10 things every innovator needs to know

We are all in the stage of business development. It's that fine line between branding, marketing, sales, structure and partnership. It's the foundation for building and growing anything, really. Learn those skills above and be prepared to be wildly successful  as an innovator willing to take action.

Here are 20 things you should know about the art of building:

  1. Build the relationships early. Learn to create reasons to talk to interesting people. Here are some ways by the way to do that.
  2. If you forget about the right kind of marketing, you've  made a big error. Think early on who is going to rally for your cause and, as #1 says, build those relationships early on.
  3. Money or lack of budget isn't the only reason  you're not growing. Part of the game involves taking risks and creating something from nothing. Many times your failure is not a direct result of money, but something else.
  4. Stop being a maverick: You're not John Wayne, not even John Wayne is really who we envision him to be. If we only live for the big wins then we won't be willing to celebrate and create the small ones that let you climb to the top of the mountain. One doesn't take a single step to scale Mount Everest. It's the product of many, many small steps.
  5. Never be sorry for who you are or apologize, even tonally, for your genius. Compassion is not meekness and the two shouldn't be confused.
  6. Be ready to throw it all out (or at least most of it). Two years ago I thought I wanted to be a copywriter. About 50 business starts and fails later, I'm not a copywriter (not by trade at least) and I've dabbled in 100 different projects. If it doesn't fit, I'm ok with starting fresh.
  7.  Nothing matters more than who you are in the world. Whether you're poor, rich, ugly, pretty, smart, or dumb, who you are speaks so loudly that the we barely hear anything else above the noise. People might like you for your money and the sexiness that smart PR and marketing can do to jazz you or your business up, but it doesn't much matter if at the end of the day you aren't proud of your work, does it?
  8. Partnerships are a product of understanding value. Bring real value to the table and the rest lays in the details of what, where, when and how. See more on value here.
  9. Your community is damn near everything. The people who support you, tweet you, share you, love you... that's the real magic. All the other stuff is just fool's gold.
  10. Lack of gratitude will kill your mojo and your progress. Not loving the small wins as much as the big and thinking of your job or business as a constant struggle leaks into your work. There is a strategy to this and it's important to love all stages of the game.