Saturday, August 28, 2010

15 with Footnotes

If I were to give you a list of 15 ideas that you should consider as principle foundations for starting a business, would you accept it?

If I gave it to you at no cost because I care that you succeed, would it still be valuable to you?

If among those 15 ideas were a few you disagreed with, would you toss the whole list out?

These 15 ideas (with footnotes) are from Seth Godins blog.

He is one of the authors, speakers and leaders that I feature on Collective Wisdom.

Contact me if you have any questions or add your own comments.

Foundation elements for modern businesses

When you sit down to dream up a new business, you can imagine a world without constraints. Or you can choose to build in fundamental pieces that will make it more likely your idea will pay off.

Here are some fundamental pieces of most new successful businesses. The goal is to build these elements into the very nature of the business itself, not just to tack them on. For example, the Scotch tape people at 3M can't do #5, because of the structure of retail distribution and the way they mass produce and can't track who is buying what.

You can live without some of these, but go in with your eyes open if you do:

  1. Build in virality. Consider: Groupon.
  2. Don't sell a product that can be purchased cheaper at Amazon.
  3. Subscriptions beat one-off sales.
  4. Try to create an environment where your customers are happier when there are other customers doing business with you (see #1).
  5. Treat different customers differently.
  6. Generate joy, don't just satisfy a need for a commodity.
  7. Rely on unique individuals, not an easily copyable system.
  8. Plan on remarkable experiences, not remarkable ads.
  9. Don't build a fortress of secrets, bet on open.
  10. Unless there's a differentiating business reason, use off the shelf software and cheap cloud storage.
  11. The asset of the future is the embrace of a tribe, not a cheaper widget.
  12. Match expenses to cash flow--don't run out of money, because it's no longer 1999.
  13. Create scarcity but act with abundance. Free samples create demand for the valuable (but not unlimited) tier you offer.
  14. Tell a story, erect a mythology, walk the walk.
  15. Plan on obsolescence (of your products, not your customers).


3. The cost of selling a subscription to your product or service is not a lot higher than the cost of selling just one, but you benefit by having sales you can count on at low cost. Your customers benefit because you depend on them more and they save time.

5. Everyone has different needs and expectations and resources. The internet lets you tell people apart and give them what they need.

7. AKA as Linchpins.

9. If you're building a business on trade secrets or lack of information among your customers, you're trying to fill a leaky bucket. Far easier to bet on the more people know, the better you do.

10. Because cheap software and the cloud are going to continue to get cheaper, and custom work that's worth anything is going to continue to get more expensive.

12. The best people to fund your growth are your customers.

13. When the marginal cost of an interaction approaches zero, you benefit by creating plenty of them.

14. We can tell.

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