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Distractions are the enemy of greatness

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Distractions are the enemy of greatness

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Distractions are the enemy of greatness. We live in a world FULL of distractions: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and games on our smartphones are just a few that come to mind.

Distractions do the following…

  1. Keep you from meeting your goals, or at the very least hold you back
  2. Hamper your ability to serve your customers well
  3. Get you out of a productive workflow (productivity killer)
  4. Prevent you from doing bigger and better things
  5. Stifle your creativity
  6. Limit your ability to think and come up with fresh ideas
  7. Keep you from solving problems and working through challenges
  8. Hold you back from breaking down walls and doing amazing things

Those are just a few of the negative outcomes of allowing distractions to creep into your workday.

Focus is key to bringing about success and great things, so it only makes sense that distractions are the enemy of greatness. So, turn off that smartphone, log off Facebook, and get to work accomplishing amazing tings.

References: Entrepreneur on Fire Episode 733 with Jon Gordon

Overcome your fears and stop believing lies

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The biggest thing you can do to overcome your fear of starting a business is to stop believing the lies. The lie that a new venture is less secure than your current 9-5 desk job, the lie that the new venture will never succeed, the lie that you don’t have what it takes.

Step out in faith, take a risk (not a risk taker by nature?, neither was I), but make a plan! Read books like Start and Quitter by John Acuff to inspire you to action. They key is to start NOW. Don’t wait for the right time, it will never come.

Make a plan, and work your plan….death by 1,000 cuts is the name of the game. Overnight success never happens, and startups don’t happen overnight either. Even though startups seem like a dime a dozen, they were all born out of an idea that was incubated over time.

So, stop believing that starting a business is out of reach, or too risky. With a little bit of planning and a leap of faith, your dreams can become reality.

Innovation solves problems and grows businesses

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One of the most innovative products I have seen lately is Bibliotheca by Adam Lewis Greene. You may have seen his highly successful Kickstarter project come up in your Facebook news feed, or mentioned on sites like Huffington Post and Fast Company Design.

Greene saw a problem: the Bible can often be seen as boring and difficult to read. He thought, what if it could be like any other piece of literature, well designed, and easy to read. So, Greene broke down the Bible into four volumes, eliminated superfluous notes, cross reference, verse numbers and chapter numbers to create an elegant looking, easy to read book.

His funding goal on Kickstarter was quickly met, and reached over one million by the time the project was over. Greene sought to do something no Bible publisher has ever dreamed of, or at least had the audacity to do. He ignored what has historically been practiced by Bible publishers.

Greene, sought to meet and fill his own needs for a more pleasurable Bible reading experience, and in doing so was able to meet the needs of nearly 15,000 project backers. I would be willing to bet that never once did Greene think, this will never work.  He decided to take a risk and innovate in a way that has never been done before, and he clearly created a winner.

Entrepreneurs should learn a valuable lesson from the Bibliotheca project. Innovation should be the result of your own needs and passions being fleshed out. Market validation, price point, and creating a high ROI should be secondary. Products and projects will succeed, regardless of their price as long as they are a direct result of innovation, a real problem being solved.

Most investors are looking for a quick exit. They want fast and furious market growth, but often times quality and truly innovative products are sacrificed because of the perceived need for mass appeal and competitive price points. I would venture to say that truly innovative products are competitive enough on their own that price is not a barrier to growth. Innovative products meet real needs, so price is rarely an issue of concern.

I believe that in order for entrepreneurs to create truly innovative products, they need to stop thinking about everything that stifles true innovation and simply focus on filling a need, and more than likely that need will be your own, which is also likely to be the need of somebody else.

My three favorite Austin based companies

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Kammok LogoIf you are looking to start a business, Austin is a great place to launch from. The city is full of entrepreneurs. Even though a lot of those new businesses are tech related, there are also several amazing consumer packaged good companies started out of Austin, including my own company, Bearded Brothers.

Tech companies are a dime a dozen, but entrepreneurs producing tangible products are far fewer, so if you plan on starting a business for the world’s next greatest widget then Austin, Texas is a great place to launch from. They city is full of like minded entrepreneurs, which makes for a great pool of friends to draw from for support and encouragement.

Since starting Bearded Brothers I have meet the owners of several other companies. All of them have interesting and inspiring stories. Below is a list of my three favorite Austin based companies in the consumer packaged goods market.

Kammok makes the most comfortable and easy to use hammock you will ever lay in. Prior to meeting these guys and trying out their product I could care less about hammocks, but now I love my Kammok.

Kammok is a 1% For The Planet member, and they donate their 1% of total sales to CTC International, as well as helping children receive life saving treatments through Malaria No More. Their mission is to Equip and Inspire for Life Changing Adventure.

The world’s first, and best Small Personal Item Belt. Developed by Austin local Kim Overton to solve the problem of not having a good place to store keys while running. After her, “there has to be a better way” epiphany, she created the first SPIbelt: a small no bounce waist belt to hold small personal items such as keys and cell phones.

Her company has strong local roots. In the early days of her company she provided jobs to people in the local community that allowed them to work from home producing the belts. Kim has since moved her production process to a warehouse close to downtown, but still provides jobs for people in the local community.

Chameleon Cold-Brew
This is hands down the best cold brew coffee on the super market shelves. Started by the owners of Bennu Coffee as a side project, this small company is taking off like wild fire, and now has its product on the shelves of Target in the Southwest Region. While Chameleon is still fairly small, they are available across the nation in select stores.

I have had the pleasure to meet both of the owners, and both are very generous and always willing to talk business and offer advice. Chameleon and Bearded Brothers actually recently attended Expo West in Anaheim California and were just two both spaces down from each other!

There are many other amazing companies in Austin, making it an excellent place to start a business. The community here is very supportive of local products, making it easier to get your business off the ground by getting support from the people you live closest to.

Although you will find the cost of living in Austin quite a bit higher than a lot of places, the trade off is worth it for the community of like-minded entrepreneurs you will have access to. If you are thinking of starting a consumer packaged goods business, Austin is the place!

Why you must make your big projects a priority

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Prioritizing your work is one of the most important things you will do at the start of each day. Those big projects you have will never get done unless they are first on your list to do.

I love the illustration David Allen provides in Getting things Done. A professor fills a jar full of rocks and asks his class if the jar is full, they reply yes of course. He then takes tiny rocks and fills in the gaps between the larger rocks. He asks the question again, is the jar full? His class then replies, of course, now it is full. Next, the professor pours in fine sand and fills in all the gaps between the smaller rocks. He repeats the question again, and this time the class is unsure. Next, the professor pours water into the jar that takes up the extra space be tween the rocks and grains of sand.

The point to the story is not, that there is always room for more, it’s that if you don’t get the big rocks in FIRST, you will never get the rest in! The jar is your schedule, the larger rocks are your major projects, the smaller rocks are the daily tasks necessary to run your business, the sand is the little things that always seem to pop up, and the water is every thing else you didn’t expect. If you don’t make room for the rocks first, then you will never even get them in the jar (on the schedule). Had the water gone into the jar first, not even the sand would have made it in.

The larger rocks are your big important projects – they are the things that will have the biggest impact on your company when it comes to growing your business. If you don’t take time each day to make those a priority, they will never get done.

I make it a point to work on my rocks every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Your day will always be filed with unexpected things that fill your jar, so make sure you have the rocks in first, otherwise they will never get the attention the deserve and need.