Business is all about selling to consumers what they want and need, in the form of a bundle of products, services, and inevitable experiences, that is a Solution, for more than it costs to produce that Solution. If you can’t do that, then either you haven’t got a business, or you won’t have one for long.
Starting A Business – The Basics
Before you get carried away by your ‘obviously brilliant’ idea/invention and start spending lots of time and money trying to make it a reality, remove your rose-tinted glasses and read and take seriously the following:
- In the beginning, there has to exist a Job To Be Done (problem to be solved), AND
- You need to develop a complete Solution for that Job To Be Done, AND
- Prospective Customers recognising that they have a Job To Be Done and agree that your Solution is the best alternative (doing nothing is an alternative) must exist in sufficient numbers, AND
- Prospective Customers are prepared to pay the price that you need to both ensure your business’s success and to achieve your goals, AND
- Customers are so pleased with your Solution, that they are prepared to advocate on your behalf, to in effect, sell your Solution for you – satisfied customers are not loyal or sufficient, you need advocates.
- Point (1) is critical, as “[b]uild it and they will buy is not a strategy, it is a prayer,” “you cannot create a market or customer demand where there isn’t customer interest.” Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany.
- Customers buy value (via Solutions) from people they trust, not products and services as such.
- It is Customers who decide what is valuable (to them), not you.
- You need to sell your solutions for more than it costs to produce them.
- You need to have an accurate understanding of what all your costs are.
- Prospective or repeat Customers willing to pay the price you need must exist in sufficient numbers to achieve at a minimum consistent sales volume and make consistent profit.
- Customer Experience – Customers will inevitably have experiences at each stage (touchpoint) during the awareness, evaluation, purchase, use, and disposal Solution lifecycle. You don’t necessarily need to develop a Disney Land Experience, but you would do well to design every Customer touchpoint so that at least you don’t frustrate and antagonise them.