In his provocative Thanksgiving blog post, Seth Godin wrote: “A great way to give thanks…for the privileges we’ve got is to do important work…For every person reading this there are a thousand people (literally a thousand) in underprivileged nations and situations that would love to have your slot. Don’t waste it.”
In other words, if you live in an industrialized country, you’ve already got a leg up, and it’s time to go out and to the work you were meant to do.
Seth’s post made me feel, again, how important it is for us to all do our work. I wanted to jump up from the Thanksgiving table and get to it right then.
I know I wasn’t alone.
I’m sure plenty of other people who read Seth’s post also wanted to jump up from the table and start doing their work. And yet, how many of them don’t know where to start or what to do first? It’s one thing to want to do our work, and entirely another to know where to start.
This is especially true if you’re unemployed.
I can’t help you if you’re looking for a job. What I do know about is how to start a business and make it sustainable. If you want to do that, here’s the (not) patented one-step process:
- Get some customers.
This may sound like my Datsun 510 wagon auto repair manual; the first step to fix a problem is, “Remove engine.”
But getting customers is easier than you think.
How to Get Customers
Recruit a small group of people you know, who will give you honest feedback. It’s best if these people are at least a little bit like the ones you want to have as real customers, but practicing on somebody is better than not practicing on anybody.
Test your product or service on them. Make them pay something for it. People don’t value things, and don’t participate fully, in stuff they get free. If they pay, they’ll pay attention, too.
Study their reactions. Get to know what they like. Understand what they need and how you can best deliver the results they’re looking for. Negotiate up front that for a cheaper price on this amazing new thing, you’ll be asking for extensive feedback.
Adjust based on their feedback, ask your customers to recommend other people who might be interested, and repeat the process.
If you’re ready to get structured help with this process, check out the Journey of the Small Business Warrior beginning again in January 2012.
Have you tried this? What worked for you? And if you’re ready to try it, where will you start?