A Look Inside The Launch of Daymond John’s, The Power Of Broke

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Over this past year, we have had the great fortune of being involved in the book launch for Daymond John’s, The Power Of Broke, which is now a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller.

In this video, Gary and I give you an inside look into what it took to not only achieve this very lofty goal of hitting The New York Times Best-Seller List, as the category we were competing in was fierce, but far surpass our expectations.

We discuss how the launch was executed, and the absolute necessity of having a team behind you who works together as one strategic unit.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

The Only Reason To Start A Business

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The life of an entrepreneur is extremely challenging. You sacrifice time with your friends & your family, you are on call 24 hours a day and the risk is extremely high. You put all your time, money and effort, all your blood sweat and tears… for what?

A few weeks ago, I did an article in Forbes with David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott called The Journey To Selling A Billion KIND Bars 

The article is about Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Founder of Kind Snacks who has written an incredible book called Do The Kind Thing,  which every aspiring entrepreneur should read. Not because it is one of the most incredible entrepreneurial stories you will ever come across (which it is), but to understand the power of starting a business with a purpose.

The biggest mistake people make in my opinion is trying to start a business for the sole purpose of making money. Money is not a purpose and starting a business without a higher purpose can lead you down a very dark path. Many people (myself included) have made this tragic mistake.

In order to make it all worthwhile there is one ingredient you need that will carry you over valleys and allow you to face the daily challenges with a never give up and never give in mentality.

I encourage you to read Daniel’s book, Do The Kind Thing and find the ingredient you need to start your business and make it last.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

 

6 Compelling Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Start In Garages

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Steve-in-the-GarageSteve Jobs started his company from a family garage in California. Jeff Bezos from Amazon did the same thing in Washington. So did Larry page from Google. As did the founders of Mattel toys, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Dell Computer. Not a bad roster, huh?

There’s a brilliance in what garages have to offer. Recently, I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, David and Goliath that talks about how people use disadvantages and turn them into strengths. It is also interesting to note that it works the other way around as many people use their strengths to expose potential weakness. It is a fascinating book.

In this post, I want to look at a number of examples of how we can find hidden assets and extract great strength from something as seemingly blah as a family garage.

Here are 6 reasons to make sure you don’t overlook the value of your family garage and to show the hidden assets within this seemingly impractical workspace:

1) No overhead

When you start a business, the last thing you want to do is spend any money that you do not have. That being said, while entrepreneurs are making and mixing, revising and improving their product, service and/or idea, they do so without increasing their bills… or their parents. Your welcome mom.

2) Need a place to be crazy and do what you want

The greatest companies have started with the craziest ideas. The founder of the Post-it note actually started with the idea of trying to create something that would stick to anything. His complete failure at that led to the greatest success of post-its.

In my first business,  I had a friend who didn’t know what to do with excess fabric left over from his factory that was cluttering his garage. It wasn’t enough to make a garment but before he went to throw it out he had the crazy idea of trying to make headbands and wristbands out of the waste… and made millions. Crazy like a fox.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

3) Need a place to work late night or early morning

I have found that creative people work very strange hours. For instance, in fashion, the designers always work at night for some reason. Entrepreneurs work even crazier hours as the demands upon us far outweighs our allocated time (supply). What we often do is work until we cannot work anymore or when our brains are about to explode. A beat-up couch is often one of the biggest necessities in an aspiring entrepreneur’s garage.

4) Get away from the naysayers

Entrepreneurs are most often not understood. So much so, it is as if we are not only speaking a foreign language but hail from a different planet. We need a place to be crazy and foreign… and to be martians.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

5)  Miniature companies

Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank started his company in his garage. Not to test the product but for actual production when he first started. He packed his mom’s garage with sewing machines and seamstresses and made polar fleece garments and discarded the rest by burning it outside despite the fact that his neighbors in Queens were not too happy about it.  Hopefully they are now Shark Tank fans. I wrote a post on Daymond and his creative hustle here .

