Success as an entrepreneur with a new company is based on knowing when to exaggerate you and your company’s capabilities. To succeed every new company or venture must take a few liberties with their current reality.
Ways that bending the truth benefit your business:
1. Sell something you haven’t quite finished
Forget raising money from an investor (or your friends and family). Selling something that isn’t quite finished is a classic way to fund your company in the early days.
Many startups make the mistake of trying to build the perfect, most complete product. Winston Churchill is famous for saying “perfection is the enemy of progress”.
Instead of waiting for perfection, sell your product or service to a customer today. A benefit of selling a product or service before it’s done is your customer helps you mold the ideal solution when you listen closely to their questions and requirements.
2. Claim expertise you know you can find later
Several of my companies have been built based on this approach. In the case of one company, I decided that any project that included talking to and observing actual users was in line with our company mission. If a customer asked my company to take on a project that included user feedback, I knew I could find the resources needed to get the job done even if we hadn’t performed the specific tactic.
This attitude moved my company into several complementary service offerings that kept the doors open during the 2008 recession and placed it on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing three years in a row.
3. Bend the rules
One of my favorite examples of “entrepreneurship” is from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a real life salesman who brings himself up from homelessness to a successful stockbroker.
During Gardner’s internship, he is instructed to start at the top of the list and work his way down–a list that had the least lucrative potential investors at the top and the most at the bottom. Gardner decides to bend the rules and starts from the bottom instead, ending up with a meeting with a very influential potential new customer.
4. Sell someone else’s product as your own
Don’t get caught in the trap that many companies fall into believing they have to create every product and service they sell from scratch. Some of the most successful businesses simply white label another company’s offering as their own.
Think about the value you add above and beyond the core product or service. Is it distribution, level of service, intellectual property or combining several things together to create a solution? The answer to this question is the business you are in driving your position in the market and your pricing.
5. Use prior experience as a basis for your new venture
Your startup company may have no experience, but if you and your team have a background in an industry or with solving a problem, use it to your advantage.
You would do this in a job interview, so why ignore your past in pursuing business for your new venture? Realize that smart investors are primarily looking at the team as a major decision factor.
6. Change reality to fit your needs
Steve Jobs was famous for his “reality distortion”. He would tell his team that a technical or business problem could be overcome because he simply believed it was so. This trait both infuriated those around him while at the same time motivating some of their greatest advances.
Building an entrepreneurial venture is about persistence and a belief you can overcome any obstacle. The “truth” of your current situation is an excuse you are using that is holding you and your organization back from its greatest success.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.