Entrepreneurial Inspirations from a Night Listening to Guy Kawasaki

A few months ago, I attended a speaking event at the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center to hear Guy Kawasaki—former chief evangelist of Apple and author of The Macintosh Way, Enchantment and many other popular titles—speak about his new book, The Art of the Start 2.0. Throughout the talk he provided lots of helpful tips for entrepreneurs. In my line of work, that’s something that I don’t see enough of.

Below, I’ve listed the top five takeaways from Guy’s event—the core advice that can help entrepreneurs really take flight—along with a bit of additional commentary from the Plat4orm PR perspective on how these principles play out in the real world.

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1. Keep it simple

  • What's your product for? What will it accomplish on a global scale?

  • Are you improving things? Are you providing a better solution?

2. Be an MVVP (most viable, valuable, valid player)

  • The most successful entrepreneurs provide a viable and valuable product that helps solve a real business problem. When entrepreneurs are not successful, it tends to be because they are either solving a future market need or solving the entrepreneur’s problem rather than a global problem—it’s not an urgent need.

3. Define your business model

  • Oftentimes when we speak with emerging companies, they can’t define a specific business model. (Hint: “Consulting” isn’t a business model.) If you are going to create a product, create a licensing structure that is financially beneficial in the long run. If you are offering services that translate into a product, you still need to have a license structure and an upgrade structure in place for transitioning to that product-based model.

4. Get going!

  • You can’t stand out if you are too afraid to do something that creates waves. If you don’t stick your neck out, there’s limited reward. In our experience, staying in your comfort zone tends to lead to complacency, which could lead to missing the next innovation. Sometimes doing something “cringe worthy” allows you to be visible and be uncomfortable—and that might reap terrific rewards. It could also lead to failure, but it’s normal to fail once in a while. We don’t all win all the time.

5. Tell your story in a unique way

  • Apply the “opposite test”: Would you characterize competitors as simply the opposite of you (e.g., not scalable, not flexible, not easy to use)? If the opposite test is ridiculous, then your message isn’t unique enough.

  • Make it personal.

  • Look outside of yourself rather than trying to impress people with what you know. You need to tell a compelling story that attracts others—not by talking about yourself, but through your unique ideas.

It’s great to hear others discuss the successes and failures that entrepreneurs face when trying to start up their product. I highly recommend going to a lecture to give you and your company some fresh perspectives and do what entrepreneurs do best—think outside the box!