7 tricks to help you think big

Donald Trump said:

“If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”

But how?

Here are a few practical things you can do to start thinking like a high growth startup, as opposed to someone who works for themselves.

Stop thinking local

A lot of people will tell you to find a few people and solve their problem. The risk is, it leads to you developing something that is only useful for a small amount of people.

My last business was a local business and it was a dud. My new one does more or less the same thing, but it has a potential audience of 70 million WordPress website owners worldwide. The main difference is, we made a service (and a lead generation machine) that has no local focus about it at all.

All of our leads come through online and we operate 24 / 7. That was all we needed to move away from being a local business.

How can you make your product / service accessible to the whole world?

Learn how to say no

Businesses grow because they are designed to grow. The more things you say “yes” to, the harder it is to create systems and processes to help the business grow. It hurts at first, but it’s not supposed to be easy to create a growth machine.

Related: How to build your business by saying no

Tap into trends

All of today’s high growth startups are tapping into major trends. Uber has exploded because of mobile smartphone usage and technology, the ability to leverage marketplaces (employment shifts) and generally people being less happy to put up with poor service.

What trend is your startup tapping into? High growth businesses require momentum which comes when a trend is on your side.

Listen to TWIST

I listen to This Week In Startups religiously and have done for quite a few years. The biggest take away from the show is almost anything can be a huge business.

  • A home cleaning business could be a small local, “work for yourself” type business. Or it could be Homejoy ($37m funding).
  • You could be a small local skateboard manufacturer, or you could be changing transportation worldwide (Boosted Boards).
  • You could look after dogs when people go on holidays, or you could be Airnbn for dogs($47m in funding).

The point is, whatever you are doing can probably be a lot bigger than it is. But you might not realize that. Listening to This Week In Startups will help you realize how big some of these ideas really are.

Subscribe to Crunchbase emails

Crunchbase send a daily email letting you know who received funding on that day. I subscribe to remind me how much money there is in the world for startups, and how big ideas can be.  Here is a sample from this week alone:

  • Stripe (payment processing) raised $70m this week at a valuation of around $3.5 billion. It was started from nothing at Y Combinator by then 22 year old Patrick Collison.
  • SendGrid raised $20m bringing their total capital raised to $48m. They enable app builders to easily send emails. I use them and pay them $1 / month. They send 15 billion emails per month.
  • Helpling, a German competitor to Homejoy (home cleaning) raised $17m. They are active in 150 cities (including Australian capital cities).
  • Lazada raised 200m Euro at a valuation of $1.2 billion. They are Southeast Asia’s fastest growing online department store. I’ve never heard of them. Have you?

Once you realize how much money is being poured into ideas that aren’t that different to yours, you’ll start to realize how big your idea really can be.

Solve something that is a problem for a lot of people

Every high growth startup solves a common problem (often a few problems). It’s fine to start a consulting service for ecommerce community owners specializing in lead generation via social media. I’m sure that’s a problem for ecommerce community owners. But is that a lot of people?

Here are a few things that are problems for a lot of people:

  1. Getting from A to B predictably (Uber).
  2. Finding an affordable place to stay (Airbnb).
  3. Communicating around the world (Slack).
  4. Having a clean house! (Homejoy, Helpling).

Don’t create something that will have you running out of people to sell to as soon as you hit momentum.

Benchmark against the best

The best thing for a business owner to do is simply not accept anything that is a low standard. This could apply to service quality, design, your business name, everything. As soon as you start making compromises, your business becomes smaller.

In my book The 7 Day Startup I define execution as “Your ability to present your idea just as well as the best ideas in the world”. What can you do to make sure your business stands up against the best?

Related: How I hack excellence with 1 simple trick.

How else can you think big?

Reply and let me know.


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