By Ismail Abdur-Rahman, CEO iVIBES
I just had a meeting with a potential client - a young guy with lots of half-formulated ideas and an intense desire to get rich - fast! After I listened to his story, he asked me what I thought about his chances of becoming a successful entrepreneur. I told him that his dog wasn't ready to hunt. In other words, he was barking up the wrong tree. He was far too focused on picking the right industry and trying to make a splash based upon this selection.
I was eventually able to talk him down, but it took quite a bit of effort. Have you ever had to deal with people who were so impressed with their own ideas that it became almost impossible to reason with them? This was a textbook example. I gave him very simple advice as an alternative to his big industry dreams - simple, but very effective. Wanna hear it?
Compress time frames
Let's face it, we live in a time in which the most valuable commodity available is time. Think about this: Uber is popular because it saves us a considerable chunk of time we would have spent trying to hail a taxi on a street corner or calling a taxi service. Warby Parker saves us time by saving us the trip to the eyeglass shop and allowing us to try on frames in the comfort our own homes. Because people value their time so highly, they are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of saving time. If you want to make a big splash as an entrepreneur, you will want to develop an idea that will solve a problem by saving customers' time. Here are a few simple steps to get you going in the right direction.
- Identify a process and list the steps involved in the process
Let's say, for example, you identify the process of ordering a pizza (from 10 years ago), and you determine that there are steps involved. First, you call the company, wait until an operator answers the phone, place the order, give your address, wait for delivery, pay the driver and receive your pizza.
Sure, you can order pizza from the big chains online nowadays, but there are still too many steps involved when you're hungry.
- Try to remove a step in the process
Wouldn't it be cool if you could open an app on your phone, push one button, and have a hot, fresh pizza show up at your door within 30 minutes? Too far fetched? Not exactly. In fact, Push for Pizza has done exactly that. They've actually combined this step with the next one to save you time when your pizza craving are too strong to have to go through the 5 screens of order information Domino's tortures you with.
- Then try to minimize another step in the process
If there are other steps that can be shortened to save time for your customers, identify them and work on reducing the time it takes to perform these steps. Remember, time is money, and the more time you can save your customers while solving their problem, the more money you stand to make.
- Test the revised process
Of course, you will need to test this new process out before launching full-scale. In fact, you will likely learn more about the overall process while testing. You might realize that the step you eliminated just complicated things or compromised the delivery of the final product to the customer. Perhaps, you realize that there are still more steps that can be eliminated or shorted to make the overall process more efficient. Bottom line: testing is critically important to the overall success of your effort. You need to learn what's doable and what's important to your customers.
- Adjust the new process based on learning
After testing, go back to the lab and tweak the process to create the most value for your customers. This might take a couple of iterations, but it's important that all the kinks in the process are fully worked out before moving to the next stage.
After you've successfully redesigned your process, you will be ready to launch. Of course, customers won't come find you just because you made a cool app that will save them time, you'll need to pay close attention to branding and marketing strategies, but if you've successfully developed a solution to a real problem that your customers are willing to pay for, you'll be in a much better position to live your entrepreneurial dreams.
Remember: a good business idea is usually worth about $20. Execution, on the other hand, is worth millions.