I recently had a fascinating conversation with an entrepreneur who has begun to actively reconsider his business model on a new venture he began. To be more to the point, he is really questioning his current customer-base. They are not whom he had expected them to be when he launched so the business is lagging. This entrepreneur switched industries from the one he has found current success. To keep anonymity, let’s just say he was in the hotel industry and now he sells widgets. Stupid example, but you get the picture. He has a passion for widgets, shall we say, always has. So he wanted to take a stab at designing cutting edge widgets that not only attracted a certain consumer-base but pushed the industry forward. Now that is true entrepreneurial spirit, but I digress. Back to the problem; innovation is a tricky venture. All the R&D in the world does not guarantee success when you are creating something new. So it’s not a huge surprise that he missed his expected consumer segment in the beginning. Which basically means he ain’t sellin’ a ton of widgets. (You get that it’s not really widgets, right?)
I am empathetic to his plight, so I want to help. A project. Something to research! I will. But for now consider the magnitude of his dilemma. Reflect on all the thought, mechanics and dollars put into motion on any new venture of innovation. Whether it is a new product line, service offering or widget, they all begin with evaluating today’s (and tomorrow’s) consumers’ wants or needs? Where is the pain? Once identified, you take a leap of faith that you have found a problem for which you can solve and meet a consumer’s expectations. Not only will you hope to meet expectations, you want to improve their existence AND profit from it. With that optimistic glimmer of hope you proceed to develop a business model, build financial forecasting, determine types of lead generation, execute on product development, fulfillment processes and all the other steps it takes to get a product or service or whatever into those consumers’ hands. But after all that hard work – what if you miss the mark? What if your consumer is not whom you expected?
I’m a big believer in change. I tend to dig in, get quiet and get ready to spring, evolve and move on. The answer is out there waiting to be found. Change is inevitable. The good news for us all is that here are a lot of success stories out there to emulate. Here’s one that I thought would be a good pep talk to our widget-maker friend from above.
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