two companies being in the same business, yet one goes to much
greater success than the other? It most probably has to do with the team or vision.
Your vision tells investors quickly of two things:

1: Your belief, energy and passion

This can not be made up, it has to be real and from within, experienced investors can see that in your eyes and in return it tells
them a lot about you.
It tells them how much confidence you have, how long is the journey and how far you want to go for it.

2: Opportunity size

Bill Gates’ vision was a computer on every desk in every home!
Mark Zuckerberg’s vision was to connect people together from wherever they are.
Now this is not an exact prediction, it does not mean it’s always true when someone says about a vision, but it can send some good
signals of information to experienced investors!

3: Market Size

You can have a great idea, but it won’t be that valuable until you know that a large number of people are interested in it.
It takes so much work and dedication to go from just an idea to a real business that continuously grows and you can’t do too many
things at the same time.
Therefore you want to make sure you have picked the right idea, so at the end of your efforts you arrive at something big enough to
reward you for your efforts and all your stakeholders.
So remember that the bigger the market size the more interesting the opportunity, so that your investors can expect some healthy
return on their stay with you.
Also note that venture capital is not an easy business, they have to place many bets and wait a long time to see the fruits of their
investments, and for an investment to pay for other failures, it has to be really big.

4: Real Problem or Problem Validation

This one is a big tangible boost for investors’ confidence.
Real Problem simply means a problem that is really faced often enough by a good number of people.
One major milestone after having an idea and researching an idea for a startup is the Idea Validation.
Idea Validation means you have proven that your idea is going to work out successfully, there are a few key strategies for
Validating your startup idea which again I go deep in my Infinite Growth Startup Coaching Program.
Having Validated your startup idea would give you an edge and make you readier and more matured for early-stage investors to
understand and believe in your vision.
So make sure you have validated your idea and that’s your first step to ensure you don’t lose the interest of potential investors.

Later i can add this also:
Lead Investor
Traction

4 Proven Steps To Find Investors For Your Startup

I know you might be wondering how I can find an investor for my idea.

You think you have a great startup idea and are just waiting for the money to come.

If that’s you, then continue reading as I’m going to share some helpful tips to help you find an investor easier.

1: Make sure your idea is ready

What do i mean by this?
Just like how humans have different stages of life such as pregnancy, infancy, toddler, childhood, etc, startups also have different
stages during their lifecycle which I talk about in detail in my Infinite Growth Startup Coaching Program.
One such major stage for a startup is Idea Validation which means you have proven that your idea is going to work out
successfully, there are a few key strategies for Validating your startup idea which again I go deep in my Infinite Growth Startup
Coaching Program.
So there are different investors who are interested in different startups depending on the stages they are in, some might want to
invest only in high revenue startups while some others might be interested in only early-stage startups.
Having Validated your startup idea would give you an edge and make you readier and more matured for early-stage investors to
understand and believe in your vision.
So make sure you have validated your idea and that’s your first step to ensure you don’t waste your time chasing investors
prematurely.

2: Stack all the necessary documents

This is very important as you don’t get much time when you approach an investor.
Investors don’t invest just by your presentation or explanation, they need some documents to study your idea.
There are quite a few key documents that you must have ready handy before you even start looking for investors such as Product
Deck, Investor Deck or Pitch, Feasibility Study, etc,.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what those docs are or how to make a perfect one, I have been there and that’s why I have included
all those documents step by step in my 90 days infinite growth startup coaching program along with ready templates.
So make sure you have your documents in place and that’s your second step!

3: Get a mentor

If i am to start all over again, this is probably one of the first things I would do which is finding a mentor for myself.
A mentor is someone who has walked the path you want to walk and can guide you through the exact steps for your success.
So how does having a mentor related to the funding topic here?
Investors are more welcoming to warm requests just like anyone else and mentors usually know some investors in their network
and can introduce you to them when the time comes.
You don’t have to get a mentor just for the sake of funding, you can get a lot of support and knowledge in other areas from a mentor
for the growth of your startup, so you can utilize his or her expertise to the max.
Now let’s go to step number four.

4: Tap Into accelerator programs

This is more or less like step number three which is an indirect method.
There are a growing number of incubators and accelerator programs globally due to the rise in upcoming startups and available
funding.
Most of these programs do not invest directly as they are not investors except some small grants or amounts of like 100K$ or so
depending on the plans and strategies of a specific accelerator.
Again note that accelerators bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, so if you happen to join them, make sure you
get all the possible learnings from them while you focus on the funding part.
Plus, applying to different accelerators or incubators will expose you to the community and teach you certain things during the
process such as presentation and pitching skills 🙂

5 Ways To Kickstart The Growth of Your Startup

Everyone wants to grow their startup.

Building a business is not luck, its system and strategy!

Here are five strategies to kickstart the growth of your startup:

1: People

People are the core of your business.
You need to make sure a few things when it comes to people:
A: Hire the right people
B: Place them in the right roles
C: Make sure they work together as a team
If you get the B & C right, you will increase the retention rate of your employees!

2: Mission & Purpose

If you want to truly succeed with number 1, make sure you get the number 2 right.
Great talents want to join a mission and not just any company, you have to make sure that you have a clear vision and mission to
attract the best of talents out there.
You also need to make sure that you have a very big reason why you are in the business aside from making profits.
This will inspire and energize your people and become as well as a talent magnet for you.

3: Innovate

You need to make sure you are not just selling what everyone else is selling out there.
In other words, you need to be able to differentiate yourself from other startups out there.
This gives your customers a valid reason on why they should buy from you rather than your competitors and also make it way
easier for you to close deals.
So make sure you can clearly tell your customers what makes your product or service a unique one which cant be found
elsewhere.
And this is called USP or Unique Selling Proposition, this is what you need to have for every product or service you offer.

4: Marketing

You can have the best product in the market but if people don’t know about it, they are not going to buy from you.
I want you to observe the next time you go on the road or even online, you will notice most ads are for the most successful
businesses.
What does that tell us?
It’s a clear indicator that successful people are successful just because they know how to do marketing and attract millions of
potential customers towards them.
Many businesses go out of business simply because they don’t learn how to do marketing and say we don’t have the money.
But wait, marketing is not an expense, it’s an investment if you know how to generate a great profit from it!

5: Hunger

You should be hungry for success.
You should never be satisfied with what you have.
Warren Buffet says the number one reason big businesses go out of business is complacency.
That’s why you see a new startup come up today and a few years later some bug companies go out of business because of them,
why?
Because big companies are happy with what they have but startups are hungry to achieve there and succeed!