12 Reasons to Start Work on Your App Today

   

Bill Gross famously said, in his March 2015 TED Talk that timing is everything:

“The number one thing was timing. Timing accounted for 42 percent of the difference between success and failure. Team and execution came in second, and the idea, the differentiability of the idea, the uniqueness of the idea, that actually came in third.”

When it comes to making your app idea a reality, it’s better to begin sooner rather than later.

Often times, when people think too much on a decision, they end up missing their optimal window of opportunity. The reasons behind this principle boil down to two categories: your mentality and your resources.

 

In terms of your mentality, thinking too much on starting a business can cause you to doubt yourself. Also know as analysis paralysis anti-pattern. It’s no question that becoming an entrepreneur comes with risks; no one can ever guarantee what will work or not. Even the most successful businesspeople have experienced failures; it’s a part of the job. Knowing this, it’s natural to feel nervous about setting foot on such shaky ground. However, as the saying goes, you won’t know until you try. The only true failure comes to those who never try at all. Your ideas could very well be a goldmine.

 

Another mental pitfall is waiting. The “I’ll start this tomorrow” mentality does not work in the business world. My older cousin Andrew, a very successful Texas businessman repeats often that “business doesn’t wait”. Not only will you continually push things off, but the consumer may not want the same things tomorrow as they do today. Once your company is further along, you can undergo testing with your customers to find out what products, advertising, and ideas work for them; and you can always look at what other companies in your industry are doing. For the most part though, a lot of what you’ll do (especially in the beginning) is trial and error. Don’t allow your nerves to cause you to hesitate.

 

Pausing to think on things can cause your resources to slip away just as much as it can to your confidence. Right now, there are a ton of people looking for job opportunities. Whether they’re fresh out of college, or have been seeking new employment, potential staff members are ripe for the picking. However, don’t expect them to be waiting for you forever. If they’re truly good/talented hard workers, other businesses will seek them out. Establish yourself, and find them before they’re gone.

 

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, sometimes you can’t afford to play it safe. Be confident in yourself and your ideas; it’s a key trait. If you have a new idea, don’t focus on worries of rejection; focus on the wide array of possibilities that come with being a pioneer to a new thought. Keep in mind: nothing is ever certain when it comes to business; solid ideas can flop, and iffy ones can skyrocket. (Example: When Apple first began, there were many people who doubted the company’s future. Eventually, the out-of-garage business turned into one of the most popular tech companies in the world.)

 

Starting a business may be risky, but challenging roads often lead to rewarding destinations. If you have confidence and the money to withstand a fall or two, you can succeed as an entrepreneur. Just be sure to be quick to get the ball rolling before your opportunity passes and leaves you with regret.

 

12 Reasons to Start Today

  1. Better sooner than later!
  2. Over-thinking cripples confidence.
  3. Your ideas could == $.
  4. Don’t wait for tomorrow, it may never come.
  5. Trial and error, the only way to know what works.
  6. Don’t let resources slip away.
  7. People want to work for you.
  8. Confidence!
  9. Original ideas = tons of possibilities.
  10. Challenging roads lead to rewarding destinations.
  11. You may regret it if you don’t.
  12. Timing is everything, believe it!

 

Neuroplasticity

So you want to launch an app but you have your doubts and fears?  You're not alone, many of us when we started our businesses, felt that we were too young, or too old or not smart enough to turn a new page in our lives.  Perhaps you feel the same way?  Well if you do, you shouldn't, read on and we'll tell you why—with science!

 

Several people that have always wanted to start a business, or who have a great idea for a business, never develop a business because they believe they do not have what it takes. Some do not think they are smart enough, while others think they are too old to initiate a successful business. However, research in neuroscience helps explain why these notions of inadequacy are false and provides some insight into how we can focus our efforts to increase the likelihood that we are successful in business endeavors.

