Do I learn how to program so I can make the next Dropbox? Do I start selling products? How does one create a successful start-up venture?
This question was asked on the QUORA platform which was answered by the most famous marketing consultant non other than Martin Armstrong who works with small and medium size companies on their sales funnels and marketing campaigns. Being a consultant he has the pleasure of interacting with a wide verity of entrepreneurs with very interesting stories, follow him on twitter (Martin Armstrong) and connect with me on Linkedin (Martin Armstrong) for a firsthand look into the life of a marketing consultant and other cool stuff.
Ahh, the “where do I start” question. This takes me back. Speaking from someone who has started many companies, my answer is you must start from your strengths. Ask yourself what are my strengths and what makes me different? Starting from your strengths and what makes you different allows you to separate yourself from your competition. First of all let me point out that having passion is important in business. People should have passion when they are doing business. Business is tough, so you better be passionate about what you are doing.
Now that that is out of the way, let me point out one major component of business success. You have to be smart. You have to go about things in a smart manner. Today the world is far more competitive. There are far more people out there that want to do what you do. So differentiating yourself is the only way to succeed in today’s world. If you have an internet business this is especially true (and in case you haven’t noticed yet, everyone has an internet business). So find out what you are passionate about.
If someone says to me, “Gee, I’m really into snowboarding and I really want to start a snowboarding business,” I would say, Hey that’s great. So what is going to be unique about your snowboarding business? I can go to Big 5 and get a snowboard. Why am I coming to you?
You have to get real clear on that. You better have a clear understanding of your compelling differentiator. They go to your place because when they buy a board from you guys, they are going to be taught specific skills, or you’re going to have someone who is going to customize the board. You better be somebody who lives and breathes it. It’s not just a sales process. What makes you unique is so critical. To be clear I’m not talking about your run of the mill unique either – not the cookie cutter “We care about our customers” BS. I’m talking about something tangible.
If there isn’t a compelling reason for me to do business with you, I’m going to go somewhere else. The minute you are competing on price in today’s world you are in deep trouble. You cannot afford to compete on price. You have to be able to demonstrate you have better quality. You have to be able to demonstrate that, when somebody learns YOUR special sales or marketing strategy, they are going to get clear measurable differences in performance.
Your customer needs to know that when you put a swimming pool in their yard, it’s going to be a one of a kind with a unique design. It’s going to have special water features. It’s made in such a way that’s going to last a life time. It’s going to lower my bill by 33 percent, etc. These are the things you must demonstrate to your customer in order to win them. These kinds of differences are concrete and measurable, and are not based on anything ambiguous. You must plan by actually doing some analysis.
In summation focus on your strengths and what makes you different then pick an industry that alines with these factors. Now I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the great greek philosopher Socrates that pretty much sums it all up, “know thy self.”
Hope this helps, good luck on your journey of entrepreneurship.
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