Book Summary: The $100 Startup

Book Summary: The $100 Startup

With the New Year here, a lot would want to start a business. However, contrary to popular belief, one doesn’t need to invest a lot of money and drop everything for it to take off. One can start small, investing a bit and making it grow.

In this book by Chris Guillebeau, he gives you insights from successful entrepreneurs who started out small, plus an easy guide on what to remember when starting, launching, and scaling a business.

Below is a summary with the important points from each chapter.

Chapter 1: Renaissance

“You already have the skills you need- you just have to know where to look.”

  • 3 important things to start a business: 
    • Product or service
    • Group of people willing to pay for it
    • Platform so you can get paid
  • Product or service shouldn’t just be a merging of passion and skill. People must find it useful too.

Chapter 2: Give Them the Fish

“How to put happiness in a box and sell it.”

  • Businesses are successful when they offer value. Value means, “helping people.”
  • It is easier for people to latch on your product or service if you market the core benefit instead of the features. Core benefits usually relate to emotional needs.
  • Always focus on what you can add or remove from someone to improve his or her life.

Chapter 3: Follow Your Passion… Maybe

“Get paid to do what you love by making sure it connects to what other people want.”

  • Good businesses provide solutions to problems.
  • Always ask: where is the business model?
  • Not every passion or hobby is worth transforming into a business. Likewise, not everyone would want to run a business based on his or her hobby. 

Chapter 4: The Rise of the Roaming Entrepreneur

“Location, location, location is overrated.”

  • Mobile entrepreneurs are the now the norm.
  • Location shouldn’t hinder you on starting a business. However, best to find a set up that works for you.

Chapter 5: The New Demographics

“Your customers all have something in common, but it has nothing to do with old-school categories.”

  • Who are your people?
  • More than the usual categories such as age and gender, think of shared beliefs and values.
  • You can follow a trend and establish yourself as an authority and simplify the process for others.
  • Survey- it’s a great tool!

Chapter 6: The One-Page Business Plan

“If your mission statement is much longer than this sentence, it could be too long.”

  • Plan as you go when it comes to everyday changing needs
  • However, launch your business as soon as possible\Make sure you can explain your business in a Tweet: 140 characters

Chapter 7: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

“The step-by-step guide to creating a killer offer.”

  • As much as possible, connect your offer to the direct benefits your customers will receive.
  • When developing an offer, think of the possible questions that will come from your clients. Then, respond to these in advance.
  • Giving customers a sense of urgency (via timeline) can help push your customer in making a decision.
  • Find a meaningful way to go above and beyond their expectations.

Chapter 8: Launch!

“A trip to Hollywood from your living room or the corner coffee shop.”

  • When launching
    • Give a glimpse of the future.
    • Answer: why this project will matter?
    • Big debut: When? How? Bonus for early buyers?
    • Night before: last minute reminders launch details, etc.
    • Actual launch: “it’s here!!”— Make sure to include a link and encourage to take action
      • Here how’s it going: updates.
      • Right before launch ends: give a last minute reminder.
      • Thank you: here is what’s coming next
    • Goal of launch is to convert as many prospects, not sales.

Chapter 9: Hustling: The Gentle Art of Self-Promotion

“Advertising is like sex: only losers pay for it.”

  • A hustler represents the ideal combination of work and talk.
  • First thing: what do you have to say?
  • The strategic giving marketing plan: the more you focus your business on providing a valuable service and helping others, the more it will grow.
  • Building relationships is a strategy, not a tactic.

Chapter 10: Show Me the Money

“Unconventional fundraising from Kickstarter to unlikely car loans.”

  • Bootstrap.
  • Raise money: loan, investors, kickstarter, etc.
  • Make more money
    • Price your product or service in relation to the benefit it provides, not the cost of producing it.
    • Offer customers a limited range of prices. (ex. Basic, Premium, Super Premium, etc.)
    • Get paid more than once for the same thing (ex. Subscription).

Chapter 11: Moving on Up

“Tweaking your way to the bank: how small actions create big increase in income.”

  • The big picture
    • Increase traffic
    • Increase conversion
    • Increase average sales price
  • Details
    • Sell more to existing customers
    • Create a hall of fame: social proof
    • Institute a new upsell
    • Encourage referrals
    • Hold a contest
    • Introduce a powerful guarantee (free shipping? refund?) OR make a big deal offering no guarantee
  • Product to service, service to product
    • Add a new revenue source
    • Grow business two ways: horizontal or vertical
    • If you don’t know what to say, they will unfollow you

Chapter 12: How to Franchise Yourself

“Instructions on cloning yourself for fun and profit”

  • Reach more people w/ same message or reach different people w/ new message
  • Hub and spoke model- hub is your main, where you hope to drive new customers. Spoke or outposts are places where you spend your time like social media, etc. to support the hub. 
  • Franchise yourself
    • Meaningful partnerships
      • True partnership isn’t about dividing tasks
    • Outsourcing
  • The business audit
    • Where do you make money?
    • How good is your messaging?
    • Review prices
    • How are you marketing to existing customers?
    • Are you tracking, monitoring, and testing enough?
    • Where are the big missing opportunities? 

Chapter 13: Going Long

“Become as big as you want to be (and no bigger).”

  • Work on your business- set aside 45 min to think forward
    • Business development: new products or services? Partnerships?
    • Offer development: using existing resources such as a sale, launch event.
    • Fix long standing problems
    • Pricing review
    • Customer communication
  • Monitoring your business
    • Select 1-2 metrics to know daily. The others: update monthly.
      • Sales per day
      • Visitors or leads per day: how many people are visiting
      • Average order price: how much are people spending when they order
      • Sales conversion rate: what percent do leads become customers
      • net promoter score: percentage of customers refer to others

Chapter 14: But What if I Fail?

“How to succeed even if your roof caves in on you.”

  • Advice can be helpful but also know when advice is unnecessary and distracting and all you need to do is take the leap
  • Biggest hurdle is our own fear and inertia