Don’t be afraid to explore foreign territory. We asked successful young entrepreneurs for their most poignant pieces of advice for founders starting up in an unfamiliar industry.
The Young Entrepreneur Council asked 13 successful young entrepreneurs for their best tips for starting a new business in an unfamiliar industry. Here are their best answers.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you’re new to an industry, don’t cower at networking events or do the “smile-and-nod” when you’re speaking to someone with deep industry expertise. Instead, use every interaction as an opportunity to learn. People will be excited to answer your questions–while you may worry that your queries will come off as ignorant, most likely, the other person will interpret them as engaged interest! —Doreen Bloch, Poshly
2. Study Top Direct Response Advertisers
Find the top direct response advertisers–the companies spending money every month–in your industry and study their ad copy. Respond to the ads and document their entire sales process. The top advertisers have already figured out the best method(s) to generate leads and sales and maximize lifetime value, so start with what’s working for them.
—Phil Frost, Main Street ROI
3. Find a Mentor
A mentor is pretty much your most powerful asset in any new industry. By finding a mentor willing to work with you, you can learn from their mistakes, accelerate your growth using their knowledge, insight and strategies, and get pre-qualified introductions to big players in your space.
—Travis Steffen, WorkoutBOX
4. Leverage your Fresh Perspective
Get rid of all preconceived notions and fully immerse yourself in every aspect of the industry to gain a true understanding of the market and opportunities. Take advantage of the fact that you’re not biased and that you bring a fresh perspective and viewpoint, potentially providing you with a strong competitive advantage. —John Berkowitz, Yodle
5. Talk to Customers and Partners Every day
In any start-up, you don’t know what you don’t know. This is especially true when you’re entering an unfamiliar industry. Get started through research, studying the compeition and talking to mentors. But in order to refine your business and make sure that you are providing great value, you must chat with your customers every day. Figure out their greatest pain points and deliver against them. —Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches