If you are not solving a problem, you are not relevant; if you are not a member of the market, the tribe you seek, how can you be relevant?
Seems like everyone must be an entrepreneur these days, from those looking for new opportunities to people with jobs, who are now expected to be self-directed and responsible for generating results.
What’s surprising in all the hype about being an entrepreneur, is that so few understand the basic, primal forces you can unleash for your market, solving their (and your) problem!
Most of us are used to putting up a good facade, trying to impress people with the appearance, that we forget the tools we have at our disposal, that we were born with, and which can help you succeed as an entpreneur:
The Entrepreneur Who Inspired This
This video include a case study from Spiritual Cinema Circle’s Stephen Simon, whom I worked with when he was starting up, and interviewed after his company was acquired by Gaiam within 3 years!
What he did seemed second nature to him, and it truly is, yet so many of those becoming entrepreneurs have never really tapped into this primal force, this true nature of our being.
After a long career producing films in Hollywood, he saw that the industry was just a business of $100 million blockbusters (just to break even). So many powerful stories were being missed, and he wanted to share the power of film beyond the blockbusters, and help get them into people’s homes.
Why Spiritual Cinema Circle? Because he knew his market considered themselves spiritual, so why not be specific; also he knew in his heart that the problem he was solving was for this tribe of spiritual people, a very large group of people who understood the need for positive stories and films.
Which is why I want to share 3 of those primal forces with you today, because what I learned from Stephen and the many startups I have created/helped over the years is that they inherently know something you don’t.
They know that it all begins with the ultimate goal of solving an important problem for your audience.
Primal Force #1: Be Passionate About the
Problem, Not Your Product
You get an idea for a product or service, and it excites you so much that suddenly you become obsessed with what you are creating. That’s all you talk about to friends, family, investors, and eventually your audience.
While that passion and interest is excellent, it is also a bit misdirected. Because the reason you are excited is the problem you solve for your audience, not the product.
If you are really passionate about what you are doing, be passionate about the problem you are solve. This is what should keep you up at night, wondering how to improve your solution.
And it is really why you are in business! Your product or service will pivot to the needs of the market, to your initial tests, and will evolve constantly. The problem, though, tends to be long term and lasting, in fact if it is not an ongoing problem, that makes your business idea a little weaker.
You must love the problem you are solving so much that you will do anything to provide the right solution. This is the passion you should show to the problem, not the product.
Primal Force #2: The Market Is Your Tribe,
and You Are a Member
One of my golden rules of being an entrepreneur is to be just like your market, your tribe. You should need and want to buy the product/service you are offering.
After all, if you do not need this product or are not a member of the tribe, you are an outsider guessing at what these people do. Some can succeed by acting almost as a business anthropologist, studying the behaviors and needs of the audience. Yet any study is biased by the point of view and assumptions you bring to the table.
When you are a part of the tribe, a member, you feel a kinship for those people and want to solve the problem because it helps you, and them. You don’t go in with a point of view or assumptions, you go in with an intense desire to improve the life of your market, your tribe.
Markets are tribes, and you better be a part of one you are designing solutions for, otherwise you’ll just be guessing.
Make sure you would be a customer of the product/service you create, and do your business in service to your tribe.
Primal Force #3:
Prove Your Solution To Your Tribe
Many suggest starting your business with a business plan, it’s what schools across the US teach! A business plan occurs outside your tribe, in your head and maybe the heads of your business team, separate from your market.
Instead of writing a business plan, consider your idea for your product/service as a basic assumption. You do NOT want to assume the answer, you want to prove it to your tribe.
The best way to do this is to go out, before you are preparing the product or service, and get in touch with your market. Go to Facebook and Twitter, asking questions of leading experts, journals, and of your audience.
Call a group of possible customers, with permission, and run your idea by them. Have them repeat what you said to them out loud on the phone, and listen to where they stumble, and are confused.
Most of all, see if you can sell your idea before creating the product or service, not by lying that you have it, but by integrating the market into your solution.
Prove your solution to your tribe, get their support, and then start creating the product. This may seem counter intuitive, yet it makes so much sense. Otherwise you are doing business the old way, alone and separate from the market.
Remember if you are part of the tribe, you need to prove your solution to the tribe…and listen to what they say the problem really is, it will help you provide a better solution.
They had better be as passionate about the problem as you are!
Getting Primal With Your Tribe:
Start with the End in Mind
You are providing a solution to their problem; that is why you need to fully understand the results they are looking for in the beginning.
You can do so many things today to research the problem; look at competitor’s sites (and if you say you have no competition, stop lying to yourself…if there’s no competition, there’s no market!) and read the glowing reviews people say about their products.
Read the words they use, the triggers that show the problem being solved. Go to Amazon.com and research books related to your market, to the problem you are solving.
Read the 4 star reviews sharing what people love, and also read the 1 star reviews, showing what the author missed. These negative reviews show you much more about the primal nature of the problem according to your customer, and are usually simple.
Integrate all this knowledge into your product/service BEFORE you develop it, and you’ll be able to unleash the primal force of your market, your tribe.
What questions do you have about the primal forces of your business, and of yourself as an entrepreneur?