33 Entrepreneur Lessons From “Open For Business” Podcast

I’ve summarized all the key learnings from the first ten episodes of the new Gimlet Creative podcast, Open For Business. (links to each episode included)
I love this new podcast. Branded, unbranded. Whatever. I’m a hungry hungry content hippo, and good stuff is good stuff! I think it’s all too natural when you’re working hard on something to put decisions on auto-pilot. This podcast is a new way for me to pull back outside of my own thinking, look at what has worked for other people, and measure if it could work for me.
I enjoy the listen of Open For Business, but this post is for those who don’t have the time to listen to all those episodes, or just aren’t podcast people. This info craves to be shared.
For those of us who are poddies; @gimletcreative thanks for everything from the Gimlet brand, and keep bringing the noise!


  1. Have a process and follow the same interview process, every time. Making that process collaborative to bring in more perspectives from inside your company is a good thing.
  2. Screen for a locus of control. Internal or external. Internal means they hold themselves accountable for errors (Bonus:  interview question to screen for a locus of control – “Tell me about a time when you set a goal and didn’t make it?”)
  3. Be aware of your natural bias to sameness. Don’t just hire more you.
  4. Hire to enhance your actual culture – this means you must have a deep understanding of what that is.
  5. Hire for potential.


  1. Do your homework. This is easier than ever now, so no excuses.
  2. Cost-based pricing is largely a mistake.
  3. Be bold – pick a number that displays the value that you create.
  4. Create favorable comparisons. Position a product so that customers feel like they are getting a fair deal. (physical position matters, store front, etc)
  5. Be prepared to repeat Steps 1-3

Launch: Every launch is a movement

  1. Communicating with the outside world about your product is marketing. Be intentional when you’re doing it.
  2. Successful marketing requires listening first. Find your customers needs, and listen to them.
  3. Every product launch is a movement. Start with who you know, and build word of mouth from there.
  4. Marketing is powerful. But no amount of marketing can save a product people don’t want.

How to Make It In America:

  1. Being an outsider can be an advantage – you’re in a position to see new opportunities and question the status quo.
  2. Lean means Green – starting a business on a budget can help you be disciplined about your priorities
  3. Recognize your invisible capital – your intangible skills, can also be your most valuable ones
  4. Know WHY you’re working towards the goal you set for yourself.

The Future of Work:

  1. Start slowly, in the gig economy you can build your own pace
  2. Find your niche – “There are riches in niches”
  3. Rating matter – these are human to human interactions. People on the side of those stars.

How to Reinvent Your Business:

  1. Adjust for “hidden competition curve” – How is the competitive landscape changing around you while you’re heading down
  2. Re-invent = redefine. You may need to switch your companies identity
  3. Rethink your target customer
  4. Lean into what sets you apart as a biz owner. Pay attention to “soft” intangible, unscaleable skills
  5. Be open to expanding your products or services. Don’t just re-badge your old ones

Customer Service in the Digital Era

  1. Communicate proactively with your customer. You can’t hide in today’s connected world.
  2. Manage your customer’s expectations – be consistent and make real promises
  3. Take responsibility and deliver on promises – you are always accountable as the seller. OWN IT
  4. Customer Service has a cost – factor it into your business plan.
  5. Be prepared to lose money in the short term, to help your brand in the long term.

Bootstrapping 101

  1. Bootstrap if at all possible – sell products or services first, use profits to grow  (customers are the best source of capital)
  2. Seeking outside funding: Take only exactly what you need. Too much 💰 makes you stupid
  3. Weigh your options. Every form of funding has its own risks/costs

Surviving Failure

  1. Be nimble – in order to survive failure you have to be able to adapt and not rely on your traditional way of doing business
  2. Shut out the noise – anything that distracts you from your core business is JUST A DISTRACTION
  3. Embrace Plan B – The version of your business that survives may not be the
  4. There’s no shortcut to success – building takes time. Everyone loves the story of the rocket ship, but the work is keeping that bitch in orbit.

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