It’s been a month and a half since we wrapped up the Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator. We spent eight weeks learning, testing and refining our business model and products alongside an amazing collection of mentors and entrepreneurs, including founders from SheFly Apparel, Spruce Pup and Pathloom.
So much happens in such a short period of time that the details can become a little fuzzy. You pick up your head a little ways down the road and ask, “how did we get here?” This is an attempt to distill and solidify the things that had the biggest impact on us. Here goes…
MJOA was built around the Lean Startup Model, which suggests that every assumption should be tested as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Don’t assume you know the best price point or early adopter, or most effective tagline, test it!
This can be hard if you have perfectionist tendencies because it requires you to put your work in front of people while it’s still in development. But, it’s the only way.
By running weeklong mini-experiments we tested and refined crucial product features; we built an early adopter profile that helped us clarify the outdoor activities we needed to be focusing on; we ran a pre-sale that helped us dial in our price point and understand the parts of our solution that customers are most excited about.
Ask For Help
If you’re doing it right, entrepreneurship is one giant, never-ending ask for help. Unfortunately, we’re all mistakenly under the impression that we’re supposed to have everything figured out. So, asking for help can be hard. The MJOA helped us to get over that, fast.
Through the program we were connected to biologists, land managers, financial advisors, PR and marketing specialists, CEOs, advocacy groups, business coaches, and on and on. Our team of 4 became a team of 40, and it’s growing every week.
People want to help. It’s our nature. All you have to do is ask...and say thank you.
Entrepreneurship Should Be Communal
This is an extension of the previous one but it’s worth talking about. Entrepreneurship can be really lonely in the early stages. Without the right people to provide feedback and collaborate with you can find yourself in an echo chamber, blind to crucial considerations and paralyzed by decisions that need to be made quickly.
Being a part of the MJOA as well as the ICELab incubation and business community creates collisions that help us to connect to new perspectives.
You have people to share in the highs, and help you move through the lows. Plus, bike rides, hikes, happy hours, etc. Don’t go it alone. Find yourself a crew.
Enjoy The Ride
We had the opportunity to receive coaching from Jason Berv of Blue Dot Coaching. We covered a lot of topics in our sessions. In one, we talked about how we often fall into the trap of believing that our circumstances determine our overall experience of life, positive or negative. But, in reality it’s our mindset that drives it.
Entrepreneurship is by nature a volatile undertaking. If we allow the ups and downs to drive our happiness and state of mind, we’re almost guaranteed to struggle. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. Do you want to be gripping the handrail, afraid of what’s next or screaming for joy? Put another way, don’t curse the darkness. Light a match.