TLDR: In another subreddit someone asked if anyone had any suggestions/insight as to how to go about getting ideas for starting a business cuz they felt stuck. I wrote this reply, people seemed to like it so perhaps it'll help someone out here as well. Three things to get ideas: 1. Don't obsess over ideas, focus on problems. 2. Look at current solutions (which prove there's a real problem) and determine how you improve those. 3. Look at difficult but straightforward problems that, if solved, will instantly have an audience.
Let's get into it.
Hello, I am a 20 year old looking into starting a business and I have been so stuck lately.. I have experience in building e-commerce stores, but never have really found much success on the marketing side of things. Any suggestions on where to find business ideas for a business to start, inspiration, or books to read to learn the language of business, marketing or anything related to that nature. Thank you guys…
i. Keep an annoying book.
Everything that’s annoying, write it down. If something pissed you off, bothers you or is frustrating, put it in the book. Any time you hear yourself think “FFS it’s 2020! Why on earth is this so cumbersome!” Write it down.
Training your mind to start noticing shit that’s broken is a great place to start. I also think it’s a big fat lie that you find Google, Netflix or any other hugeee unicorn idea by searching for them.
You notice them by observing what frustrates you, and most of the time that’s small.
Think of Uber (wanted to be ballers in San Fran)
Warby Parker (lost his glasses and designer glasses would cost you your firstborn plus grandma)
or Spanx (wanted her butt to look good so cut off feet of pantyhose, but it kept cropping up.)
I can give hundreds more examples of these.
ii. The second one is a bit harder. You’re basically looking for proof that there’s a human need for smth and then you try to find the next iteration of that.
At my company, we call this archeology (which is a subset of pragmatic behavioral psychology). You’re essentially excavating a site to find an artifact.
You didn’t create that artifact, it was already there.
So you’re looking for a way to give people a better version of smth they already want.
An example of this could be, you see the horse and expensive cars, and decide to create a cheap car for everyone (Ford).
You see huge mainframes and decide to build a ghetto personal computer (Woz at Apple).
You see blogs and wanna pull them into one spot (Ev’s Medium).
This approach requires you to look at the current solution, figure out the problem they’re trying to solve and then trying to figure out what the next iteration would be like.
The best part is that risk is slightly reduced because you know where to find your users, who they are and that there’s demand (because there already products trying to solve the problem).
There is one last one for the sake of being complete.
iii. Hard tech
These are pretty easy. In these situations, you already know what people want but all the difficulty is in figuring out how to create the damn thing.
Curing cancer, getting to mars, solving the aging problem.
This was pretty much the landscape of startups back in the 60s -90s btw. You knew what users wanted, the hard part was just making the hardware.
Think of Fairchild semiconductor and companies like that.
So there you have it, what you need to know to come up with ideas.
One final note, execution is everything.
When you have an idea, you actually don’t really have an idea.
What you have is the building blocks that you need to use to turn into testable hypotheses. (Yes I’m aware that’s a tautology but I wanna stress it.)
It needs to be falsifiable. The quicker you validate your idea the better.
There are two ways:
The right way and the stupid way (being facetious).
The first one is to assume your hypothesis is false and prove yourself wrong by getting 3 paying users in a weekend.
The second way is to assume your hypothesis is right and try to disprove that by investing time and money until you run out.
The problem with the latter approach is that if you’re right (and you don’t run out of money) you’ll succeed. But the much more likely situation is that you’ll burn through months (or years) of time and tons of money before finally realizing your idea is a dog and markets don’t want it.
So optimize for accepting false negatives (rejecting good ideas based on failed MVP) vs the other way around. Should you want to learn more about this approach, this essay covers that topic in more detail: Paradigm Shift: Drastically Increase The Odds of Success
Accepting false positives out of fear of rejecting a good idea.
Unfortunately, that’s both very difficult emotionally and highly counterintuitive.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it I write rigorous essays about entrepreneurial science to help founders and companies over at https://www.younglingfeynman.com/featured
In this ‘new normal’ it’s not more time, but THIS, that’s the holy grail of life and business
Has anyone else secretly worried that they accidentally manifested a worldwide pandemic? Because the top 3 things in my future vision journaling for about a year now have been:
- My husband works at home (so I don’t have to do all the childcare)
- I run my business in just a few short hours a day
- We spend lots of time together as a family
“Not like this!” I journal frantically on day 1 of lockdown. It feels like those awful wish reversals you get in fairytales where your wishes are indeed granted, but only in the most ironic and terrible ways.
Abracadabra! The world’s now in peril, your kids rarely leave your side, your husband’s going to work from home (but only emerge to look in the fridge), oh and here’s your new work day: AKA the crack of dawn, and “crikey, it’s midnight!” Enjoy!
On day 2 of lockdown I realise I do not have the patience of Mary Poppins and that our teachers are indeed underpaid; perhaps my children are going to have to settle for ‘The School of Life’ for a few weeks (or even months?!).
