If I went out to lunch with you and asked, why do people start businesses?
A common response from you might be, “TO MAKE MONEY.”
The realization though is this:
Making money is a by-product.
Successful businesses don’t set out to make millions from Day 1. Of course, they have aspirations to make money long-term, but that is certainly not their #1 driving factor.
What is their driving factor then?
To me, there are three driving factors:
1. Providing Value
When I built our health & fitness company with my co-founder Brandon, our main objective wasn’t to make money. Our main objective was to give individuals a more affordable solution. We saw a need for the service we provided that wasn’t currently being catered to.
Yes. It’s nice (and humbling) when clients pay for our services, but what we truly care about are the results each client gets by working with us. That’s our driving force!
If your business provides value, the money will follow.
2. Serving A Need In the Market
Have you ever heard of the Wright Brothers from Dayton, Ohio? (Wilbur & Orville- invented the airplane).
Most of you have probably heard of the two, but have you ever heard of Samuel Pierpont Langley?
Simon Sinek gives an amazing talk here, where he includes Langley and the Wright Brothers in it.
In the race to build the first flying machine, both Langley & the Wright Brothers wanted to be first.
Langley came from money, was backed with endless amounts of money from the US War Department, and from the Smithsonian.
The Wright Brothers came from a poor family, had no college educations, and had no significant financial backing to fund their bold ventures.
On the day the Wright Brothers accomplished the feat of “First in Flight”, Langley gave up and called it a day.
Langley had all the money and resources in the world to be first in flight, but where he lacked was his purpose for achieving the goal itself.
He was in the race to make money, whereas the Wright Brothers wanted to make a lasting impact on the world through the addition of flight.
The invention of the plane:
- provided value
- served a need in the market
The days of building a plane are long gone, but theres endless opportunities for you to find a need in the market that people need solved.
A good question to ask when looking for new ideas is this:
What do people complain about?
A great example here is Mint.com. They solved a need by making it easy for even a high schooler to manage finances online.
3. Helping Others
When Instagram started out a few years back, they actually weren’t called Instagram. They were called Burbn and offered a similar geo location app to Foursquare.
The company changed the name and realized that people were most interested in the photo sharing portion of the app that allowed the use of filters.
Instagram provided users with more professional photos that were available to upload in seconds.
By helping others opposed to going after the money, you will unintentionally attract revenue. When you help people through the work you do, the word will spread on it’s own.
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