It’s what we create for the people who care. The truth is we never know how hard it was to deliver the right product, at the right place at the right time. We only care that it was.
What we (the entrepreneurs, producers, marketers) had to go through is not part of the consideration set. It isn’t charity, it’s about them. So if we nail it and deliver the project quickly, we needn’t feel guilty or less deserving. Likewise, if it took us 5 years of hard working weekends and nights, that’s also no reason to feel a level of entitlement. We need to feel what they feel – underwhelmed or overwhelmed with what we deliver, how we got there is far less important.
Apple Inc sold an amazing 700,000 ipads on launch day. That’s around $350 million in revenue in one day. Most of the eager purchasers didn’t have full knowledge of what the gadget was even capable of. Which makes me ask these simple questions:
(A) Is Apple the most trusted brand in the world with loyalists? (B) And if so what creates such zealotry?
Startup Blog Answers:
(A) Yes, I think so.
(B) Abridged answer: Over delivering to expectations on multiple occasions.
The only other brands I can even think of people buying into without knowing what they are actually getting is the ever lasting life that comes with most religions!
Startup blog says: Over deliver, be patient and get compound returns.
There are no prizes for originality in business. There is no shame in copying others, sorry – idea borrowing. So many aspiring entrepreneurs say they are just waiting for a great idea. The original idea for them to launch a startup under. I was once this person too. And I was so very wrong. I learned the hard way by losing half a million in venture funding that originality is over rated. I’m convinced highly original ideas increase our probability of financial failure.
The startup blog view is this: originality is for artists.
Let me explain. People want change they can cope with, and so the business world (consumers) are most likely to reward incremental improvements. Ideas which people can cope with. Ideas that are easy to spread because the audience has a reference point. Something to switch to, a substitute. Yes, radical products and services can be a success, but they are so rare (especially with low and self funded businesses) that it is tactically foolish to chase them. We ought leave that to large corporations, and heavily VC backed startups.
It comes back to our objective – do we want to run a business, or be original? It’s rare to achieve both, so make the choice early and know whether you are an artist or an entrepreneur.
Our job as entrepreneurs is really to build a business in which people depend on. The best we can possibly hope for is having a group of people at both ends of the value chain who really need us. Not just customers, but suppliers as well.
Suppliers who need us to succeed so they can feed off our success. Customers who need our stuff to get through their months, weeks or days. When we are needed, we are on our way to have a solid business.
Do your people in your supply chain need you to exist?
5% of our customers wont pay on time
5% of our customers wont pay at all
5% of our employees wont deliver what they are paid to
5% of our employees will steal and or damage company property
5% of business partners will break contracts and even worse, not keep their word
5% the people we meet will be genuinly dishonest and painful to deal with
It’s the 5% rule. In fact quite often business discussion are too often focused on the 5% of times the business model will break down and we will get cheated in some way. The amount of strategy, board room and agency discussions I’ve had about the 5% of people who make business models and ideas imperfect are countless. The point for startups, no less any business, is to accept the fact that all models have gaps. And more often than not these gaps the doing of the 5% rule.
The problems with trying to remove the 5% is that we build gates and protections which often stuff up the 95% which is working. We create unnecessary friction. What we are better off doing is thinking about the problem like water evaporation. It’s going to happening, no matter what we try. But we must remember that the very large majority of people are good.
My advice is simple. Know that it exists, and forge ahead anyway.