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Before Any Startup Planning, Answer This One Question

I’ve had a couple wantrepreneurs ask me recently what administrative tools to use – email, website, CRM, etc. to which I’m happy to help with. However, those are all moot points compared to the most important question of all – How can you build a business around the product or service?

Of course, I’m speaking broadly when I say “how can you”, “build a business”, “around the product or service”. I break up the question this way to capture the most important facets of starting a company –
  • “How can you…” – the entrepreneur (or team) referred here. This includes experience, skills, network, and emotional capacities of the entrepreneur or the co-founding team. The “how” touches, too, on the execution.
  • “…build a business…” – is there is a sizeable market? Is there a trajectory for success? Are there competitors? Are there other pieces required to build and sustain a business?
  • “…around the product or service” – this one is pretty self-explanatory – do you have a product, or are you still building it? Do you have an MVP? This also includes patentable/ defensible facets. Let me point out the word “around,” too, because it’s likely the product/ service will pivot. The core of any product/ service is critical here with flexibility on how that core delivers value.
  • “How can you build a business around the product or service?” – Successful ventures require the ability to bring it all together –execution (“how”). Each facet is powerful on its own, but rarely enough to build something meaningful and sustaining.
In the words of Metallica, “Nothing Else Matters”. There are plenty of general administrative tools that if you’re successful, can be changed and employed. It all starts with the simple question.

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