The process of coming up with a new business and its practices is an exciting, and hectic, time. During all of the planning, meetings, and setting up, it's important to keep reminders of what practices will keep your idea – or purpose – alive.
Here are four things to keep in mind as your business idea moves from inception to reality.
What problem needs to be solved?
A business is meant to be a problem-solving machine. Some businesses create products that are used to solve problems for people, while other businesses provide services. Ultimately, we need to develop ideas that will be valuable to people – this comes before anything else.
The customer knows what the solution is
When starting a business or building a new product, you don’t always have to invent something new or be super innovative. You simply need to give the target customers what they will pay for.
If the customer expects a certain level of quality, give it to them. If they expect a certain size or color, give it to them! Once you know what problem needs to be solved, let the customer tell you what the solution should be.
Find out what the customers want by asking them, doing market research and industry research, or even thinking about what you would want (if you fit the target market profile). You can use focus groups and trial runs to get feedback about the products and services you develop. Let the customer direct the path.
The goal is not to come up with a perfect solution
When starting out, you are not building a Ferrari. You are building a 1920s Ford.
The goal is not to make a perfect business or solution. The goal is to build a business that operates and gets a specific pain solved. Over time, you will continually tweak your business to make it better.
After a few years, you may find that you have a Ferrari, but that’s not where you start. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good when starting a business. Remind yourself often that the goal of starting a business is to make money by solving problems, not to be perfect.
Keep the business model simple
The old adage of thinking outside of the box may not work for your specific business. If you can’t explain your business to someone by writing it down on a napkin, it’s probably too complicated to be successful.
There are only a few types of business models. Know them. Apply one of them to your business. Be creative with everything else – don’t be creative with the business model. There should be a clear solution you provide to a clear target customer. The rest of the business will be built on this principle.
Then, keep a laser focus on the pain and solution scenario no matter what stage your business is. This is what will keep you moving forward no matter what the future holds.