Passion ≠ Business
Marketing ≠ Business
Sales ≠ Business
Money ≠ Business
Competitive edge ≠ Business
So what makes a good business?
It’s value. The value to the customer.
Too simple and obvious, I know. But then why are some entrepreneurs still forgetting this essential fact?
I can’t tell you how much I cringed when I actually heard a new ‘business owner’ say, “So what? It’s good enough.”
He was referring to a suggestion made by more than one of his customers. They had all made the same recommendation: to add a certain feature to the product.
And after literally 4 seconds of consideration (yes, I counted), he dismissed the idea (which was an interesting one).
If his venture had just been a hobby or a way to pass the time, I wouldn’t have been bothered by his attitude. But the business was something he had invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money into. In other words, he was counting on it for life.
So what made him say something as idiotic as that?
Slip of the tongue?
Probably all of those combined. But I also recall this guy saying something along the lines of: “We should tell the customers what they want.”
Please – do not listen to that. That is not true.
The consumer market and consumer profiles are constantly changing. So even if you’ve been in business for decades, they’re difficult to define or predict. The fact is, we can’t decide for customers. They’re the ones who make the decisions.
Business planning expert, Tim Berry, says: “It’s not about you and what you want. It’s about them, your customers, and what they want… I believe in the underlying idea that businesses depend on value – value to the customer – and values – the people in the business have to believe in it.”
Some questions to ask yourself:
1. Have you done the market research?
2. Have customers told you that they love the service/product you offer? Or have potential customers told you that it’s a good idea, and said why?
3. Is this business only about you and what you want?
4. Is your idea/passion truly the foundation for a good business? Can growth occur naturally?
5. I guarantee that someone else out there sells something similar, if not the same. So what makes your offer unique or different? What would make a customer switch from another business to yours?
6. Related to the above, do you have clear benefits? Not something vague such as “a quality product”, but something concrete: a speedy loading time (for a software application), free social media guide (with online marketing consulting), discounted delivery, etc.
7. Is the value worth the money the customer pays? (Hint: it’s even better if the value exceeds the price.)
8. How will you maintain development/progress?
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So offer people something of value. Something they really want or need. And if you can do that and keep it up, your business is on its way to success… if it hasn’t already achieved it.