Starting a successful business goes way beyond just having the right product or service. A successful venture is one that solves something better than what already exists, for which people would be willing to pay. It is based on solid reality and not on assumptions and expectations of «what should be.» Entrepreneurship is not just dreaming, it is landing dreams to come true and develop.
Just because it looks wonderful to one does not mean that everyone will find it wonderful. You have to know how to approach it to achieve relevance. A nice idea is useless if there is no one of the best ways when it explains why small businesses fail, saying that often «a business idea is confused with a business opportunity.» They are two very different things, one thing is to have an idea and another to really make a living from it. The first without the second has no future.
Here are 5 questions that will help you better as an entrepreneur:
1. What are we going to solve better than what already exists?
The people to whom we want to sell something have lived and will continue to live without us and whatever we intend to sell to them. They are solving it somehow. It does not matter if it seems to us that they solve it well, fair or bad. It is the level of dissatisfaction or desire for improvement that makes them willing to change the way they solve it.
The world doesn’t need more consultants, cosmetic clinics, auto parts warehouses, restaurants, maintenance companies, or educational institutions. There is enough of all of them. What the world needs are companies that solve something better than what already exists. Going out to be one of them is the fastest route to failure.
2. Who will we really be relevant to?
We need to clearly define our ideal target market, that potential client that when they see what we offer will tell us «And where have you been all this time? This is just what you wanted!» As incredible as it sounds, these people exist, if you are really solving something much better and telling the right people about it.
The first thing to be clear about is that not all of them will be potential customers. Starting a business believing that anyone who walks by should appreciate us and be willing to pay us is pretty far from the truth.
3. What will our differential be?
In other words, why would one person buy from you and not someone else who solves the same thing? Is your argument powerful and relevant enough for customers to change the inertia of the known?
A differential is what a customer perceives that makes their value offer special and justifies buying from them. There are multiple alternatives to differentiate yourself, the important thing is to have a clear story and a specific message that is relevant to your market.
There are too many options to select from and too many bidders for too little demand. Differentiating yourself requires being radical for people to notice. Differentiating yourself requires leaving the «safe» position. Differentiating yourself requires unlearning the hackneyed sales pitches and adopting relevant arguments.
4. Are people willing to pay for our solution?
It is one thing for people to like our idea and another for them to pay for it. In other words, how are we going to «monetize» it? Where will the money come from? As we explained in the article how to define your market when you don’t have customers yet, a good way to measure the true viability of a business idea is to know if people are actually paying for it. It is very different for a person to give you their opinion than to give you their money. The act of handing over money (even a dollar) shows genuine interest and not just moral support.
5. How will they find out about us?
This obvious question often does not have a clear answer. It is common for a lot to be invested in the assembly and previous development of an initiative, so that when it is time to “go on the air”, there are no longer resources to promote itself, just when time and cash flow are pressing.
That is why a very effective way not to start from scratch is to create an audience before setting up the business. If the viability of the venture depends on having clients, starting to promote yourself when you already have galloping fixed expenses is too late. Sales are not generated overnight, they require building trust, making yourself known, telling people your story, having them explore it, and only after a while, they will probably rehearse it. Before starting the business, you can advance in the part of generating trust and building a potential customer base on your social networks, your blog, or another similar tool.