On day 3, I have a mini meltdown in the shower and sob into the soap dish over the future of the world, my business and my children (who are apparently now destined to be educated by a mentally unstable mother who doesn’t even know what a number bond is).
But on day 4, something miraculous happens: I feel better!
Months and years of mindset work and gratitude finally kick in, and I emerge from that dark place of fear, mourning and worry we all seem to have been tipped into, and realise that:
Yes, we’ve been forced to slow down, and yes, we’ve been forced to create space, and yes, it’s happened in the most horrible way; but even with all the extra scariness and worry and uncertainty; without the rush of the old world and the necessity to live our lives around someone else’s timetable, I can finally see the truth in that saying that, with change, comes opportunity.
We can either use this time to freeze and bemoan all the plans and dreams that will now have to be postponed or forgotten; or we can stop focusing on all that we’ve lost, and redirect our attention to all that we’ve gained.
I hate to say this, but for me and anyone else with children and/ or a job that can be done from home, more time isn’t necessarily one of those things we’re gaining – so don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you’re suddenly going to be able to write your book or launch that new membership program…
But actually, after a few more days in our ‘new normal’, I realise that although my days are definitely longer and fuller and involve far more parenting and far less actual working than ever before; it has also meant that I’ve had to pare back everything to the pure essentials, and there’s no doubt about it, this forced simplicity has created something I now suspect is more precious than that holy grail of more time: it’s given me back my headspace.
Because without the rush that bookends my days; the school runs and the work trips, the homework, the social events, the clubs, appointments, obligations, and all the other mental acrobatics that go into running a 21st Century life, I realise that it’s not lack of time that’s been stopping me from doing all the things I want to do, like write my book, or tap into my business vision, have more self care, or be more present with my kids (time is just an illusion, after all).
No, the thing that’s really been holding me back, is a lack of room in my mind to see things clearly, a lack of space to daydream, and a train of thought that’s constantly being stopped and diverted.
Maybe it wasn’t the new skeleton schedule, or personal development seminar, or more help around the house that I needed to help me achieve those dreams. Maybe what I really needed all along was a pattern interrupt; something that would slow me right down. And suddenly here we have it; the mother of all pattern interrupts; not really holding us back so much as reining us in, so we can slow down and see the opportunities already here.
So 2020 isn’t exactly panning out how I’d planned it – I’m sure you know how that feels – and while I know there’ll still be moments of frustration, fear and sadness for all of us, I’ve decided to take what the universe has given me (more family time and more togetherness), embrace the change, go with the flow, trust, and look for the opportunities that were here all along.
And you know what? Maybe that’s how slowing down to speed up really works; because in the little under 2 weeks since this all began, that book that’s been sitting outlined in my google docs for months has already been turned into a mini ebook ready for my VA to make pretty in Canva (and the extended version is on its way); and that membership I’ve had all the content for but no ‘time’ or energy to launch – it’s going live later this month so I can serve more people who need what I’ve got.
Yes, the road ahead is uncertain right now, but I’m beginning to trust that I’ve got all the tools I need within me to weather the storm (or at least Amazon Prime, probably does). So now’s the time to stay out of fear and stay in momentum; to show up and serve with no other agenda than serving; to be scared without being scary (as Brene Brown very aptly said); and to look for the opportunities that were already there.
And hopefully, when this is all over, l may still not know what a number bond is, but at least I’ll be ready to rise with the tide. Will you rise with me?
Words by Cate Butler Ross.
7-Step Ideal Customer Profile framework that helped me to generate $200k in sales opportunities after ABM campaign
I've recently finished reverse engineering my process I use to develop an ideal customer profile. This exact process helped me recently to:
- Improve one of my client's positioning, so they were perceived as a niche industry experts by their customers.
- Create a hyper-targeted list of B2B prospects that are the excellent fit for their service
- Generate $200k in sales opportunities after ABM campaign we ran
This client operates in highly-competitive space (software development) where they used to be a "one size fits all" vendor for many years.
Here are the 7 steps I use.
#1 – Select a specific market segment
ICP is the impersonation of your key customers from a specific market segment.
Lots of B2B companies miss this step and make the same mistake. They export all the data from the CRM and create a universal customer avatar.
As a result, they move to the "one-size-fits-all" approach and spray their efforts instead of focusing on specific segments. Keep in mind that for every market segment, you need to create a standalone ICP.
#2 – Choose 10 key customers from that market segment
All clients weren't created equal.
The Pareto Principle tells that 4% of customers might generate 64% of your revenue. Our goal is to find this 4 % and add them to the ICP template.
As a rule of thumb, I suggest selecting 10 best clients from a particular segment.
If you don't have this amount of customers, add as many as you have. It's always better to work with some data than just brainstorming.
#3 – Fill in the ideal client profile template
The next step is filling the ICP template (here is a screenshot: https://monosnap.com/file/aBmAuNYebkJYcT6ZfuerZjxm8zRLAM).
