Want to have a successful business? Want it to be relatively quick and easy to build? Here’s what you do.
First, look around and identify the largest group of people you can reach easily. If you are a member of the chandler’s union and you know how to reach several thousand candle makers free, they’d be a good group to start with.
Second, study those people and figure out what one thing they want most. For example, your candle makers may need more effective promotion, a cheaper source for wax or new wick materials that burn more slowly or more brightly.
Third, figure out how to give those people what they want. As you develop your solution, show it to people in this group and confirm that you are developing exactly what they need and what they are willing to pay for.
Fourth, begin producing and delivering the solution on a small scale. Let your profits drive growth for as long as possible, then work with outside funders to scale your business over time.
That is the easiest and fastest way to build a successful business quickly. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Find a group of people who want something and then give it to them.
Why Don’t People Build Companies This Way?
Most people start a business with a pretty firm idea of the solution they want to sell, the way they want to sell it and the people they want to sell it to.
Sadly, the products and services most of us want to sell represent our personal interests and passions far more than they represent the needs and interests of any large group of people around us.
The way we want to sell our products and services has more to do with what would be convenient to us, and the people we want to sell to are those we find interesting and they may or may not have the money to buy what we want them to buy..
In all sincerity, most of us start a business having made a huge number of decisions we are quite passionate about with little regard for any reality outside ourselves. Letting go of some offering the market just seems inclined to reject over and over again is the best way to get your business over a hurdle.
Do You Really Have to Give Everything Up?
The practical advice outlined above seems to indicate it’s necessary to give up everything you like most about your business in a search for revenue, but the truth is you can usually get by with giving up less.
If you are willing to change your product or service, you can usually keep the cool people you want to serve. If you want to keep your product or service, you may, over time, find a group of people that needs it.
Arbitrarily retaining one or more elements of a business that aren’t working won’t necessarily put you out of business, it will just slow your development and make the process of getting your enterprise off the ground slower and harder.
On the other hand, building a business based on a product or service you like, or for a target market you happen to like supporting, can make owning a business more enjoyable than running a business based on what elements come most easily to hand, even if the latter enterprise quickly becomes more profitable.
If Your Business is Struggling
Take a moment and think about your business. Consider its target market, what you are offering that group of people, and your current sales.
What are the arbitrary or “convenient” elements in your current business model. What important characteristic could you change about your product or service that would make it more valuable to those you serve? Who else can your solution work for? How would changing those elements impact sales? Answering these questions when your business is struggling will often help it struggle less.