Finding a Business That Will Work

Finding a business that will work


I’ve personally had a few businesses that didn’t work. I had some that worked and then stopped working. I had some that never worked at all.

What I learned from those experiences was:

  1. Just because a business works now doesn’t mean it will work forever. All of the factors that make a business viable: market, customers, products / services, brand, value proposition, available resources, external forcing functions, etc., all change all the time. A business’ viability is actually a lot more tenuous that we think when we’re at the controls and everything seems to be working. What we don’t realize is that any of the key factors that makes the business viable can disappear or radically change overnight. That’s why businesses that survive long-term typically reinvent themselves every five to seven years. They have to reinvent themselves in order to adapt to the ever-changing conditions.
  2. Just because an idea sounds great, seems great and makes a fantastic diagram on a bar napkin does not make it a viable business. Every business that didn’t work at all for me was an idea I had that I was convinced was a “can’t miss” opportunity. Every one of them missed. What I didn’t do, that you must do, is start by identifying an unmet need in the marketplace and then meet that need. That’s the definition of a business: Filling an unmet need in the market in a sustainably profitable manner. The piece I missed was the “unmet need” part. I was convinced my ideas were so awesome that need wasn’t required. I was wrong.

So, my advice to you about finding a business that will work is:

  1. Identify an unmet need in the market.
  2. Test to see if you can meet that need in a sustainably profitable manner.
  3. Do so.
  4. Never, even for one millisecond, assume that just because the business is sustainable today that it will be tomorrow.
  5. Enjoy the ride!

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