Whitney joined experienced entrepreneur Ande Lyons on an episode of her YouTube show Startup Life with Ande Lyons. On the show, Ande and her guests share insights and advice to help entrepreneurs launch, brand, and build their businesses. In the conversation, Whitney talked about how she got her start as an entrepreneur. She also shared some of the key insights she learned from launching and scaling her own successful businesses.
Whitney’s entrepreneurial journey started when she launched her own tutoring business in elementary school. She started with one client and then grew her business through her years in school until she went to college. As she ran her first business, Whitney learned crucial lessons about how to get clients, how to serve them, and how to manage cash flow and collections.
Whitney’s early business experience provided a foundation for her next entrepreneurial venture when she started her innovation practice, Afara Global, in 2011. Like many first-time founders, Whitney’s journey wasn’t without mistakes. Based on her insights from helping organizations accomplish their most important goals and her own experiences as a founder, Whitney offers these actionable tips to help new founders make their visions for their business into reality.
- Don’t fall into the trap of treating your business like an expensive hobby. In the early days of her business, Whitney spent a lot of her time making business plans, creating competitive landscapes, and focusing on marketing and branding. But she realized that she needed to validate that there was a demand for the services that she wanted to offer if her business was going to succeed. So, she took a step back and got clear on how she could add value in a unique way.
If you’re spending all your time on building out your brand when you don’t have any customers, your business won’t succeed. Instead, devote your time and resources to the areas that are going to make the biggest difference for your business.
- Figure out where you can differentiate yourself and your business. Over the course of her career working with high-capacity leaders and executives, Whitney saw so many people who had amazing ideas that they struggled to bring to life. When she looked at her initial plan for her business, Whitney recognized that she could add so much more value by providing her extensive operational and logistical expertise to help organizations and teams push big initiatives forward and actually get things done.
Take a step back and look at the breadth of your skills and experience. The area you identify might be different from your initial vision, and that’s okay. Once you know how you can set your business apart, focus on the areas where you can provide the most value to your clients.
- Focus on results instead of activity. Whitney sees the difference that focusing on outcomes makes in her life and in her clients’ lives. It’s difficult to change your routines and your mindset, but once you start seeing real results, you’ll be energized and have more momentum.
When you’re being pulled in a million different directions by your to-do list, you start to feel overwhelmed and at risk of falling short of your full potential. Instead of thinking about all the tasks you need to check off your to-do list, think about the outcomes that you want to get. Then, filter that down to your calendar, your meetings, and your emails so that everything you do is keeping you on track to accomplish the goals that matter to you and your business most.
So many founders and business owners have big visions for their companies and the impact they want to make, but they’re not putting their resources in the right place. They end up spinning their wheels and feeling frustrated that they’re not achieving their most important goals. By taking the time to get clear on where you and your business can provide the most value and devoting your time, energy, and money into the things that are going to get you there, you can make your business a success.
Check out the video to see the full conversation.