Puzzle Business (And How NOT to Build Your $100 Startup)

Here’s what most prospective (micro) business founders tend to think: Damnit, if I want to start a business in this world, in this environment, in this economy, I’ll need a damn fine plan in order to get somewhere!

And so they sit down and think. They brainstorm. They investigate. They take courses. They write down concepts. They read about other people’s approaches. And yet – they don’t know where to start.

Because they are looking for the perfect plan.

A perfect plan would mean getting clear on their values, their product, their offer, their clients, their business name, their budget, their new logo, their website design, … – all the way down to their accountant and the name of their accountant’s sister-in-law.

Unfortunately, making a perfect plan tends to get pretty overwhelming.

Why not build a business like you would solve a puzzle?

Puzzle Break

How do you solve a puzzle?

  • Do you look at the thousand pieces in front of you, trying to figure out a genius way to put them together in one single, giant move?
  • Do you grab any random piece and try all the other random pieces – until one of them coincidentally seems to fit?
  • Or do you take an approach that’s somewhere in beetween: You look at the box to get an idea of where you’re heading. You start with the corners and edges to make it easy for yourself, and then search your way along the larger shapes and colors. You pick a wrong piece every now and then, give it a try, and then try the next. When you’re exhausted, you take a break. You look at that box, again. Slowly, the image starts to take form. It gets easier, as you’re in the flow, and there are less pieces to choose from. But there are still some hurdles, as you saved some of the harder parts: “All these brown pieces look alike! I’ll handle them later!” You look a the box, once more. Where are you going? What’s the goal? You manage to get over the hurdles. Boom. Puzzle solved.

If you’re struggling with any of the entrepreneurial issues I described above, chances are that you’re trying to take the first approach: Develop the perfect plan down to the lowest detail before even taking the first real step.

But while you’re making the plan, the world keeps turning. You keep getting older. And nothing happens. At least, nothing that will bring you closer to building that business you had in mind.

At some point, the only thing you need to do is to get going.

On the other hand, just starting with any half-assed idea that comes to your mind will probably be entertaining to watch, but most likely fail. You don’t need an excessively precise plan, but you need an idea of where you’re going – just like the box of a puzzle.

How about this: Decide on a broad idea of where you’d like to go. Grab a resource that will guide you on the way. But then: Stick to it and do the work. Decide on the first step, like grabbing the first piece of a puzzle. Then find the one that fits next to it. After the first few steps, look back at the big picture, remember the vision of your business and reconnect with it, like you would when looking at the box.

Slowly, the picture will start to get real.

The $100 Startup

Depending on your job and income, $100 can either be ridiculously little or quite a bit of money. Some of you might be working 15 minutes to earn it, others a whole week. Either way, $100 can be a great investment to build your business. Or, it can be a horrible waste of money: $100 can buy you an hour or two of coaching or consulting. It can buy you five or six decent business books. Or, today (and until Thursday only!), it can buy you a whole entrepreneur’s library.

Adam Baker and Karol Gajda put together this excellent package of resources – and they are offering it for $100 during 72 hours only. It includes ebooks and guides by Chris Guillebeau, Jonathan Mead, Corbett Barr, Susannah Conway, Pam Slim and many others. It also includes a hard copy of Chris Guillebeau’s new book, The $100 Startup – free shipping to anywhere in the world.

Check out this amazing offer here!1

How NOT Build to Your $100 Startup

This sale, unlike most others, isn’t claiming any artificially inflated prices in order to make you believe it’s a good deal. It really is a good deal. But it comes with a caveat, like any other sale or offer: The resources included are only as good as you make them – by putting them to use!

Information alone won’t help you: Ebooks can be forgotten in the download folder of your computer. Print books can gather dust in a cabinet somewhere.

But even if you actually read all that stuff, you won’t gain anything. Inspiration alone doesn’t change the world.

You have to take all that information and inspiration, and convert them into action. This is the only way to do it.

So if you think about grabbing one of these $100 startup packages, please make a promise to yourself: The promise to use the information contained in order to build something amazing.

tl;dr

If you want to build a business, making a plan is great. Just don’t freak out about every single detail before starting, or you never will. If you need a hand to guide you through the technicalities, check out the $100 startup bundle, available for sale now (and until Thursday only!).

  1. If you buy it through this link, I will get a commission that will help me drink more fine rum and keep The Friendly Anarchist going. It would be much appreciated! []

Comments 5

  1. Kate a.k.a. The Secret Goddess May 2, 2012

    I’ve been contemplating buying that package all day —- so much good stuff in there! I did just plunk down $$$ on a few other resources so it’s a bit of a challenge – but seriously good stuff :)

    Puzzles are fun and all but Tetris is much more addicting in my book.

    btw, I’m really digging on that vintage look map in your sidebar – way spiffy!

    • Fabian May 2, 2012

      Thanks Kate! The Tetris approach to business would be “one brick at a time,” right? And not worrying about messing up one once in a while, as long as the overall tactics are fine! :)

      Also, glad you enjoy that map! It’s in the public domain, I got it from the Wikimedia commons. Feel free to grab a copy!

  2. cristina May 3, 2012

    Ey no leo tu pagina, tu lo sabes pero la veo ;)

    • Fabian May 8, 2012

      Eh, está bueno eso. Tendré que publicar más fotos entonces! ;)

Comments are closed.