6)  Quick Turnaround

One of a company’s greatest assets when starting out is the fact that there is no middle man (or woman). The entrepreneur is in the forefront of everything and is nearly always there to take care of pretty much everything at all times. That leads to some very quick turnaround and lightning fast customer service. After all, they are stuck in their garage so they have no choice but to be responsive!

What garage stories do you have?

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to explore a more in depth look at starting a business and raising money, Gary and I have shot 4 FREE product training videos that we have created that provides a much deeper and comprehensive look into starting a business. To visit that section, click here now.

 Have a great day!

 MJ

 

How To Go Out Of Business Before You Even Start

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Athlete_at_starting_blockI believe that good thinking is one of the greatest assets an entrepreneur can have. Too much thinking, on the other hand, can be an entrepreneur’s worst enemy and put you out of business before you even get off the ground.

I am guessing you have heard the phrase the paralysis of analysis a million times. Paralysis of analysis, in short, is when good thinking goes bad. (To view the video I shot on this, click here .)

Many people think the paralysis of analysis phrase has been exhausted and overused to a fault. I however, believe it is not used enough. For one reason or another, people are either not listening or not paying the phrase any mind and find themselves walking into the same rabbit holes they are being warned to stay away from every day.

I know this because I happen one of them …

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

My Paralysis Of Analysis

One of the biggest problems startup entrepreneurs have is getting stuck in the thinking phase and never moving into the action phase. For the past eighteen months or so, I have been caught up in by far the longest, and most drawn out startup I have ever been a part of. It has been so well thought and looked over so closely and carefully that it is as if we were trying to cure a disease. One thing about diseases, however, is that they only get solved through a lot of testing in the lab. The researchers and scientists can only play around with formulas so long until they need to test it and see if it works. Then what? Well, they go back and make modifications, re-formulate, re-test, etc etc… until they find the cure.

Startups need to do the same thing, I know that… but then again knowing means nothing if it is not implemented in the form of taking action. I talk more about taking action and doing what you know here .

So what did we do? … well we kept thinking and looking things through until we had OVERTHUNK it.

The Line Between Diligence and Ignorance

There is a fine but definite line between due diligence and ignorance and we (myself and my partners) definitely reached that ignorance point. The ignorance point happens when things go from productive to unproductive, from forward to backward, and from positive to negative. It is the point of diminishing returns. In this case, too much information started interfering with the core purpose of what we had created and it was definitely getting the best of both me as well my partners until recently (or so I hope). Quite simply, we were trying to be perfect. This is something I talked about in The Obsession To Be Perfect .

Rubber To The Road

So many startups get stuck at the conceptualization phase and never get the rubber on the road. Luckily, I stepped away for a few days and was able to get an objective view of the situation. I looked back on my past experience in business and realized that there was a point in every one of my businesses where I said, “F*ck it, we have prepared enough, the rest we will have to figure out after we take it to market.”… And that is what we did and, each time I managed to get the rubber on the road (not without a lot of unexpected obstacles along the way I might add).

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

Get In The Lab

So we are now back on course, headed to the lab with the test tubes in our hands and ready to mix, modify, change and improve . It took a while, but better late than never right?

If you are a startup I suggest you do the same thing. Work hard, prepare, do your due diligence… but stay away from the point of ignorance and the paralysis of analysis at all costs. Put a plan of action together and act on it without fear or hesitation.

 

Have a great day!

 MJ

A Startup Entrepreneur’s Tale: When Good Thinking Goes Bad

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Being a great thinker in my opinion is a tremendous advantage for every startup entrepreneur. OVERTHINKING, on the other hand, is one of the greatest liabilities for startups, especially when they are trying to bring their product or service to market. In this video, I talk about a recent mistake I made with a new startup that Gary and I have been working on, what we did wrong, and what we did to correct our course and get back on schedule.

