This is another in my series for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The full posting appears on my small business and entrepreneur blog, BobWarfield.com.
Many Entrepreneurs identify too much with their product or idea. They want to go from a product idea to a plan for success. But that’s not the best way and if you insist on following that approach, it can often lead into a long blind alley.
Here’s a question I saw on Quora recently:
I want to be an entrepreneur but I have no idea what business to start.
The answers were all about going for it with whatever product or service was easy to hand:
- “If you have a skill that is in demand, do that as a freelancer.”
- “Just get it started. There is no work called failure.”
- “Sell anything that comes your way by chance.”
- “…the other suggestions about starting a business solving other peoples’ problems, i am a firm believer too.”
- “The problems you face or your family or your friends.”
Those were the most upvoted answers. Every single one jumps ahead to selling somethingrather than on finding someone to sell it to.
Minutes later, I answered a friend’s question on Facebook, and it was the identical theme. He’d read my post announcing this blog. He said he was joining the mailing list, but since he had no product ideas he wasn’t sure how useful it would be.
I told him to build an audience first and then build the product. His reaction was that I was putting the cart before the horse. But it’s really not–you need to start from audience, not product. The reason is simple, and this is what I told my friend:
It turns out building the product and hoping they will come is how you put the cart before the horse. Until you know your audience well and know that you can reach enough of them to matter, the product doesn’t matter.
There are so many ideas and products out there that have never succeeded because of that. But, there are very few cases of building a significant audience that never got monetized. I can only imagine those that didn’t were due to lack of trying.
I started preaching this approach way back in 2012. I wrote about finding an audience before a product on my Smoothspan / Enterprise Irregulars blog that year.
I believe in it fervently. It’s how I went about starting my Solopreneur business, CNCCookbook.
I wasn’t as systematic about finding my audience as I would be today. But I made sure I had an engaged audience that I could grow before I tried to do anything else.
Like what you read on CNCCookbook?
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