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Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #100
The centennial issue!
Wow… I can’t believe it… this is Issue #100 of Entrepreneur Office Hours. Honestly, when I first launched this newsletter, I had my doubts about making it to Issue #10, never mind Issue #100. But here we are — the centennial issue — and it’s thanks to all of you. I’m constantly surprised by the number of incredible and thoughtful questions that show up in my inbox, and I just hope my answers aren’t totally worthless.
Unfortunately, this milestone snuck up on me, so I don’t have anything particularly new, exciting, or different. But, as usual, I’ve got a couple articles for you I hope you’ll get value from, and I try to tackle an interesting reader question.
As always, if you’ve got any questions about startups, entrepreneurship, business, fundraising, marketing, sales, or any other similar types of things, reply to this email or find me somewhere on social media, and let me know. I’ll do my best to answer every question you ask.
Thanks, again, for all the support, and I’m looking forward to reaching Issue #1,000 with you (and beyond).
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Office Hours Q&A
I noticed you’re coming up on your 100th issue of office hours. Congrats on the big milestone! I really appreciate all the work you do in putting these newsletters together every week.
I have been trying to come up with a question worth featuring in your 100th issue, but, honestly, I have not had much luck. Still, I wanted to give it a try.
I was wondering what is your single most important piece of advice about entrepreneurship?
Thank you, again, for sharing all of this very valuable information.
I’ve been struggling with this question longer than I care to admit. As usual, I tend to hate anything that backs me into a corner using superlatives or definitive statements (i.e. “most important”).
I’m not sure there’s a “most important” that’s true for everyone. Heck, I’m not sure there’s a “most important” that’s true for me.
However, in the spirit of your question, I’ll share the one piece of advice I wish I’d better appreciated when I was first starting to build companies. By that I mean it’s something people told me, but I didn’t fully understand why it was valuable.
The gist of that advice is this:
How you get your customers is much more important than what you give them.
By that I mean, when I was a young entrepreneur, I was convinced my job was to create and deliver an amazing product. No matter how many advisors/mentors/gurus asked me about customer acquisition, I was sure building a great product would solve all my customer acquisition needs. It was the “if you build it, they will come” strategy to startups so many entrepreneurs follow. And it’s a losing strategy.
As an entrepreneur, your job isn’t to build an amazing product. Inventors build things. Entrepreneurs bring inventions to market. That means your job is actually to identify a market opportunity and figure out how to access it. Those efforts require being focused on customer acquisition.
I guess, in a way, that’s the most important piece of advice I’d give a new entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you should be almost entirely focused on things related to marketing, sales, and customer support. Those are the backbone of your business model and the startup you’re building. The product – as far as you should be concerned – is secondary. By that I don’t mean you shouldn’t care about your product. Instead, I just mean you need to understand that, in terms of your work, your product exists to serve your business model, and not the other way around. That’s something I wish I’d understood and appreciated much earlier in my startup journey.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!