Don’t Start A Business Until You Do This

When you don’t know what to do or have an idea that you want to build a business around, I would inject restraint. There are more things against you than for you. And the downside risk of your business idea being successful is much higher than the upside dream.

I like Derek Sivers’ principle:

“Don’t start a business until people are asking you to.”

See if there is demand first.

Test if there is a flow of demand ongoing.

Meet the demand with what the market asks.

Think about your idea first thoroughly to clarify your strategy:

The downside is much higher than the upside. More things can go wrong than have to go right.

So, what is a strategy to figure out if your idea can work?

You must reduce uncertainty.

Strategy for Productizing

To do this provide a service first. Here is the strategy:

  1. Set yourself up for consulting. Get a website and email that is your namesake – It provides the broadest branding and personalization. People do business with people.
  2. Identify the problem your product or service can solve. Instead of selling your product, use it as a tool to solve a problem for people.
  3. Make deals and solve problems. See if you can solve real problems for real people.
  4. Listen. Tune your solution and make it better.
  5. Scale. If people are asking for your solution, make a product and a company to go bigger.

The goal is to learn and reduce uncertainty. You learn by getting in the trenches and helping rather than imagining what everyone needs. In the process, you get R&D insights to improve your offering. You can make your idea better.

If you find people are asking for you to set up a business, then build the company and product you have found really works. You will have the story, conviction and execution.

If you want help implementing this strategy, feel free to fill out the questions above and let me know. It’s a journey with a lot of payoff in productizing services.

Maybe you want a side gig. Or you have an idea you want to flesh out.

Perhaps, you have sold a business and don’t know what to do next. This is a great approach to learning what you should or want to do next.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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