Although your business isn’t your life, it will have an important role in your life.
- Michael Gerber (E-Myth Revisited)
The Business Framework
Contrary to what most of us may have believed, business starts, not with our product or service, but MOST IMPORTANTLY with the internalization of the framework of foundational principles which are:
1. To make as much money as possible
2. As legally/morally as possible, and
3. For as long as possible.
Once this framework has been internalized, then the work is ready to begin.
But before that, there is a “backstory” to every business endeavor.
I have always loved books, then again maybe it is the knowledge that I love. I remember that as early as age sixteen I had read the entire World Book Encyclopedia. While some would argue that it was because I was a bored (and boring) teenager, I like to think it has something to do with my love for knowledge.This “love for knowledge” has led to my rather curious desire to “break things down” then put them together again. One of my favorite quotes is, “You eat an elephant a piece at a time”.
This fascination for breaking things down, my curiosity, and my banking career, led me to investigating exactly what it was that made businesses (especially Nigerian businesses) tick. Listening to customers express their business woes and explain their business workflows, led me to conclude that my services would be better deployed helping them “see” what they couldn’t see that was making them so vulnerable to failure in spite of the financial support they were getting from banks.
After the Idea Stage
Ironically, and as it is the case with many entrepreneurs, I was more intrigued by the ease with which I was able to detect their problems and offer solutions, than I was with such things as:
1. How do I sustain my “interaction” with these men and women beyond the initial conversations?
2. At what price would this service be offered to them?
3. Would they be willing to pay what I will be demanding?
4. Considering my very limited “supply” of initial customers, what plans must I put in place to get new ones?
5. How exactly do I identify those who need my help, what signs should I be looking out for?
6. How do I convince them to engage my services?
The bottom line is that as much as I loved solving business problems, doing it for free was not feasible, and doing it as a banker was out of the question.
While I was convinced that this was a great idea, I made very little plans to sustain the service beyond the few customers I had; in other words, I worked on improving the my service (product) while I ignored the all important business that was to be the platform necessary to get the service to the customer.
I paid very dearly for this of course.
Know What You Want
I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do, I was certain I wanted to do it as a business owner, as a very successful business owner, I also knew that I had a winning proposition, as long as I met the “right person” who needed my service. I just ignored working on the one thing that was eminently important to my continuous offering of the service.
I was so focused on the product, I ignored the business.
I will be talking next about the Business Plan.