Frank Herbert in his masterpiece, Dune have written that “a beginning is a very delicate time“! And that it is true not only in sci-fi novels and epic writings but in business as well. Frank Herbert was a very detailed observer of the complex systems’ behavior and described in his work many interactions among them caused by or initiated by seemingly casual or unobserved events or due to the ignorance of a specific situation. The same thing applies to business as well. In order to move to the business world, you need to know exactly “what’s your business is?” And that is not always easy to be answered!
A Common Question
In the past, I had attended many startup events (you know the type; a day dedicated to various events promoting new ideas and approaches and trying to establish connections among various parties) full of eager “startup founders”, angel investors, consultants, and related agents. The events were very interesting, but the most interesting part to me was the events bringing people together and leave them to discuss on their own accord about their thoughts, their designs, and their ventures.
And, no I do not talk, about a room full of people sharing idle pitch talks about whatever they want to promote. I’m talking about a room full of young dreamers, having good ideas and trying to find a way to move on from the idea to a product or service.
One of my favorite “tricks” to such events is a simple question. I used to ask the people I was most interested in: “what’s your business?” Most people would give you the 3-minute pitch (and they lose you forever) while there are some serious people would try to actually understand the question and answer what you have asked them!
These people are usually the ones you have to stay close and interact most, exchanging ideas and knowledge and figure out where they are going to! It is the type of people, that would fill you with energy and provide you a better perspective of your world around you.
The problem is that most entrepreneurs do not know that? They do not know, what their business is and for this reason, they blur a lot the what they actually do.
In such question, they offering answers on what they do, what they produce, for whom their product is, what excellent quality results they had until now, what metrics have been used and what they show by far, etc. But that wasn’t the question!
What’s Your Business?
The questions are slightly trickier. It has been used by trainers, consultants, and coaches to focus and frame your thought towards actual requirements and necessities instead of dreams. On goals instead of useful things never going to see the next day, or which cannot stand the scrutiny of a critical mind.
Such question usually comes as a reality check to help you realize that the product or service you design, produce and market it is not your business. Or is it?
For most people, their products (or their services), are their business. Clever people, with a lot of experience in the current market conditions. But they fail to understand that a product or a service cannot be the solution for someone.
Can be part of a solution, for a specific someone, when a product, is accompanied by an approach, or a method, or a way of using the specific product to his/her own ends, or training or … all the above, but a product per se, cannot be a solution.
Not more than a purchase of anything can make you, more clever, more productive or more efficient in your work without your involvement. And are the same people they frustrated when sales drop failing to see what their business was.
The answer to the “what’s your business?” question requires you to think a little deeper of what you do, how you do it and where you addressed to.
You see, your business as an entrepreneur or business owner is simple. To provide value to the people you can choose to serve. Not products or services. Value!
Value for the people you serve (your niche market if you prefer) might be something:
- is generally missing (or not in the form required) and it can help the people to improve their life, their relationships, their business, etc.
- something urgently required for confronting current situations
- provided a solution to a constant problem or “pain”
- fills in missing the part in a required workflow, procedures, etc.
- makes you see yourself or world in different eyes
- provided prospects, options, and choices, where there were none
- answered a problem you haven’t realized
- provides you value you never imagined in the past
- promote your goals, objectives, vision, mission, etc. in new ways and to new directions
- broadens your perspective on the world
- enhance your life, in more ways than one!
And these are things, no product or service alone can provide you without committing your energy, time and effort to find out what the certain product can do to you and how!
Question: What do you think? You can leave your comments, your questions, your wonderful ideas and your approaches here, in order other people, can benefit from them.