 

One aspect of our brains that enables us to learn new things and be successful in new types of ventures is that the connections between cells in our brain are plastic. This phenomenon is often referred to as neuroplasticity and is the foundation upon which our experiences lead to memories and new behaviors. It is often incorrectly assumed that the reduction in plasticity that occurs as we age makes it harder to learn new things. While this may be true in certain instances, the strong neural connections we build during our lifetime can also act as a scaffold upon which new things can be more easily learned.

 

Take the simple example of learning what animals are and what constitutes an animal. When we are very young, we learn that a dog is a type of animal, but it is likely not until later that we learn all the different breeds of dog. If we learn later in life that a golden retriever is a type of dog, then we also make the connection between golden retrievers and animals and understand that golden retrievers are animals because we know that dogs are animals. This logical connection could not be made without the initial connection of dog and animal..

 

What does neuroplasticity have to do with business? When we start a new business, there is a lot of information we have to navigate, and if we have not before started a business, we have to learn new habits and engage in new patterns of behavior. Doing these things requires that new connections are forged between cells of the brain, which is facilitated by the plastic nature of the brain.

 

A famous neuroscience study was conducted almost a decade ago that nicely demonstrated the involvement of neuroplasticity in the workforce. The study examined the brains of cab drivers in London, a city known for its complex geography. Researchers looked at the brains of cab drivers and compared them to the brains of other people who did not drive around London as much as cab drivers. They found that the hippocampi, which are parts of the brain involved in navigation and memory, were larger in cab drivers than in non-cab drivers. Presumably, then, the experience of navigating the streets of London re-wired cab drivers’ brains so that there were more connections, and thus a higher density, in parts of the brain required for successful navigation of the city.

 

Just as the plasticity of cab drivers’ brains allowed their brains to re-structure themselves so that neural energy was concentrated in areas important for their job, the plasticity of your brain allows you to choose the types of connections you would like your brain to have. In exposing yourself to the right experiences and in the right amounts, you can become successful in the entrepreneurial endeavor you choose.

 

The key, however, to harnessing the power of neuroplasticity to become successful in your business venture is to help your brain switch from understanding what it needs to do to actually doing those things. In other words, we must convert our knowledge about how to start a business into new behaviors and habits that enable that knowledge to get put to action.

 

Why does knowing how to run a business not automatically translate to new, productive behaviors? We are creatures of habit, and we tend to continue the same behaviors that we have performed in the past. The advantage of relying on habits is that they do not require a lot of thinking and therefore reserve mental energy. The downside of habits is of course that they are hard to change. What this means is that having good habits puts us at a huge advantage; with good habits, we save energy and perform behaviors that help, rather than hurt us.

 

To be successful in business, it is important to first have a checklist of the things that need to be done regularly. The next critical step then is programming these behaviors to become instinctual and automatic. We have the power to create new instincts by forcing ourselves to be disciplined in the short-term. If we deliberately do the things that are necessary for a successful business, these activities will become programmed, automatic parts of our behavior. With this technique, over time, we will find ourselves choosing the best actions without putting much thought into which actions we should take.

 

Below are a few tips for converting your knowledge about business into effective habits that ensure that you translate that information into behaviors that will make you successful:

 

  1. Use time as a cue for productive behaviors: Choose a time of day when you will perform the activities that need to be performed daily for your business to be successful. Engaging in these activities purposefully at the same time each day will eventually make these activities habitual. You will learn to instinctively engage in these behaviors at the same time each day.
  2. Have a plan: Know ahead of time what you need to get done each day and have an idea of the order in which you will complete tasks. If you do not have a plan, it will be easier to make bad decisions, choosing activities that are less productive or that are more consistent with your old habits.
  3. Observe your behavior and avoid temptation: If you find that you are not getting what you want out of your business, pay attention to how your spend your days and try to identify where the problems are. Perhaps you spend too much time on the phone or take excessively long lunch breaks. Once you identify your weaknesses, develop strategies for avoiding those things, and your productivity will increase over time.

