“Ninjas don’t start as ninjas.” ~ Brad Martineau, 6th Division

Budding entrepreneurs, stop comparing yourself to others who’ve been at it longer.

I know the temptation is great, because I’ve been guilty of it in the past, too.

We get advice like “find a business model that works and copy it,” and then waste our time trying to build all the bells and whistles that someone else has, when it’s the fundamentals that matter most.

First, keep it simple.  Consumers love “simple.”  A confused mind cannot buy.  “Simple” makes a lot of money.

If you’re launching a new business or new product, the most important step is to find out if the market wants it.  “What’s their preferred method of payment?” is a secondary consideration to “Do they need this solution?”

Most importantly, ask, “Can they grasp the concept quickly enough to desire my product right now?”

So what if you don’t have an on-line shopping cart or DIY appointment calendar, yet?  There are other ways to collect payment and set appointments that are effective now, while you’re working on the finishing touches.

If you find the marketplace really wants your solution, they’ll buy your product using any means available.  Get cash flowing first; then think about alternate means of conducting transactions.

Next, you must accept the notion that you will live with discomfort in the short term. You will not achieve perfection via theoretical thought before you launch.  That means you must launch (probably with an imperfect beta version), get marketplace feedback, and learn from your mistakes.

Failure is an option here!

Failure isn’t the end; it’s the beginning of understanding. Collect and analyze customer opinions about your business.  Focus on the basics first, and build outward when you’ve mastered the fundamentals.

Ninjas endure years of pain and lose countless training fights on their way to becoming ninjas.  It’s the hours in the dojo that you don’t see that make ninjas so good.  Your rise to ninja level in the business world will follow the same arc.

Finally, realize the elegant solutions tie up resources and dilute your energy.  It’s not necessary to be all things to all people.  Get laser focused on one direction.  Solve one problem better than anyone else in your arena.  Work on what truly creates your value in the consumer’s mind before you divide your time and money among secondary issues.

In fact, you could really do damage to your cash flow by subscribing to too many add-ons before completing the foundation for your business.  Keep your systems simple at first.

I know you want to be a ninja.  Who doesn’t want to wow everyone with an innovative way of doing business?  But striving for ninja-like “shock and awe” while you’re still a white belt isn’t going to produce the desired effect.

Let me repeat:  Stop comparing yourself to others!

Nothing thwarts a potentially great idea faster than stinkin’ thinkin’ that says, “There’s no use. Somebody else is already doing it better than I could. I’m so far behind that I’ll never catch up.”

Don’t let fear of failure stop you from launching.  Don’t let the notion that “it’s not good enough” delay your launch.  Don’t let the first time you stumble make you abandon your dream prematurely.

You will make mistakes along the way to becoming a ninja.  You will likely experience failure.

Fail forward!

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