The Entrepreneurs Action Toolkit: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Seeing lemonade

Entrepreneurs rarely have a solid business plan. They fly blind and frequently jump into things they know very little about.

That’s true. It’s also necessary.

Entrepreneurship is Vision

To be an entrepreneur, you have to take above-average risks. The risk comes from venturing into uncharted territory, and while sometimes that territory is only new to you, other times it’s truly unique. It’s new to everybody.

To take the risk, you have to see an opportunity where others see none. You have to see a tall refreshing glass of lemonade when everyone else just sees a piece of sour fruit. The opportunity is everything. You figure out how to buy lemons, how to make lemonade, and how to sell it as you go.

An Action Toolkit for Entrepreneurs

Ideas need action or else they just stay ideas. With some business savvy and some actionable strategies, you can get your vision rolling and keep it rolling in the right direction …

  1. Be unstoppable. There are a hundred hurdles to jump just to get started. Everything from procrastination to being surrounded by people who love your lemonade idea, but don’t believe it’s possible. Stoke the fires every day and keep your momentum going. The best question to ask is “how can we take it further”? Answer that question every day with action.
  2. Sell early. Pre-sell … you see ads selling condos all the time for places where they haven’t even broken ground to start construction. Selling before you purchase gets you in tune with your market and gets you to profitability better than anything else can. It bankrolls your business.
  3. Keep on keeping it simple. Every great business idea starts out as a simple, kick-ass, visionary marvel. And every day after that adds another complication. A big threat is trying to be too many things to too many people which happens when you try to capture a dollar here and a dollar there to force profitability. Evolve and expand but keep it simple every step of the way.
  4. Never flog a dead horse. As much courage as it takes to take the risk in the first place, you need even more to admit defeat and jump off a sinking ship before you go down with it. Pride is not a good friend. This is fight or flight, and when you can’t win the fight, the only way to live to fight another day is to get outta there. There are always other ideas and other opportunities.

Lemonade doesn’t grow on trees.

But if you’re willing to climb the tree to get the lemons, it sure does taste good on a hot summer¬†afternoon.

11 thoughts on “The Entrepreneurs Action Toolkit: Turning Lemons into Lemonade”

  1. Good post Shane, I also believe one can have entrepreneurial instinct but lack a plan, focus and vision. I am talking about myself here.

    Way back in early 80’s when potato chips were just about beginning to become popular, me and a friend started a chips factory (small scale) branded it as GoldWafeez. It was an instant hit in the local market, trust me, we couldn’t cope with the demand. We were having a ball, saw ourselves as future potato kings.

    But we both lacked focus and a plan and a Mentor. We had different plans on what to do with our lives and looked at GoldWafeez just a stop gap arrangement. Today when I look back I truly believe we could have been potato kings, last when I spoke to him he mentioned that we should have stuck onto our project. Anyway no regrets on that, I am pretty happy with my life as it is and so is he.

    P/S This wasn’t the only project I started and didn’t stick to it. Gives me an idea, I should make a post on this.

    Take care mate and cheers.

  2. The ability to turn lemons into lemonade is one of life’s greatest gifts. I LOVE the way you tied this into business and very simply, at that. At the same time, your point about not not flogging a dead horse was very well stated, as well. No use sucking on lemons just for the fun of it!

  3. Robin,

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s really easy to get distracted by the money you make with a successful startup. I’ve seen a few entrepreneurs start brilliant ventures, and as soon as they make a few bucks their focus is on the money in their pockets instead of the business.

    Happens a lot to young entrepreneurs on their first venture.

  4. Hey Martin,

    Ah, the dreaded ‘P’ word. I’ll try to write something about this soon. Procrastination has to be stopped (as ironic as that is)! haha

  5. Yet another perfect post! I particularly agree with sell early. The best startups start promoting and signing up beta testers long before they’re ready

  6. Hey Andy,

    Thanks. Selling early (selling first, before buying) is one of my business mantras. It’s a really difficult one for most people to grasp because it’s seems illogical to sell something you haven’t purchased or built yet. The most successful people in business sell before they buy every day.

    I think G-mail’s by-invitation-only signup was absolute genius. A lot of social networking sites are doing the same thing these days to build the pre-launch buzz.

  7. Great post! I also believe that you must always do your research, in whatever form, to understand how well your business will fare. You may have a killer product, but only a small market willing to buy it at a low price.

  8. Hey Nicholas,

    That’s true. A lot of entrepreneurs tend to just jump right in. If you can spot a winner a mile away and execute the the idea, it’s pretty easy to create a successful venture.

    The next best thing is research, research, research! And if you’re going to put a significant amount of capital into the venture, research is an absolute must.

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