 

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about neuroplasticity and how connections are made within the brain, you should feel confident in your ability to start the business you’ve always wanted to start. Put together a plan for what needs to get done, and then start deliberately creating the habits that will enable your success.

Ten Extraordinary Women Entrepreneurs

Articles celebrating the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs nearly always mention Oprah Winfrey and Belinda Gates. Given the size of their fortunes, phenomenal impacts on industry and notable philanthropic contributions, their place on these roll calls is no surprise. But there are many more women entrepreneurs whose innovative thinking and risk-taking in the world of business deserves our attention. All of these women are part of an illustrious tradition and expanding field of women business leaders in the United States and abroad. 

 

Women Entrepreneurs who are Already Household Names 

With an estimated net worth over $3 billion, Oprah Winfrey’s fortunes are difficult to ignore, but her story also remains one of the most compelling stories in the history of self-made American entrepreneurship. Winfrey was raised in poverty by a single mother in rural Mississippi and later in Milwaukee. Despite her early hardships, by the time she graduated from high school, she had already launched her career as a talk show host at a local radio station. By her early 30s, she was hosting the Oprah Winfrey Show, which would run for 25 seasons and transform the talk show form with its confessional content and inspirational message. Today, Winfrey continues to grow her fortunes as the Chairperson and CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Chairperson of Harpo, Inc. Oprah’s media empire includes television stations, magazines and film production companies, all of which are closely aligned with the familiar and popular “Oprah brand.” 

 

While most people know Melinda Gates as the spouse of Microsoft Chairperson Bill Gates, on her own accord, Melinda Gates is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. With a net worth estimated at $70 billion, Gates’ fortune is unprecedented among women business leaders, but her vision is also expansive and inspiring. Beyond her contribution to the development of several early Microsoft products, in recent years, Gates has emerged as the public face for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which the couple co-founded in 2000. Since the foundation’s inception, it has distributed more than $30 billion dollars worth of grants worldwide. In 2014, Forbes ranked Gates the third most powerful woman in the world behind only German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. 

 

Women Entrepreneurs Under Age 35

Today, a growing number of young women, some still in their teens, are becoming entrepreneurs but few are as notable as Elizabeth Holmes. As most people know firsthand, getting results from a blood test, typically requires several vials of blood and waiting anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Holmes, now age 31, is transforming the laboratory diagnostics industry with her company Theranos. Guided by the motto that “A few drops is all it takes,” Theranos performs lab tests on blood samples as small as 1/1,000 the size of a typical blood draw and does so in a fracture of the time without increasing costs. If you think this sounds like a great alternative to established approaches to laboratory diagnostics, you’re not alone. Since filing a patent for her sampling technology in 2004—just before she dropped out of Stanford as an undergraduate—and starting Theranos, Holmes’s personal fortune has risen to $4.5 billion. 

 

Like Holmes, Catherine Cook wasted little time starting up her first company. At the age of 15, she co-founded MyYearbook.com with her brothers. By the time Cook graduated from university at the age of 21, she had sold MyYearbook.com for $100 million in combined stock and cash. Since then, Cook, who never had to worry about paying back student loans, has helped turn MyYearbook.com into MeetMe.com, a social networking site for an older demographic. Cook is currently Vice President of Brand Strategy at MeetMe, Inc.

     

Women Entrepreneurs in a Global Market 

While the U.S. may be home to a higher number of successful women entrepreneurs, today, women around the globe are gaining traction as business leaders. 

 

Taiwanese entrepreneur, Cher Wang, is the Chairperson of HTC Corporation. While HTC first focused on the development of notebook computers, the company soon became a major player in the touch and wireless phone market. Among other innovations, HTC is responsible for the Android. Since founding her company in 1997, Wang’s fortunes have grown to an estimated $1.6 billion. 

