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Want your Startup to be Successful? Make Powerful RHYMES

You want your venture to take off…yes it’s true.
It hasn’t yet and you’re feeling blue.
Wondering what you need to do?
Make Powerful RHYMES to see your vision through.

Ok…that was corny. I know. But, hear me out. Last week I was reflecting about what a start-up needs to be successful. In the end I decided that it came down to having Powerful RHYMES.

Startup RHYMES

Now, before you jump to conclusions – I don’t mean writing raps, poetry and written words…though sometimes that can be therapeutic (see my entrepreneur poem).

Powerful RHYMES is an acronym that I created which illustrates the key aspects a start-up needs to be successful.

P – Powerful Product

R – Runway
H – Helpers
Y – Yearning for success
M – Market
E – Entrepreneur
S – Specialist(s)

The Powerful RHYMES concept.

Below I’ve taken time to elaborate on the concept of Powerful RHYMES.

P – Powerful Product

Creating a powerful product is very important. A powerful product is one that aligns with your core strategy and meets your customers needs at a price they would be willing to pay. Often times people create products after encountering a problem and not being able to find a solution that already exists.  Many times if you experience a problem chances are others like you have as well.  Product development becomes much easier if you, or others close to you are members of a niche you are looking to sell your product.  If you are seeking to sell to a specific niche of customers you must take the time to understand them.  Don’t simply build features into a product to build them. Ensure that the features that are built, especially in your MVP (minimum viable product), are “marketable”, value added and potentially revenue generating.

Powerful is also a concept that should carry through to all elements of your RHYMES, not just your product(s). If something is powerful it has great strength. Each of the aspects of your RHYMES need to be strong and powerful. If all parts of your RHYMES are powerful then each aspect will reinforce and benefit the others, which will only help your venture to reach even greater levels of success.

R – Runway

A runway is something that can give you the time and/or resources needed to pursue your entrepreneurial endeavor.  A runway could be any combination of the following:

  • Investment funding (Seed, Angel, VC)
  • Loan (Family friends, credit cards, business loan)
  • Flexible job (ideally something that is in a relevant field where you can make contacts to help you)
  • Real estate venture that covers your expenses (My girlfriend, now wife, and I leveraged this when purchasing our duplex)
  • Universities – I benefited greatly by leveraging UCF while I was a student. I wrote about this topic in my post Ten Great things about being a College Entrepreneur.
  • Equity partners – If you don’t have the funds necessary to get the resources you need one option to help you grow is finding a partner that can add value in areas you cannot.  My former business partner and I did this when with our previous venture GroupTable.  We scoured UCF campus and ended up finding a talented programmer and brought him in with equity.
  • Complementary business – This was actually the reason that inspired me to start Brand Advance back in 2009.  I was seeking investment funding for GroupTable and realized that I didn’t need funding.  I needed a designer, flutter developer melbourne and marketer.  I started small using contractors and as time went on hired more and more employees and brought the work in house. The talented team at Brand Advance now not only works on my ventures, but helps numerous other businesses and ventures to advance.

H – Helper(s)

Most businesses can benefit from supporting roles, or helpers.  These individuals can assist with the day to day work that may include support, communication, project management, etc.  They can also help, or assist the entrepreneur and the specialist(s) working on the venture as needed to help it grow.

Y – Yearning for Success

The start-up journey can be rough.  It is important to continue maintaining a strong yearning for success.  Success can be defined differently by each person.  My yearning for success comes from my experience in sports.  I compare my yearning for success as a desire to win in whatever I do.  I want my team to win.  I want my ventures to win.  I want to win.  This desire keeps you motivated during the tough times and pushes you to continue to work hard, dream and reach new heights.

M – Market

In entrepreneurship it is important to have a well-defined market that can benefit from your product(s). You have to position your brand and products to meet the needs of key prospects in that market and ensure that they have the money to buy. Are you pursuing a “Mega Market” or  “Mini Market”?  It is often much easier to capture a niche market, but is that niche market large enough to provide you with enough clientele and revenue to be sustainable?  Do you have a plan to attack adjacent markets after you knock the first one down (Bowling Pin Strategy)? Before pursuing your start-up it is important to think through these questions.  Evaluate the direct and indirect competitors in your market(s). Talk to your potential customers and see if you are actually solving a need that they truly have.  Understand if your market is growing or declining as well as what trends that could impact your market.

E – Entrepreneur

Every start-up begins with an entrepreneur, or entrepreneurs, and a vision.  An entrepreneur must be a leader.   An entrepreneur ultimately is in charge of developing Powerful RHYMES.  He is responsible for establishing the vision and building the team required that can take that vision to life.  An entrepreneur must keep everyone motivated and in order to do that must continually renew his passion in the venture himself. The entrepreneur cannot be rattled by set-backs or fear the unknown.  He must ensure that there are no trends, weather patterns, that are on the horizon that can capsize the venture.  Consequently he must adapt and plan to ensure the business is going in the right direction. The entrepreneur is also responsible for building run-ways – meaning acquiring the resources and time needed to help the venture take off.

S – Specialist(s)

Often times people don’t know what they don’t know. This is a big problem and wastes time and resources that could be better directed. If there is something in your vision or strategy that is fundamentally flawed you want to know as soon as possible.  This will allow you to adapt and get your venture on the right path. I often use the analogy “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”. I view specialists as giants in their craft. This craft can be a specific skill or deep industry expertise.  Specific skill-set specialists may excel at branding, product development, programming or management.  Industry expertise specialists excel at understanding the specific inner-workings of an industry. They understand the trends impacting the industry, challenges faced by the industry and the decision making process of customers. The most ideal industry specialists are those who are influencers, or thought leaders, within their industry. These individuals often have an extensive network of industry contacts and an abundance of knowledge that can be leveraged to help your venture take off. In some cases the entrepreneur may be an industry specialist. This is convenient and often gives great credibility to the venture. If you’re an entrepreneur and not an industry specialist you can eventually become one through acquiring knowledge, seeking wise council and gaining experience in your field. The issue is that if a market is ripe for the taking you need to act quickly to take advantage of this opportunity. Without having a specialist who knows the inner workings of the industry and has contacts you could waste a lot of time. Think about Lewis & Clark reaching the Northwest Passage without the help of Sacagawea. They could go in the right direction, but when they met unfavorable weather elements, hostile Indian tribes, unfamiliar land, or unknown animals would they be able to remain on the right path? Would they even know the right path to begin with?

Just like Lewis and Clark, it helps to have a specialist, or Veteran on your team who is experienced in the terrain you’re venturing into. An industry specialists can be an employee, partner, consultant, or advisory board member. Specialists can also create educational, or “thought leadership”, content that can add further credibility to your venture. Industry specialists can also make great affiliates. If they believe in what you’re doing they can share it with those in their network and receive commission when sales occur.

Final thoughts

I hope that you found the concept of Powerful RHYMES to be helpful to your start-up venture. Do you develop Powerful RHYMES?

What else do you feel is important for start-up success?

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