The Startup Entrepreneur Guide To Starting A Business

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If you are a startup entrepreneur and were not aware (or are new to Hustle Branding), I wanted to let you know that Gary & I created 4 free video training modules to offer help for entrepreneurs that I think may be of significant help to get you started with your business.

The videos are  over an hour in total and we spent quite a bit of time preparing them so I figured I should bring this to your attention in case you haven’t seen them.

Again, this video series was created specifically with the startup entrepreneur in mind who may not be aware of what to do or  where to start. I think they are also very useful for existing business owners that may be running into some stumbling blocks or looking to raise more money.

When you go to the page, entitled, The Startup Entrepreneur’s Toolbox, you will see the intro video which I have put below. After watching the video , if you want to watch the 4 Free videos, simply enter your first name and email in the sign up box on the page and we will email you the link and you can start watching immediately. We feel these are 4 crucial steps every startup entrepreneur should find very useful.

The  four sections include:

1)  DIFFERENTIATION:  Research And Set Your Idea Apart From The Competition!

2)  BRANDING:  Build And Communicate A One-Of-A-Kind Story For Your Idea!

3)  BUSINESS PLANNING:  Develop A Roadmap For Your Idea To Reach Its Destination

4)  TIPS FOR RAISING CAPITAL:  The Pursuit Of The Deal

To enter the startup entrepreneur’s toolbox page to get your 4 free videos click here. Please feel free to take advantage of this opportunity and we hope you enjoy the video!

 

 

Have a great day and HUSTLE HARD!

 

MJ

 

How to Create a Brand Personality That Customers Will Love

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In the past, branding meant being consistent in what your company stood for and communicating that message in a unique way. We have seen many examples of this from the usual suspects, brand leaders Nike, Apple as well as a host of one-time hits that seem to grab loads of attention and take the world by storm, if only for a moment.

The truth is, it is not just about getting attention, as branding is much more than creating noise for the sake of being noticed. The facts are, it is what happens after you get noticed that counts. I believe the key to branding is to figure out how to introduce a product to the customer and create an emotional attachment.

If this reminds you of personal relationships, then you would be correct!

Creating a relationship in business requires many of the same characteristics of courting your partner… In fact, I would go as far as to say that not only do I think it’s a worthy comparison, I believe they’re nearly identical!

What Makes Humans Tick?

Welcome to your new company called “Human, Inc.” Why such a name? Because you are now in the human discovery business, and your focus is to understand what makes humans tick. In order to do that, you have to switch from being a broadcaster to a communicator. It’s not about what you say but rather about how you say it in a way that relates to the customer.

Just like our personal relationships thrive on understanding what’s at the core of our significant other, business relationships thrive on understanding what’s at the core of our customers.

The Seat of Emotion

 Your expedition should start and focus on the ‘Wants’ not the ‘Needs’ because frankly speaking, people talk about what they want – which usually has an emotional edge. As you make your way through all the different complexities of the human psyche, what appears is a molten pit of emotions at the core.

You may be thinking, ‘It is hard enough to deal with emotions on a personal level, do I really have to deal with emotions in business too?’ The answer is a resounding ‘YES’!!

Understand the spirit of your company in relation to the customer – that’s the final destination.

Reverse Engineering Emotions

I assume you’ve heard of reverse engineering a product, but emotions? Absolutely, although it is no easy task, but then again I didn’t say it was going to be easy!

Once you understand what’s going on at the core of your customer, you now have to understand how your company fits into their lives – not your product, but YOU the brand!

To get people engaged and in a take-action state, you have to stir the pot of emotion. And how you sprinkle your company in that pot, will determine if a relationship will manifest itself.

An Immersive Relationship With The Customer

 The best way to learn a new language is to live in the place that speaks the language. Understanding your customer is no different. Your relationship has to be an immersive one – deep customer understanding.

