3 Unconventional Tips on Building a Startup

Startups are trying to buck the fail trend by increasingly turning to the business underground for their competitive advantage, learning how to "break the rules" and position themselves for success.

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By Justin Jones • Aug 26, 2014

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The Internet offers billions of pages of entrepreneurial enlightenment – the glamourous fundraising rounds, the billion-dollar acquisitions, the profiles of founders that have it all. Yet most businesses fail.

Startups are trying to buck the fail trend by increasingly turning to the business underground for their competitive advantage, learning how to "break the rules" and position themselves for success.

Related: 4 Great Tips for Winning the Early-Stage Venture Game

Here are a few uncommon truths you might want to consider when building your business.

People can be influenced with a good hypnotic story. People don't like to be told or sold, so wrap your message in an engaging story to influence your audience.

Stories absorb our attention and bring us out of our own world into an altered state of mind as the brain decodes for meaning. Stories can also influence your audience by allowing them to draw their own conclusions -- making your message more believable, acceptable and memorable.
(Hypnotists have done this for years -- rely on this altered state of mind to circumvent the conscious mind's "spam filter" and plant suggestive thoughts into the subconscious mind.)

Perception creates reality. Have you ever heard the saying, fake it until make it? When you're starting a business this tactic can often mean the difference between success and failure. Creating a great product or service is essential and how your audience perceives this product is equally important.

One way of quickly influencing perception is by presenting yourself as bigger, better and more brilliant than you currently are. (I realize this can be challenging for some people.)

Related: 6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My Small Business

It is difficult to be noticed or taken seriously when you're quietly working in your secret basement. Think like an illusionist, get out of the basement and create an extraordinary show.

Many famous entrepreneurs started out with this tactic including real-estate tycoon Barbara Corcoran.

In her early career Corcoran struggled as a real estate agent. One day she heard that Madonna was looking to buy a New York apartment and she seized the opportunity to become an illusionist. She conjured up a Madonna report which outlined all the items Madonna would most likely be looking for in her next property. The report gave Corcoran a lot of television exposure as people had a genuine interest in Madonna and her lifestyle choices.

While she didn't have any celebrity clients at the time, the television exposure helped position Corcoran as the real-estate broker for the rich and famous. In turn, this attracted clients like Richard Gere who perceived Corcoran as "power broker" to the stars.

Most startups require no investment capital. In fact, having too much money in the early stages of your business can be a hindrance to your ultimate success. Establishing constraints such as time or money will help keep you focused on the essence of your idea -- where the value is created.

The objective of your early-stage business should be to validate your idea. Is your idea really as good as you envisioned and are people willing to pay for it? By applying lean startup methodology (read Eric Ries or Steve Blank) you can quickly and effectively translate your idea into a working business model.

Once you can demonstrate that your business is viable (and scalable) the investment money will often find you. There is no shortage of investment capital, only entrepreneurs who have the courage and persistence to pursue their dreams and take their ideas from concept to working business model.

Related: The Biggest Mistake Is Ignoring the Law of Supply and Demand

Justin Jones

Entrepreneur, Startup Coach and Angel Investor

Justin Jones believes that One Idea can transform a business. He specializes in identifying, developing and commercializing that "One Idea" helping build the next growth engine to inspire the imagination and the bottom line.

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