The following post is a summary of the recent Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s TECH Talk presentation by serial entrepreneur Steve Tingiris. In an interactive presentation, Steve discussed entrepreneurial challenges as viewed through one of his interests – bumper sticker philosophy.
Entrepreneurs are diehard optimists – and they are always asking questions. Some of the best questions and bits of everyday wisdom come from bumper stickers. “Bumper sticker wisdom” often applies to our businesses, no matter what their stage.
Here are some bumper sticker quotes and how they can help guide you from startup to growth.
“I’m having an out-of-money experience.”
For a business, cash is oxygen; you can’t keep your doors open without it. So what do you do when you run out? You sell! Or as another saying goes, “the fox is running for his dinner, but the rabbit is running for its life.” Sell more than you spend and manage your cash flow to stay out of the red.
“Where the hell is easy street?”
A few lucky people may stumble into a great idea, but for most people, success takes a lot of work. Not all prospects and customers are created equal, so you need to prioritize them and get in front of as many of them as possible
“Can’t sleep… clowns will eat me.”
This one was a Simpsons reference, but brings up a good point about entrepreneurs. What is it you need to do really well every day? Then focus on what you can control – not your competitors or even your outcomes. Rather, focus on the actions that generate the outcomes you want.
"Hi. I don’t care. Thanks.”
Not everyone is your customer, and in fact, most people aren’t. You can’t deliver excellence if you’re not a good fit with your customers. Ask yourself who it is to whom you can bring the most value, and them concentrate on the smallest number that will support your sales goals.
“Don’t believe everything you think.”
Don’t fall in love with your ideas. Get good feedback on what the market says from trusted advisors and people who will tell you straight.
“Caution: Frequent Indecisions”
Many startups chase every bright shiny object they see. Rather than changing constantly, it’s more important to decide what to do and then give it enough time to allow success to happen.
“If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
Remember the old definition of insanity as “doing the same thing and expecting different results?” If you’re not happy with your results, figure out what needs to change, and then do it.
“Honk if anything falls off.”
Finally, it’s important to know that failure is not something to be feared; in fact, it’s part of entrepreneurship. Success is more than just playing not to lose, and sometimes you need to be able to fly without a parachute.