When Abercrombie & Fitch got started, the founders lived on a college campus for an entire semester. Their objective was to have an intimate knowledge of what the college kids preferences were. This ranged from what they preferred to wear to class, off-campus, studying and parties.

They took over 10,000 pictures of students in their everyday life. They had them pinned all over the walls in their house.

When it came down to actually creating the A&F brand, they were armed with an authentic picture of what it would look like and visuals that went along with it. That level of customer understanding created a multi-billion dollar brand!

Pull Then Push

Start with pulling then pushing. The objective is to pull (discover) as much out about what the customer’s challenges are, their feelings, emotions and opinions.

These are the little things people go through everyday.

So now comes the push – your message of shared values that align with the customer’s values.

If done authentically, your products will effortlessly become part of your customer’s lives.

Lastly, these are some of the touch-points you should hear and observe from the perspective of the customer;

 “Keep Me on Top of My Life”

“Give Me Something That Changes My Life”

“ Teach Me Something”

“Help Me Make The Most of My Self”

“Get Me To Act”

“Help Me Become What I Can Be”

Feelings are hard, but as you know with most relationships, personal or business, it’s not about LIKE, it’s about LOVE.! You hear it everyday – I love that restaurant, I love my phone, I love that show – so to get customers saying that about your brand, communicate a human message and wrap your product around that message!

 

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry

Gary 

 

 

5 Reasons Why Your Business Has 365 days To Live

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At some point, like human beings, businesses have a shelf life. Just as we try to prolong our personal lives by staying healthy and doing the things that nourish our bodies for the long term, in business we have to start by understanding what is going to promote good business health as opposed to bad business health.

Businesses have the same challenges as humans in that the decisions we make determine what state our business will be in – short term and long.

I remember the first business I had, which I started in my senior year of college, and how its finality happened much quicker than all the blood, sweat and years (and some tears) I put into it. Much of it’s downturn was result of my lack of experience in business and my excitement. You may be thinking, ‘Isn’t excitement a good thing?’ Yes, and no! Yes, because excitement was my turbo engine that drove me to make the business successful. No, because in a state of excitement I made bad decisions, and when I mixed that with a lack of business experience, the business began its slow death.

Some people believe that developing your startup is a ‘ Marathon, not a sprint,’ but I disagree whole-hardily with that line of thinking!

And I have good reason to, here’s why;  Info by Statistic Brain (Source: University of Tennessee Research)

365 days is not long time to establish a business and neither is 730 (2yrs) or 1095 (3yrs). So, if our business health depends on our decisions, what do we need to feed our business to stay strong in the initial years? Here’s 5 things to think about;

1) You’re Not Fast Enough- Stationary Kills

Being quicker to the punch has it’s advantages. Apple’s competitive advantage is their ability to be first to market and great in their execution. This enables them to to take advantage of the market at a premium before anyone else. As companies try to copy them, they are refining and improving. They stay ahead initially until the innovation slows down and competitors catch up. You should always understand your business’s potential, always keeping in mind that no matter how good you may be doing,  you need to keep improving. Get Faster!

2) The Business Is Getting The Best Of You (Graph by: Anna Vital)

You have to understand that your business goes through peaks and valleys. Push forward and keep learning. Clear out all the mistakes, so you start making the right decisions.

3) It’s About Progress, Not Perfection

The little wins add up. Don’t focus on making home runs at every at bat. Keep getting on base and you will eventually score.

4) Discover Creative Ways To Use Your Resources

Identify your resources and find creative ways to utilize them. Look at them from various angles – strategic partnerships, manufacturing, financing etc…

 5) Persist In The Face Of Failure (Graph by: Anna Vitali)

Michael Jordan said it best, ” The only reason I succeed, is because I failed.” Stay calm in the eye of the storm – they eventually pass.

Do your best to keep these 5 things in mind as you go about your business and hopefully your business will have many 365 day turns ahead of you!

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry

Gary