You'll need to analyze your accounts, their buying committee structure, and run in-depth customer interviews.
You can collect from your CRM the available data as sub-industry (e.g., software development or marketing automation software), location, revenue, our revenue (the total volume of sales to this customer), and team size.
#4 – Define the buying committee members and collect public info about them
Our next step is to define the buying committee. There are several ways how we can do it.
The first step is to analyze CRM and talk to sales.
In CRM, check who was in the email thread. Look for replies and CC. The sales team might provide you more insights. Ask them:
- Did the Champions or Decision-makers mention anybody from their team whom they want to talk to?
- Did anybody else from the client's team join the calls/meetings?
Once you'll figure out these people, open LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and find them. If you don't see them on LinkedIn, search on Facebook and Twitter.
Once you finally find the buying committee members, copy to the ideal customer template their job roles, approximate age, and social media activity (do they post anything? How often?).
As well, I recommend checking what websites content do they share in their profile, what influencers content do they engage with or follow, what communities are they in.
#5 – Analyze the buying process
#6 – Enrich Ideal Customer Profile with in-depth customer interviews
In the previous steps, we collected the available public information about your key customers, defined the buying committee, and interviewed sales. Only this process should provide you great insights about your ideal customers.
Now let's enrich your ideal customer profile by interviewing your best customers.
The insights you'll gain not only will help you to develop a better ICP but amplify your value proposition, polish the company's positioning, and improve the efficiency of all marketing programs you are running.
#7 – Define ideal customer profile from existing data
The last step is the easiest one.
It's to analyze all the data you've collected from your best customers from the specific market segment and create an ideal customer profile. As you get it, ICP is a combination of patterns, features, and information about your best customers.
Sometimes you might be perplexed with what you should put in the ICP template. When you have concerns or doubts, take a look at the customers with the most significant share in revenue, and put the data you've collected about them into the template.
Hope this process will help you also to define the ideal customer profile and improve prospecting.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
If you'd like to get more details, you can read about the entire process here: https://getleado.com/ideal-customer-profile
Demonstrating Persistence And Consistency In The New Global Culture by @coachlorimcneil
by Lori McNeil
There are a few times in a women’s life that make such a substantial impact on them to which they will never forget. Your wedding day. Your first child. Your first love. Your first break up. The list could go on. However, as it relates to business there is one day that no one will forget. The day that the world changed globally. 2020 has begun with some amazing changes in how businesses are showing up for their clients, but more importantly, themselves and their families.
One of the greatest asset’s female entrepreneurs have is utilizing our natural ability to multi-task life into the business world. This new global culture is paying attention more intently than ever before, and women business owners have never been better positioned to lead this new economy.
Two concepts come to the forefront in order to accomplish this: Persistence and Consistency.
Persistence is Power
Persistence in its simplest terms is sustained action. Action creates movement. Momentum moves mountains. That movement is powerful. Alongside of that power comes influence. One of the purest emotions is influence because no one knows just how deep their influence goes. Because of that there is a sustained humility that often comes with persistency. Every entrepreneur knows the importance of influence and women take that emotion to heart in every moment.
For persistence to gain traction and momentum one must first show up. Remembering next to never give up. Accepting the fact that laziness is nothing more than manifested excuses and the end result of persistency is in how it blesses others, is a great leveling and positioning tool. Operating in the global culture demands for sustained action. This action fuels consistency.
Consistency Carries the Control
Showing up and pushing through challenges (there are always challenges along the way) is the fruit of persistence. In other words, is consistency lets others know your serious. The rhyme and reason for your consistency is your own. Whether you show up once a month, once a week, or once a day is not as important as just showing up. Consistency is like visiting your great grandmothers house knowing that each time you do she has hot, homemade cookies ready for you to devour.
Consistency says that you value other people enough to give of your time for them. As others see the value you bring, they will reciprocate. This is where the control is. Not a control as in power but a control that brings people into alignment. That alignment allows for relationships to grow and prosper.
The Voice Of Reason And Truth
The new global culture is screaming for authenticity and honesty from all four directions. What sets a person apart from another is their calling card. The stronger your foundation is, the easier it is to maintain the momentum of persistence.
Allow consistency to be your calling card.
Would you like to learn how to maintain persistence or create consistency? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
International Educator, Speaker, Author, and Business Coach, Lori helps entrepreneurs and organizations focus on foundational tools needed for sustained success. As a Curriculum Designer and Business Professor, Lori has helped grow hundreds of organizations organically to build a true, long-lasting purpose. Lori has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, & various regional markets. She has authored / co-authored several books and works globally to support literacy, cancer research, young entrepreneurship, and military programs. Helping raise over three million dollars for literacy, Lori was awarded the Lifetime Presidential Service Award for her work. For more info visit www.lorimcneil.com.
The post Demonstrating Persistence And Consistency In The New Global Culture by @coachlorimcneil appeared first on She Owns It.
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