In these days you can find an event for new entrepreneurs almost in every corner. There are thousands and thousands of meetings, gatherings, parties, conventions, summits, conferences and any kind of convocation across the country.
There are two factors pushing people to become a businessman (maybe they think they’re doing another thing but they’re doing simple and plain business):
- the lack of employment: although the numbers of the big economy are slightly positives in the last years, the real salary of the american worker is slowly going down. There are a lot of jobs with minimum wages, part-time jobs and a general lose of collateral benefits associated to some positions (health insurance, retirement plans…).
- the Internet phenomenon: more than twenty years after the building of the Internet and the standardization of the World Wide Web, it has really soaked the whole society. Today, everybody sends emails, browses his favourite newspapers, search online for crossword puzzle answers, uploads pictures to his social network and knows anyone who makes his life from “things of Internet” and therefore a lot of people know there is money online.
So, if there are a lot of people trying to build a company (or a small home based business) and Internet gives so wide opportunities, why there’s no a zillion of new successful online entrepreneurs?
First of all, the market for the product
Since the arrival of the World Wide Web, the concept of market has changed.
Thirty years ago, if you have designed a nice potatoes cutter, your first step was to determine how big was your market and how hard could be your effort to reach that market. You could become wealthy or directly rich with the incomes you had in a few states while another businessman could have been doing exactly the same product with the same good results in another corner of the country.
Now that is absolutely different and anything you can sell will find a buyer in any country of the world. You can sell real estate in the sun or replacement parts for typewriters and, maybe in the next yard, maybe in the farthest country in the world, there is always someone with the same interest.
But the real question is how much people will be interested? The answer will determine if you will have a hobby or a business niche.
And finally, the customer
Unless you are a genius and discovered something really amazing, something anyone would want to have in their home, you must have a user centered product.
Let’s suppose you want to sell an app to measure the “speed” of a song (or any kind of sound).
If you’re an engineer, probably your app will just open and require you to tap in the screen of your smarthpone in a red button with no labels. Any engineer will open the app, see the button and start hitting the beat of the music. It’s logical. But this is no the way customers think!
Customers just want an app to do that for them: just one click in the screen, the app opens the microphone, takes a sample of the sound, analyzes it and gives you a number. That’s all.
It’s not you or your product, is what the customer wants.
Let’s suppose now you want to help people to find crossword puzzle answers.
If you are a tech minded guy, you will give the user an complete dictionary with all the english words alphabetically ordered and in groups according to its number of letters. So, to find a spanish city with seven letters starting by “s”, you can read a few pages to find the solution: Seville.
But, change your mind! Be user centric! What is the question the user is exactly doing itself? “City of Spain; seven letters”. Why don’t give him that question and then the answer? Let’s imagine a dictionary with a list of common crosswords questions “City of Spain with seven letters.”, “Tool for gardening with five letters.” and a comprehensive list of answers.
(Well… we don’t need to imagine it: it already exists and is online)
…and a bit of good luck, of course.
So, you need a good product with a wide market with not too much competition and a marketing strategy absolutely centered in the customer but everyone in the business world knows the importance of a pinch of good luck: to be in the right place in the right time and no one can explain how to buy a bunch of good luck.
But, hey, that could be a great business idea!