I have the good fortune to meet and work with some extraordinary entrepreneurs. Without doubt, one of my favorites is Lara Hodgson. When Lara is in the room, I shut-up and listen. She always shares such powerful and practical advice on all things business. Here are few tips she shared with me while shooting a segment for SmallBizClub.com. Enjoy!
Focus on the need. Before you set out to build a product, make sure there is a need for it. Often times, entrepreneurs invest heavily in building a product and then try to find a market that will accept it. To quote Lara:
If your business is not driven by a need in the market, you’re going to have a hard time making any money. And if you’re not making money, it’s called a hobby.”
Think differently. Often times, innovation comes from those who are not industry insiders. If you have a great idea for something that isn’t in your area of expertise – great! Strap on your thinking cap and go to work. If you’re trying to address a need in an industry you are familiar with, talk to industry outsiders and ask them how they would address it.
Keep it simple. Simple always wins the day. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Does your product or service solve their specific need(s)? Does it add value? Does it make their lives easier? Remove unnecessary steps that encumber the way your customer engages and uses your product.
Don’t Sell. People don’t want to be sold to. Instead, identify and build relationships with those who have a need for your product; ask about their problems and demonstrate how you can solve them.
Lara is the President and CEO of NOWaccount.
Learn more from Lara at SmallBizClub.com.