Before starting, you need to find out if there’s anyone out there that really wants to buy what you’re selling.
As I mentioned in a prior post, it’s important that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people want to buy what you think you want to sell.
This video talks about how important it is to build up trust first. I like his point about thinking about what other people want rather than what you think you want to sell them.
At this point, some people bring up Steve Jobs. Yes, he was a brilliant marketer who could create want and need. But let’s think back to 1976 when the first Apple I was invented. There was a small market for home computers that Radio Shack (TRS-80) and Commodore (Pet) were moving into.
The Steves also lived in Silicon Valley where nerds were building their own computers. They were able to create one that was friendly looking and worked well. And thus, they sold into an existing market.
In the early 1980’s, Steve Jobs visited Xerox Park in Menlo Park and saw a computer with a guided user interface (GUI) and a mouse. He saw the need for a friendlier computer for the masses. Kids were using computers in schools. People were using computers in their offices. It was a natural progression to making a computer for the home.
Steve Jobs kept pushing the envelope, and people responded well to it. It wasn’t always that way.
When you’re starting out, look for something that people will buy. You’re better off selling them things similar to what they are already buying.
My favorite T Harv Eker example is that the best person to buy a hamburger is someone who has already bought one. They know they like them and will want another.
Competition is Your Friend
There are some markets that are really difficult to break into. I won’t pretend there aren’t. But that’s where differentiation is your friend.
USPS used to have the lock on delivering packages. Then along came FedEx and UPS. But it didn’t end there, did it? You’ve probably seen DHL. They specialize in businesses. FedEx differentiated themselves by being the first company that would promise and guarantee overnight delivery.
Think how many pizza parlors, coffee stores and hair salons are in your town. For each of them to survive, they’ve had to craft a way of being different. One pizza parlor caters to kids’ sports teams. Another has a play structure for little kids.
What problem are you solving, and how do you do it differently than others?
Competitor to Collaborator
If you want even more money coming in, find someone you think is a competitor. Then find ways where you collaborate. I’ve seen plumbers do this. One specializes in repiping homes. Another specializes in repairing leaks. They refer clients to one another, and get to focus on what they do best.
Where can you do this in your business?