“Business only exist because customers want them to.” -Michael Gerber
Good morning Freedom Fighters!
Today I want to talk to you for a bit about a fundamental business concept that is WAY too often overlooked. A lot of would-be entrepreneurs don’t really take the time to think about why a business should exist in the first place. They rush in and never bother to aim or look around. They hurry to create marketing, build a website, gain followers and “Likes” on their social media pages. But they end up running down the wrong path, working hard and struggling but never really getting anywhere.
But it gets worse…
If you’ve ever read Seth Godin’s book “Meatball Sundae,” then you’ll understand exactly why most marketing campaigns fail. People are in a rush to promote themselves with new media but never really develop a coherent marketing message. Businesses fail for a similar reason. The business owner is in such a rush to grow their business or seek a profit, without first taking the time to know what it is they’re actually doing in the first place. People are in love with the idea of owning their own business. They are in love with the idea of being their own boss. That’s what entrepreneurship is to a lot of people. So many people want to be entrepreneurs – “wantrepreneurs” – but don’t really realize what this game is all about and what it takes to create a REAL successful business.
Don’t make this mistake yourself.
Listen, if you simply do a little it of planning before you create your business, you’re already giving yourself a huge advantage over 99% of other small businesses out there.
Recently I watched a pre-launch video for Eben Pagan’s new “Accelerate” business program. In the video, he analyzed about 40 different websites that small business owners sent him. Basically, at least 90% of them were horrible. He kept saying over and over again that it wasn’t immediately clear what the website was about, who it was for, and what it can do for the person visiting.
The vast majority of the small businesses featured used their websites as a podium to broadcast information about themselves, or abstract verbiage that didn’t make any sense. Actual slogans on the websites said things like: “Moving forward fast” and a cow saying “Don’t be the guy she can’t take anywhere” (for what appeared to be a mobile web design site). For each of these horrible websites, it was not clear what they did and what their business can actually do for the customer.
Here’s what do to instead
Let me ask you – do you find and address a need before you create your product? Or do you create a product and then find people to buy it?
In order for us to graduate from wantrepreneur to true entrepreneur, we need to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking like a customer. You yourself are a customer – you’ve bought a lot of things in your life. Why do you buy them?
The most valuable thing an entrepreneur can do when starting a new business venture is go out and call several different influential people within a target market and ask them to share their perspective. You can arrange to speak with them in-person, or over the phone. Tell them that you’re interested in creating a product that can improve their life and would like some feedback.
When you talk with each person you should identify a few things:
1) what the current pain points are that they (or the market) are experiencing and what they worry about, what their frustrations are, and so on.
2) what their goals are, what they want to see happen, and the opportunities they see.
Just have a conversation with them, with no intention of selling anything. All you want is to find out what’s going on in their world, to identify the pain points, what’s important to them, and the language that they’re using.
“You have to know what’s going on before you get involved.” -Donald Trump
You can shortcut things so much just by having a handful of conversations with actual people. If you’re new in an industry, that’s one of the most important things that you should be doing – have as many conversations with as many influential people within the market as possible. You’re going to learn so much when it comes to their reality and what they’re really looking for. Record these conversations, or take a ton of notes.
You are looking for a NEED, a PROBLEM, something that you can come in and SOLVE. And you are looking to help the person get the things that they WANT.
Added Bonus: This Approach Earns More Money
In my former life as the founder of a digital advertising agency I would sit down with a potential client and employ a consultative sales model. It became evident to me that there were millions of other people offering similar services to what I offered, such as web design, online marketing, and so forth. The one thing I couldn’t let happen was to be viewed as just another person out there selling a commodity. Instead, I wanted to be seen as a marketing partner – someone who has the client’s best interests in mind, that they can trust and count on.
So I followed a “consultative sales model” and asked the right questions. I identified the pain points that each business owner was experiencing in their business. For example, a big one was that business owners don’t feel that they are getting enough customers on a consistent basis. They’re constantly hustling to get more customers, expand their cashflow, and ensure they make payroll. They feel that they can’t grow and expand. They want to get another truck, or open another location. They have all of these pain points in their life, and they also have these opportunities that they want to capture and take advantage of. They also have their strengths in their business, or as a business owner, that they feel they are really great at.
By identifying all of this information, I was able to easily present the services and solutions I had to offer in a way that solves all of the problems they have, empowers them to capture all of the opportunities, and leverage their strengths as a business owner. By doing this, they viewed me not as just another vendor providing a service just like everyone else. They knew me as someone who is on their side, who can provide solutions for the problems and opportunities that they were presented with.
If you follow this simple approach, creating a product that will sell and then selling it becomes VERY easy. This applies to face-to-face selling as well as marketing through print or the web.
Michael Gerber, E-Myth author, says that businesses only exist because people want them to. A truly smart entrepreneur identifies the pains and problems that people have and then creates a business to solve them.
Unfortunately, this is not the way that most people become entrepreneurs. Far too many of us want become entrepreneurs to quit our jobs and find freedom for OURSELVES. So we buy a bunch of resources – books, training courses, audios, trying to learn how to become entrepreneurs. We invest in “systems” sold by marketers that promise turn-key results, if we just follow their blueprint. But here’s the ironic thing – these marketers are following the exact process outlined in this post. They are capitalizing on our own “pain,” they understand our “wants,” and then sell us their system as a “solution!” And so we buy these products.
But simply copying someone else’s model is not really being entrepreneurial. As entrepreneurs we must think a little differently. Be a little bit different. Start applying yourself, perform the exercise I talk about in this blog post, and create a business that’s going to crush it.