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Kacharagadla Featured Article

5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

3 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before 2016 Comes To A Close

Now that Christmas is over, we find ourselves in the strange no-man’s-land that exists between the excitement of the Holidays and the start of the new year.
Offices are closed, clients are on vacation, and entrepreneurs are often faced with the strange and frightening prospect of free time.
If you’re like me, you might find adjusting to this excess of free time a little frustrating. After all, any disruption to a well-established routine can cause heartburn for Type-A personalities.
Well, fear not my fellow Type-A entrepreneurs. I have the solution to this pernicious problem. Over the years, I’ve found that the trick to making the most of this week is to approach it with a sense of purpose, putting real effort into relaxing and recharging.
Go offline
Real relaxation is difficult to achieve, due in no small part to the constant deluge of information to which we subject ourselves. Email, text, Slack messages, and social media notifications fire off in a regular cadence, constantly demanding our attention no matter where we are.
In order to gain perspective and think clearly, you have to actively distance yourself from these distractions. The only way to accomplish this is just to unplug.
This, of course, is far easier said than done. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to this never-ending flow of information.
It makes me feel connected, productive, and secure. The unfortunate reality, however, is that constant connectivity provides a false sense of comfort. We often mistake connectivity for true connection and being busy for true productivity.
Unplugging and going analog for a period can help reset your system and force you to be present in the current moment. This forced mindfulness can be challenging, but it’s the first and most important step toward relaxing and recharging.
Get back to your roots
It’s easy to forget why you started your business in the first place. After all, the demands of running an organization are often extreme and draining.
Now that you’ve unplugged and are focused on recharging, the next step is to rediscover your passion. That sounds like a gargantuan task, but I think it’s more manageable that you might think.
Start by going back to your initial source of inspiration for your business. For me, the idea for my company, BodeTree, came from the serendipitous moment where I was working on a financial model while reading Ronald Alexander’s “Wise Mind, Open Mind.” Alexander’s classic work on mindfulness and Zen Buddhism helped inspire me to bring Zen to the world of small business finance.
I truly believe that running a business from a holistic perspective can and should be simple, easy, and enlightening. That is my passion, and it is what motivates me to drive my company forward each and every day.
I’m revisiting “Wise Mind, Open Mind” this week, just to recapture my eureka moment and experience that moment again. If you're not sure what to read, check out my latest book, "Enlightened Entrepreneurship." 
Give yourself a performance review
There is no lonelier job than being an entrepreneurial CEO. It’s a position with no peers, only employees, and shareholders. It’s difficult to get honest and actionable feedback, so you have to have a strong sense of self-awareness in order to survive.
Without self-awareness, it’s impossible to control your reaction to the trials and tribulations that life so often presents. This is especially important for leaders, as their actions (either conscious or unconscious) set the tone for the entire organization. Doing a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what excites you or causes anxiety, is one of the most important exercises a leader can do.
The first step towards self-awareness is to recognize and be open about the things that cause stress, anxiety, and negativity in your life. This self-assessment enables you to prepare yourself and your team for the challenges and opportunities that you will face in the coming year.
Remember, positivity and negativity are a choice; the only trick is that you have to be self-aware enough to recognize it. It sounds counter-intuitive, but relaxation is hard work. For Type-A personalities, you have to commit to relaxing and recharging and approach it just like any other project.
The first step is to unplug for a period and simply go analog. This is easier said than done, but it’s necessary if you’re going to escape the distractions of the status quo.
Next, take the time to rediscover your passion. Get back to your roots and remember what inspired you to start your business in the first place.
Finally, work towards self-awareness by doing a self-assessment. Consider your strengths and weaknesses, and be honest with yourself.
As a leader, you have to take charge of your development. So, be sure to make the most of this week and start the next year off on the right foot.

Chris Myers is the Cofounder and CEO of BodeTree and the author of Enlightened Entrepreneurship.