How to start a business
A business is like a Public Office – doing things for many customers. In other words, many customers pay to keep a business exist. We can consider a business as a sharing office. And for this existence lasts over many years or decades, the Business must do things well and consistently satisfy the customers. Customers are the patron that support the business.
We can see clearly, there are a few key factors that make a business: the products, the delivery of these products and the customers. Among them, customers are the most important factor, determining the existence of a business because no customers mean no business.
That leads to a key question: who are our target customers and what do we have to offer? Naturally we will ask why those customers want our products, what problem – needs or wants that our products respond to? This last question must be seriously considered and examined. Otherwise, we may misintepret the demand of customers and offer somethings mismatched. It is product – market fit.
There are two ways to approach this fitness: we can either start with the products or we can start with the customers.
We start with the product, then search for target customers. For instance, we can do somethings well or we already have somethings ready to sell such as our products churn out of our hobbies or our skills to solve specific and personal problem, and we start thinking about selling these products in the market. IKEA or Microsoft are the typical examples of product-based companies. We can see this kind of starting a business in consulting and teaching services – in this kind, people start with their know-how and search for customers. Typically, they start with the products, not with the customers in mind.
Another way is start with problems or customers, then search for suitable products. There are many businesses started this way. A few years ago, I met a man in the South of Viet Nam, his business making and selling safety equipments at work. During our conversation, he told me his story. He said after a trip to Europe, he compared how workers work in Viet Nam and in Europe and concluded that workers in Viet Nam at that time worked in unsafe environments, they need more safety equipments to work better and safely. He started the business right after the trip. In this example, we see that the man saw the problem and started the business to solve the problem.
Either way is good as long as the matching is perfect, at the right time and at the right place. The right time and place are important, showing that the market is ready to support and sustain a business.
There are many kinds of businesses, some are very hard to start, some are quite easy. Some people start a business because they find it an interesting and inspiring way of life. But some start a business simple to make a living, to support the family. The question we must ask ourselves before starting a business is: “Why should I get into this business?”