Everything that any human being does be it in their personal lives or in their business boils down to one thing – mindset. Their mind can be set on old ways which can tend to no longer be applicable given the constantly changing business environment. This is the experience of many business people (particularly millennials) who hold onto archaic approaches that no longer work now. A business will always conform to your way of thinking; it’s no wonder why some businesses never grow. Today I want us to focus our attention on a subject that many business people probably never think about.
A Business Idea Is Immaterial
Many people lose sight of this as their businesses grow. Before you started your journey as an entrepreneur, your business idea was simply a thought – it was intangible or immaterial. I say this to bring your attention to the fact that your business idea is unlimited. Let me illustrate my point by giving an example, suppose you started off with an idea to start a retail shop. Primarily it means you’re passionate about retail but through a brick and mortar shop. This means the shop is your platform or conduit – that’s the channel you’re using. Most people have a problem of thinking once their business is up and running then that’s it. They never stop to think that the business idea can outgrow the shop and might need a bigger platform. Probably due to the digital age, we’re in you might want to incorporate e-commerce i.e. retailing online. Most people will hold onto the shop no matter what because they think the shop is the business idea. Understand that a business idea is immaterial and as such it mustn’t be limited by its conduit. The conduit can be outgrown so always think broader.
Appreciate The Need For Pivoting
For you to understand why separating your business from its conduits is important, you must appreciate pivoting. Pivoting involves redefining your business’ value proposition to reflect new-found insights. After setting up your business and as times goes on you might discover things aren’t what you projected them to be. This would mean that your initial strategy would have to be changed to suit the latest developments. I always like to use the Instagram example to illustrate the basic tenets of pivoting. Initially, it started out as Burbn (which was a social networking site that had several features). After a while, they noticed that the photo-sharing feature was the most popular amongst users. They then decided to abandon the original idea and settled for the photo-sharing which then morphed into Instagram. As an entrepreneur don’t be emotionally attached to the original idea without objectively monitoring and evaluating as times ensues. Always remember that the business idea can be refined and the platform or conduit can be changed as needs are.
Consumer Behaviours Are Your Cue
It’s important as an entrepreneur to have mechanisms in place to study consumer behaviours. The crux of setting up a business is to make money and that happens through consumers purchasing your goods or services. Thus it’s important to know everything pertaining to your consumers’ buying patterns. You must also ensure there are mechanisms to get detailed feedback from them. Most businesses that excel pay close attention to consumer behaviours. Just like the Instagram example, I gave; we wouldn’t have Instagram today had they not paid close attention to consumer behaviours. So upon noting any insights from studying consumer behaviours make the necessary adjustments. Sometimes that entails a complete overhaul of the original business idea or strategies – don’t be too sentimental, rather be empirical and not emotional in making decisions.
It’s said that nothing is as painful as the pain of a new idea. Entrepreneurship doesn’t strive on holding onto things that might not be working anymore simply because you’re being sentimental or emotionally attached to a conduit. Both your business idea and your conduits are factors that can be redefined or completely changed altogether. They are two distinct parameters which you shouldn’t mistake for each other. A conduit gives meaning and expression to a business idea; that means it can be changed if needs be. A business idea is a business idea; it can always be redefined to suit a new conduit whenever necessary. Always remember the conduit isn’t the business idea. An appreciation of this will revolutionize your approaches in charting business strategies – change the way you think.