1. Believe in the business – and yourself
There are so many people who will say, “No – bad idea, it’s never going to work.” You have to have a senseless belief in your idea and yourself – almost to the point of being delusional. Remember that everyone has advice but no one knows what you have to go through to start, grow and scale a business until they live it! Talk is cheap, but action speaks volumes.
I often tell the story of the ancient general who took his troops to battle and, when they got to the foreign shore, burned all the ships so there would be no option to retreat. That is the kind of belief you need. There’s no going back.
2. Test before you jump in
Don’t ask your mother, your wife, your friends or your barber what they think – those are opinions (and often biased ones at that!). Test the idea with the only people who really matter: the ones who are going to cut you a cheque for it. Call on some potential clients and see if they will buy whatever it is you’re selling.
3. Everyone lies
Some people will lie to you because they mean to. Others will do it to tell you what you want to hear. Either way, test everything you are told. If someone tells you they are going to invest, get a date. And if the date passes, make sure your spider senses are tingling. If a client tells you he is giving you the order, ask him if it is in procurement yet; if not, ask him if he minds if you call the purchaser yourself. Test what people tell you. They don’t always mean to lie to you, but they do lie.