 

Like Wang, Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria is a self-made entrepreneur with a global reputation. Alakija’s net worth is estimated to be close to $3 billion. In 2014, Forbes listed her in their top 100 most powerful women in the world. While Alakija first business ventures were in fashion, in the early 1990s, she shifted focus from women’s apparel to oil when she acquired a prospecting license. Today, she owns more than half of Famfa Oil, which pumps over 200,000 barrels of oil per day. 

 

Leila Janah, 33, the founder and CEO of Samasource, may not be worth as much as many of the women noted in this article, but she has already established herself as a model in social entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduating from Harvard University with a degree in Development Studies, Janah launched Samasource. Using proven business methods and new technologies, Samasource is revolutionizing how business is done in the U.S. and abroad and demonstrating how social and economic justice can be gained through effective business practices. In a nutshell, Samasource is a platform that connects workers in developing countries, especially women and young people, with corporations abroad, including Google to Microsoft. With Samasource, workers once relegated to poverty are making living wages in a global market and companies are tapping into the expertise and power of workers previously overlooked. And with the rollout of SamaUSA, Janah is now bringing her social entrepreneurship home. 

 

Women Entrepreneurs in American History

While women continue to be underrepresented in business leadership positions, in the U.S., there is a long history of women starting up companies on their own and in partnership with family members.  In fact, women have been making their mark in the media, technology and beauty industries since the mid-18th century. 

 

In 1766, Mary Katherine Goddard became the first woman publisher in the U.S. Originally from Connecticut, Goddard moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1762 to work with her brother, a local printer. When her brother moved to Philadelphia in 1765, Goddard continued to operate his press, publishing the Providence Gazette. Later, she joined her brother in Philadelphia where she eventually took over as publisher of the Pennsylvania Chronicle. Subsequently, she followed her brother to Baltimore and assumed responsibility for the publication of two more local papers.  However, Goddard may be best known for printing the first signed copies of the Declaration of Independence in 1777. 

 

Unlike Goddard, as an African American woman born in 1867, Sarah Breedlove Walker did not have much on her side as a young entrepreneur. Prior to starting her own beauty business, she worked for dismally low wages in a backbreaking job as a washerwoman. In the early-twentieth century, decades before the Black beauty business industry took off, Walker started to experiment with the development of hair products for African American women. By 1917, the Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, a name she adopted to help market her products, had become the largest black-owned business in the U.S. with revenues reaching approximately $500,000 per year.  Breedlove Walker was not the only person to benefit from her fortunes. In a highly segregated workforce, she also offered stable employment to other African American women around the country who sold her products door-to-door. Finally, Breedlove Walker, who died in 1919, was a philanthropist who was known to have supported many African American causes, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Born to recently freed slaves, Breedlove Walker died one of the wealthiest women in America.  

 

Finally, there is Olive Ann Beech who co-founded Beach Aircraft Corporation with her husband at the height of the Depression. Over the coming years, the Beech’s business grew from 10 to 10,000 employees. During the World War II, Beech manufactured aircrafts for the U.S. Army. Shortly after the war, Beech’s husband and co-founder passed away. For the next 20 years, Beech served as President and CEO, turning Beech Aircraft into a multimillion-dollar aerospace company. First with her husband and later on her own, Olive Ann Beech transformed American aerospace history and set an example for women entrepreneurs at a time when few women held jobs outside the home and even fewer occupied leadership positions in business.

 

Learning from these Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

As the women featured here remind us, successful entrepreneurship doesn’t follow a template. Each of these extraordinary entrepreneurs comes from a different socio-economic and cultural background. While some had notable advantages getting started, others are entirely self-made. And despite prevailing stereotypes that successful women entrepreneurs are concentrated in traditionally female industries, such as fashion and home design, these stories suggest that women are just as likely to become industry leaders in male-dominated fields from engineering to medicine. Finally, these women’s stories serve as a reminder to all of us that successful entrepreneurship is by no means divorced from social and economic justice and may even be its driving force.