Entrepreneurial Hot Take: If “Anyone Can Do It,” What’s the Secret to Breaking Through?


By Tom Shea, COO and Founder, Adgile Media Group

In a world where entrepreneurial opportunities abound and distribution channels are seemingly infinite, it’s never been easier to step into a capitalistic venture. In 2021, nearly 5.4 million new businesses started in the U.S. alone. Entrepreneurship has never been more attainable — especially with channels such as Shopify marketplace where merchants can begin selling whatever product, service or idea they have, super easily. Entrepreneurship isn’t risky anymore — if you know how to prepare.

If everyone can do it, how do brand marketers break through the noise in such a crowded space? What will make them stand out? Marketers must use their network to their advantage, de-risk their ideas, think through all potential consequences and use the power of their creativity to develop an original idea. If you want to find success as an entrepreneur, creativity must be your strong suit.

Establish Trust First, Idea Second

Gaining trust between fellow brand founders is step one when establishing your brand. Don’t be afraid to use your network. Attend any and all as many networking events as possible, particularly if you’re a younger entrepreneur and only getting started in the industry. It’s essential to establish trust and camaraderie between you and your peers. Brand marketers must first lay the groundwork and use their network to break through the noise of competitors. Mentorship is not out! Review your network and connections and if there is anyone succeeding in an area you want to enter, ask if they’d be willing to be your mentor, once you’ve established some sort of a mutually beneficial relationship.

Society has never been more connected and accessible than we are right now. Social media channels have the ability to create long-term bonds between peers, regardless of geographical or financial boundaries. Top social channels to help break into the entrepreneurial community include Upwork, Discord, relevant Slack channels and Twitter. Participating and interacting in these social media forums helps indicate that you are a trustworthy person, interested in making real connections. Twitter is uniquely important because it’s a community-building platform that allows users to develop authentic relationships in a more relaxed environment than other mediums, such as LinkedIn. There’s also a specific entrepreneurship side of Twitter that’s great for connecting with like-minded people.

Time to “De-Risk” Your Idea

Timing is essential when determining business success, especially when there is growing concern about inflation and the fluctuating stock market. In addition to determining when to launch a product or service, entrepreneurs must “de-risk” their big idea. When de-risking your idea, don’t quit your full-time job. A genius idea doesn’t happen overnight — Usually, your big idea will need to pivot directions multiple times in order to find a product-market fit — if you quit your full-time job without a successful idea, then personal finance concerns may arise.

Anyone can have a great idea but profitable concepts are the ones that solve an issue for consumers. If your idea doesn’t solve anything, then go back to the drawing board. Look for relevant trends in the news and respective industry to gather inspiration. Solutions for cookieless work, digital fatigue or even supply chain issues are a couple of thought starters for brainstorming good ideas. Whatever approach you decide, your idea must be relevant and timely. Don’t be afraid to be creative because it will be the distinguishing factor for your business’s success.

Data is King and Creativity is Queen

Idea differentiation comes down to creativity components; creativity and real-time data are the final parts of a successful entrepreneurial venture. Your idea must be data backed in order to make informed decisions for your brand, strategically relate your idea to potential investors and demonstrate your idea has a quality return on investment for your brand. Always lead with data, if data isn’t at the core of your idea then it’s not going to work. Be prepared to highlight your data in creative, original ways that stand out from competitors.

While entrepreneurship is exciting, it requires some industry research, substantive data and creativity to help you stand out from the crowd. Keeping this in mind will help you construct creative ways to reach potential customers and stakeholders. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, customers state trustworthiness, creativity, and authenticity are the most important brand attributes. If your idea doesn’t have all three, it’s bound to flop. But, don’t be afraid to flop. Entrepreneurs who can stay in the game long enough to adapt products and ideas that work will find that sweet spot of providing something that is needed and being profitable. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who aren’t afraid to fail and who lean in on ideas that solve a problem. Success in entrepreneurship is staying in the ring as long as you can to see what does and doesn’t work. The secret to winning is adapting your original idea to have the desired results.