6 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know with Josh Melick
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. And while anyone can claim to be an “entrepreneur,” there are tips, tricks, tools, and lessons only gained through experience that make the difference between success and failure. I’m Josh Melick, and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Broadly, a venture-backed technology company that’s raised more than $20M to build the tools that help small businesses better communicate with their customers.
Being an entrepreneur for 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from some brilliant business owners. In my experience as a board member at the Kauffman Foundation, I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds more. And now, as co-founder and CEO of Broadly, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that any small business owner can apply to their company today.
Here are the six big ones that will help you grow your business.
1) Your customers make or break your business
No matter how good your technology is, you won’t be able to please everyone all of the time. It’s critical that, as an entrepreneur, you constantly seek feedback from your customers and take the steps necessary to keep them happy — even if it means upsetting a few other people in the process. The first step is easy: Ask for feedback. The second step is even more critical: Take action on what you hear and make the changes necessary to continue growing your business.
2) Your customers should be your north star — not Facebook, Twitter, or other companies
Many small business owners suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, especially when it comes to social media. But the truth of the matter is that you should focus on building your own business, not someone else’s.
3) You can’t please everyone all of the time — and that’s OK
And that includes yourself. One size does not fit all when it comes to running your business. Be honest with yourself about what you are good at, where your passions lie, and how it fits in with your company’s vision for the future.
4) Sales is not a dirty word
It’s easy to get sucked into the mindset that all sales reps are slimy, crafty folks that will stop at nothing to rip you off. That’s just not true. Sales are about building relationships and trust, and when done well, it can be a rewarding experience for all parties involved. The best sales reps realize that their job isn’t to make the sale; instead, it’s to help you make the right decision for your business in the long term.
5) There are other, better ways to “prove” your value proposition other than a sales pitch
In fact, I’d argue that sales pitches should only be used when you’re trying to close a sale. In my experience, it’s counterproductive and borderline rude to deliver a sales pitch when you first meet someone — especially if the other person isn’t expecting one. For example, I once had a salesperson try to pitch me on an iPad app that they were selling for $10. Unfortunately, they failed to realize that I was the CTO of Intuit at the time and had been building iPad apps for years.
6) If you want something, ask for it
This seems so easy, but it turns out to be hard for most entrepreneurs. We don’t like asking for things because we’re afraid of rejection or looking needy, or not knowing what the answer will be. But if you want something, ask for it! Nothing ventured is nothing gained.