Here’s a letter for anybody that is interesting in starting a local business or running a business from home that sells products online.
I interviewed a couple of successful entrepreneurs last week on the Resilient Roundtable.
They are doing so well and having such a good time with their new business that they recently quit their “day jobs.”
That makes them very lucky. They get to spend their productive hours on creative, innovative, and challenging work they can enjoy, locally.
Not only that, they can support themselves financially doing it.
What made them successful?
It’s a feature we are going to see again and again in successful businesses. It’s a feature that is going to make them resilient.
They built a small, but growing, community of customers and fans before they sold their first product.
A community of people that are enthusiastic about what they build.
A community that supported them when they launched and is now supporting them as they build out the business.
A Resilient Business
Here’s what makes this both a revolutionary and resilient improvement to running a small business.
Building a community first allowed them to avoid/bypass/route-around:
- financial middlemen, making it much more likely for them to retain ownership of the business long term.
- retail middlemen, which allowed them to cut their prices in half.
- marketing middlemen, this reduced their expenses during launch and has allowed them to grow organically.
As you can see, a community allows for a leaner cost-structure – and the avoidance of debt.
This will help the business survive long term and makes it easier to generate the income needed to support the founders.
Not only that, but if these entrepreneurs are honest and treat their community well, they will support their endeavors for decades to come.
Mastering the art of building a community of supporters is quickly becoming the defining feature of a resilient entrepreneur.
In fact, in a world awash with too many ideas, it’s likely the key attribute.
PS: Why is this important? The old economy isn’t delivering the goods. We are poorer today than we were in 1980. Worse, the old economy is shrinking. The percentage of people in the workforce is smaller today than it was in 1984. On a personal level, most of us are working longer hours, for less pay, in jobs we don’t like. If we have a family, we can’t even spend the time with our kids that we should. So, as risky or difficult the approach I describe above sounds, the old approach looks riskier…
PPS: If you are running a small business, keep it small, lean and nimble. Don’t grow beyond what is fun. The critical thing is to stay viable over the long term, not to grow as big as possible.