7-Step Guide to Start a Kickass, Profitable Business After The Military
Anybody… And we mean anybody… Can start a successful business.
It’s only getting easier to do it.
The question is:
How do you go from military life to starting a kick-ass, profitable business?
That’s exactly what you’ll learn how to do in this guide.
Why should I start a business? Don’t most businesses fail?
Stats out there share how 20% of businesses fail in their first year.
And by year 10, over 70% of businesses have failed.
You’ve probably thought about this. You don’t want to be a part of this statistic.
Here’s something that we’ve learned with military members that makes them PRIMED for business success (not failure):
Failure is simply not an option.
Military members are more…
…than civilian counterparts.
Again – during a mission in the military, failure is NOT an option.
But, why do businesses fail? And how can you avoid failure?
Our founder has been an entrepreneur for over 30 years.
And he’s spoken with thousands (literally) of business owners and entrepreneurs.
He’s learned that most of these businesses fail for one overarching reason:
- They give up.
- They don’t work hard enough.
- They aren’t resourceful when things get tight.
- They don’t see success within 6 months of starting their business so they don’t think it’ll work. And they quit.
Sure, a percentage of these businesses are simply doing business wrong…
Their product or service isn’t clearly defined.
Maybe they stock up on product and start manufacturing thousands of units before having a single sale.
But, for the most part, the business owners just don’t push hard enough.
Here’s a super important lesson to avoid business failure:
Understand that business success is NOT going to come immediately…
You’re not going to flip on the lights, or publish your website, or manufacture the t-shirt and SUDDENLY get tons of sales.
That’s not how 99.9% of businesses work.
It takes time (sometimes years).
So, if you don’t see massive success during the first month, or second month, or first 12 months, that doesn’t mean you should quit.
The ONE main ingredient to business success
Before we even start getting into the details of how to set up a successful business, there’s something you should know.
There’s really ONE main ingredient to business success (we alluded to it above).
Business success comes down to this…
A lot of business owners focus (half-heartedly) on the unimportant.
They fear doing the HARD things that they know they have to do.
If you can buckle down, do the hard & most impactful tasks first every single day, then you will succeed.
Not doing the hard tasks when it’s convenient.
Or after the game.
Or after a great night’s rest.
Starting a successful business is not easy. It takes hard work. Sometimes it’s not “convenient.”
I’m sure you’re ready to jump in now.
Scroll down to learn, step-by-step, how to start your successful business.
P.S. – If you’re SERIOUS about starting a business and you skip any of the steps below (if you haven’t already done them through other workshops), then we can already tell you that it’s not looking good.
If you can’t take action on the straightforward steps below, then it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter how great your idea is.
It doesn’t matter how bad you “want it.”
Action is what matters.
Step 1: Take ownership. Get your mind right.
You might be thinking:
“Isn’t step 1 to make a business plan? Or figure out what I’m going to sell?”
No, you’re jumping ahead of yourself.
If you truly want to create a successful business, then you need to get your mind right with these three things:
It’s like going into battle. Before a mission, exercise, or even PT in the morning, if you got your mind right and ready for action then you probably performed better.
It’s the same thing with starting a business.
1. You’re responsible for where you’re at:
We believe in ownership.
Ownership inspires action and limits “victimhood.”
99% of the time, YOU are responsible for where you’re at.
Don’t have a ton of money? Well, did you spend it frivolously?
Not ready to transition out of the military? Well, did you spend any time preparing?
Don’t have a great relationship with your kids? Well, did you spend time nurturing and building that relationship?
Exercise To Complete:
Right now, answer these questions. Be honest, either positively or negatively – give yourself credit where credit is due and be brutally honest with yourself when it’s necessary:
- How would you describe yourself in two to four sentences
- What are your top 3 good habits and your top 3 bad habits? What do you do over and over again?
- What are your top 5 strengths?
- What are your top 5 weaknesses?
- What negative things pop up in your head regularly?
- What do you worry about from the past and what do you worry about for the future?
2. You’re responsible for who you’re becoming:
Just as you’re responsible for where you’re currently at, you’re also responsible for where you’re becoming.
Because, it doesn’t matter who you are:
All that matters in life is where who becoming. Stop asking “who am I?” and start asking “who am I becoming?”
When you know who you want to become, you can become the person you need to get there.
Exercise To Complete:
Right now, answer these questions:
- How would you describe the new version of you that’s able to crush your goals easily and effortlessly?
- What strengths does the new you need to effortlessly reach your dreams?
- What weaknesses is the new you free of that the current you is dealing with?
- What positive thoughts does the new you replay in your head over and over?
- Describe in detail what the average day looks like for the new you.
3. You’re responsible for you what your business becomes:
Just like you’re responsible for yourself and who you become as a person, you’re also responsible for what your business becomes.
But, in order to be responsible for what your business becomes, you need to have clear goals laid out.
Without goals, there’s no target and no accountability.
Exercise To Complete:
- What does your DREAM business look like? What do you want to build? Make this as detailed as possible. Read it daily.
- Decide what you are going to do? What is your business? What product/service? Who are you helping and with what? (you may need to revisit this question at the end of this guide after working through some ideas)
Step 2: Understand how people buy things.
Here’s why people buy things…
They have their current self.
(maybe overweight, unstylish, lacking money, lacking a girlfriend… whatever the case may be).
Then they have their desired, future self.
(maybe fit and in shape, stylish, rich, in a relationship… whatever the case may be).
There’s a gap in the middle in how to get to their desired self.
If they knew a simple process to get to their desired self, they wouldn’t buy a service.
If they knew an easy-to-build product to get to their desired self, they would buy a product.
So what do people spend money on?
They spend money on products or services that easily get them from their current self (lacking something) to their desired self (solving their problem).
And they spend MORE money on products or services that have some sort of proven model.
This model works with both individual people and companies.
With companies, they have a current situation and they have their desired situation. Just like people do.
Step 3: Go against the crowd to create transformational change.
Here’s the fun part.
Figuring out what type of company to build.
We’ll say it now and we’ll say it again.
You need to create a business that solves a real-world problem. You are NOT creating a business because YOU think it’s a good idea and will sell.
You’re creating business because people have a current self and a desired self. And the best way to get to that desired self and create TRANSFORMATIONAL change is through your product or service.
How do you decide what sort of business to create?
Step 1: Okay, remember the exercise you did in Step 1 where you answered: “What are your top 5 strengths”?
Well, we’re going to find a way to combine what you’re good at with a real problem that people/companies are facing.
Step 2: Then, write down 5 things that you believe you’re an expert in. By expert, we mean anything that you’re better than 90-95% of the population at.
Okay, look at the 5 areas of expertise.
What are 3 problems that people in these industries are facing?
Go through each industry/area of expertise and find 3 burning questions that people have (you may need to research online).
For example, you may be an expert at writing.
Okay, what problems do people have that’s related to writing?
- Students struggling with writing essays
- Businesses don’t have time to write content for their website
- Authors need outside eyes to edit their work
- Rich people wanting “ghostwriters” for a personal memoir (yes, this exists and people pay a lot of money for ghostwriters).
- And lots more…
Step 4: Take action on creating your minimum viable product/offer.
No, I don’t mean wasting 2 months building a fancy website.
Or trying to design the PERFECT logo.
This is where people get bogged down (and ultimately quit).
Instead, create an MVP/MVO = Minimum Viable Offer/Product.
A major problem that people have when starting their businesses is that they get BOGGED down in minutia.
The first things they think about are:
- I need an amazing, fancy website
- I should probably get business cards
- Let me make sure I have the PERFECT idea planned out perfectly so everything’s perfect before I start (yes, we meant to put the word “perfect” in that sentence 3 times)
That’s the wrong way to think about things…
If you’re waiting to have everything perfectly planned before you start selling your product/service, then you’ll NEVER actually start.
Stop wasting time and create an MVO/MVP:
The best way to get your business launched as quickly as possible is to create an MVO/MVP.
Think through the BARE minimum you need to create in order to sell your product/service.
Do you really need to spend a week on a fancy logo? Or do you just need to create a service offering that people/companies would spend money on?
Figure out your MVO/MVP right now.
Step 5: Price your product/service (but don’t do it how MOST people do it).
Try to AVOID getting out a calculator for this section.
Most people price their product and services based on costs.
That’s 100% wrong.
Here’s what people do….
