Escaping Entrepreneurial Limbo-Land

Small StepsDoing nothing is a choice in the same way that doing anything is a choice. Since we almost always have the option to do the exact opposite, therein lies our choice.

So what does inaction look like?  Isn’t it relatively easy to spot?  Sometimes, yes.  But, other times, not so much.

For example, accepting the status quo has a sense of familiarity and security to it.  Still, lingering in the status quo is a form of inaction.

On the other hand, we can keep ourselves very busy taking on activities that give the appearance of action.  However, many activities can actually be inaction in disguise…busy work, for example.

Inaction is more easily recognized when it is described as: “lack of forward progress.”

For entrepreneurs, no news might be good news, but sometimes bad news is better.  Bad news is news that you can take corrective action on.  No news is a form of limbo, where you are stuck, waiting, losing momentum, lost or immobilized about what to do or where or how to proceed.

Test and Learn, Early and Often.

Consider the following definition of “limbo” from GeekWise.com.  (Ask yourself if this is a place where you want to be for very long?)

“The word limbo is often used in a non-religious context to refer to any kind of intermediate, neutral state in which nothing really good or bad happens. In this sense, it can be a kind of stagnation or a waiting period with no clear end point.”

The key words above being: “no clear end point”,  a place where we can get lost for an extensive period of time, often without realizing it.

In business, time is money. Time has a cost.  Losing time is an opportunity cost.  Not making money can be equated with losing money.  Wasting time is wasting potential money-making opportunities.

Don’t Be a Wantrepreneur

For entrepreneurs, this condition of wasting time and money without making any progress has been labeled by Noah Kagan of AppSumo.com as “Wantrepreneur-ship” (<-Watch this funny but effective YouTube video link here).

Noah Kagan labels this time- and cost-sucking busy mode:  “playing business”, i.e., going through all the motions, expending the time, effort and expense of running a business, without having even earned $1.00 to validate that anybody even wants to buy what you think you are trying to sell.

Why Don’t More People Teach Idea Validation?

Personally, I don’t know why more online business training courses don’t spend more time teaching entrepreneurs how to do this quick and inexpensive idea validate step.

Maybe idea validation is just too obviously simple, at least in the way that Noah describes it?

Or, perhaps this validation step is just too easy for gung-ho entrepreneurs to overlook or underestimate the value of it?

Or, maybe this is all just easier said than done?

Either way, in my mind, idea validation is the missing link, The Secret, or the holy grail to escaping entrepreneurial limbo-land.  <–Click to Tweet

Low-Cost Quick Idea Validation Avenues

In the post, “How Risk-Averse Entrepreneurs Succeed: Low Cost Testing…“, Noah Kagan and Tim Ferriss suggest that you are a Wantrepreneur if you’ve spent more than about $5,000 and 2-month’s time “working on your business” without having earned even $1.00 to validate that anyone is interested in your idea.

Bottom Line: You’re wasting time and money if you’re trying to perfect a fully baked solution that you never even validated. <-Click to Tweet

Their suggestions on where and how to validate your business idea before building it out, by getting free customer feedback in the most risk-minimizing way, is to:

  1. Scour Amazon Reviews.  Check the 3+ star reviews for unmet customer needs.
  2. Analyze Sub-Reddits & Quora & Forums.  What questions are people asking?
  3. Track Twitter complaints and Google Alerts.  What problems are people trying to solve?
  4. Run Facebook Ads.  Ask a specific target market if they are interested in what you have to offer.
  5. Ask friends and family.  Can you summarize what you are selling simple enough that they get it instantly?

Watch Tim and Noah’s embedded video for a more impactful experience of these tips and more.  Then, go validate some ideas.  I know that this is something that I plan on doing.

Escape As Soon As You Can

This is one of those lessons that I wish I learned many, many years ago.

I don’t want to be a Wantrepreneur any longer.  That is one club that I want to get as far away as possible from.  Please help and join me in this crusade. But, save yourself first!  :)

Escape your Limbo-Land and explore what’s out there beyond The Land of Make Believe.

Please feel free to share any idea validation methods that have worked for you.  Any and all ideas and suggestions will be greatly appreciated (and tested by me).   Thanks!  :)

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Photo Credit:  title=”Small Steps” by geishaboy500, on Flickr

 

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