Entrepreneur

Everything I needed to know about startups, I learned from Chuck Norris

Every time I’m faced with a big problem in my business, I’ve found a way to get past it by asking myself, “W.W.C.N.D.?” (That’s “What would Chuck Norris do?”)

Think about it: If you’re racing against the clock to get traction in your business, who better than Chuck Norris to lead you to glory? With his arsenal of ball-breaking, arm-snapping, kung fu-kicking tricks and tips, surely Norris would be able turn your start up into a well-oiled, butt-kicking machine.

After nine years of building businesses and occasionally falling flat on my face, I’ve learned a few things, and I’m now ready to share them with you.

Based on my experience and relfection, here are the three most important butt-kicking approaches I think Chuck Norris would use to build badass businesses.

Fatal mistake #1: Building products without understanding users


When you build a product and it fails, it’s typically for one major reason: You started with the product in mind, then tried to find users. Instead, flip the script, and think about where your user is coming from.
Knowing your users’ mindset is like having a “Chuck Norris grip” on your market-boosting traction and enhanced virality.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your customer:

  • Before hearing about your product, what are they actively searching for?
  • What conversations are going on in the minds of your prospect?
  • What are thier fears, frustrations, desires, and hopes?

When you take time first to learn from your customers, you are then able to build products that fulfill their wants, needs, and problems.

Solution #1: Learn from customers first, the build.

Fatal mistake #2: Hiring the wrong people


This is how Chuck Norris would dodge a painful mis-hire: He would screen and hire only A-players.

Mis-hires cost owners more than five times what those employees get paid. Quickly weeding out talent can mean the difference between success and failure in any startup. Sizing people up quickly is key to success. Hiring people on your “gut feeling” alone can be dangerous.

Here’s part of the Chuck Norris “dodging bullets and throwing knives” approach to hiring a dream team: The book Topgrading is your new Bible when it comes to any hiring venture. It’s 500 pages, which no human has time to read. Skip to pages 438 and 439. Every question you’ll ever need to hire true stars is there.

Solution #2: Use powerful, proven hiring questions from experts in the field.

Fatal mistake #3: “Spray and pray” spending


In a word, shotgun approaches to marketing new products will always fail. It’s not an effective way for a startup to spend money.

When you get a windfall of money (a large venture capital round, for example), it can be a rush and a heavy burden at the same time. These issues will come up in conversations about marketing:

  • What opportunities are we missing out on?
  • How long will it take to find out?
  • What direction will pay off?
  • What’s the next step?

To battle these questions, outline strict test budgets to prove ROI (return on investment). If you can’t measure it, don’t mess with it. Call it old-fashioned, but pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a powerful tool to measure results and build viral messages. This approach can grow revenue, increase traction, and position your product aggressively in a competitive vertical.

In the same way that Chuck Norris takes down armies single-handedly while getting paid like a rock star, PPC advertising can transform your business overnight. It can scale your business to dominate a market, test whether your business model is profitable, and test marketing messages in real time.

Solution #3: Set strict budgets, use measurable marketing, and test core messages.

Evan Peelle is a Los Angeles-based marketer with experience in web-based startups and conducting online marketing campaigns, including PPC, mobile, and search marketing. He can be contacted directly at evanpeelle@gmail.com.


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