“Okay, well the costs of the raw materials for my product per unit are $17.50. Then the actually manufacturing process costs $3.27/unit. So, the raw materials + manufacturing = $20.77.
So, if each unit costs $20.77 and I want at least a 40% profit margin, then I need to price my product at around $29.80…
Oh shoot, I didn’t think about shipping…”
But, what they didn’t realize is that maybe people would only be willing to pay $15 for their product…
And, right off the bat, the raw materials are already $17.50.
Or, maybe, people would be willing to pay $299 for their product.
So, after “crunching the numbers,” they decide on $39.99 and end up missing out on hundreds of dollars per unit.
Price your product or service on what people are WILLING to pay to solve their problem.
Ask yourself a couple questions:
What is it costing them to stay where they’re at?
An example answer might be…
“Potentially tens of thousands, stress, doubt, feel of failure, lots of time and wasted energy, depending on how much they’re missing out on.”
What is the value of this?
An example answer might be…
“Clarity and a feeling of success. Hands off. Potentially tens of thousands in leads and sales, too, depending on much their lifetime value is.”
From there, give your product/service a price based on the value that people get and the cost they incur if they stay where they’re at.”
Step 6: Refine your messaging so that BUYERS LISTEN
Okay, so here’s where you should be at in the process.
You have a group of people (target audience/niche) and you know:
- Where they’re currently at.
- Where they want to get to.
- How your product/service can help them bridge the gap.
Here’s where a lot of new business owners go wrong, though.
They believe that because they know that their target audience has this problem that they can solve with their product/service, they’ll magically start making tons of money selling it.
But, that’s not how it works:
You need a clear message.
Just because someone needs your product/service or could benefit from it does NOT mean they’ll buy.
And that message needs to be shared with a large enough group of people in your target audience.
With a large enough group of people seeing your message, you’ll be able to convert a percentage of them into buyers.
But, how do you create a compelling message?
- A good message uses the RIGHT CHANNEL to get the attention of your target audience. If your audience spends all day on Pinterest, then you should probably spend a lot of time connecting with them on Pinterest. If they don’t spend time on Pinterest, then why are you wasting your time there?
- The market’s needs, desires, and solutions to their problems are the most important things. Honestly, nobody cares about you.
There’s a simple message equation that you need to start with:
I/We + [action verb] + target audience + “through” solution.
Here’s some examples:
I help small business owners get more leads through strategic content marketing.
We push athletes to their best selves through patented exercise equipment.
We serve local communities through an inexpensive food bank recycling program.
Try it now:
Start here: If you’re ever creating an advertising campaign or copy on your website, always ask if it aligns with this messaging equation. And MAKE SURE it always puts your target audience at the center of the equation.
Step 7: Go out there and sell relentlessly.
If you think that automatically people are going to come flocking to buy your product or service, then you’re DELUSIONAL.
You need to sell.
And, as a new business owner, this is the best way to sell:
Start by selling organically.
You might be thinking “That’s not helpful… Don’t I need an advertising campaign and marketing dollars and a chatbot and a Shopify store and a CEO and a miniature horse?…
No, you don’t need those things. You need to test the market.
We call it the “Ugly Baby Syndrome.”
Business owners see their business as their baby.
Most parents will never say their baby is ugly (even if it is). It’s THEIR baby. They’ll love that baby and probably not think it’s ugly.
And people interacting with that family won’t say “hey, your baby is ugly.” They’ll say “Oh my gosh what a cute baby!”
It’s the same with your business.
You’ll think your business is amazing. And when you ask your friends and family, they may be supportive and tell you it’s awesome.
But, when you actually ask somebody to pull out their wallet and buy your product/service?
They might not be so friendly and say “Yeah, you’re a great guy so I’ll buy your product!”
That’s not how the business world works.
Instead, here’s what you need to do:
Go out there and find 50… or 100… or 200… or 500 people in your target audience. Find them on LinkedIn, Facebook, door-to-door, or cold calling…
And ask them to buy your product or service using the compelling messaging you put together above.
Be very clear on how their world will be better after they buy.
And, after speaking with 100 or 200 people (yes, it requires a lot of work…) and you still don’t have any sales, then it might not be the best idea.
But, if you can get people to say “Hell yeah, I’d pay for that. And WILL pay for that right now,” then you’re onto something.