My hobby-horse these days is thinking about business fundamentals. What they are, and what they need in order to be optimized. For some reason, business on the internet talks a lot about tweaks and tactics, though rarely on the fundamentals (I guess once you’ve covered them once, you’re done! Yeah, right. )
Have Something of Value to Sell
A time was, people had to have something for sale in order to be in business. Now, a lot of people are taking a page out of Seth Godin’s book (literally) and ‘building a tribe’ before they make any effort to monetize.
What the hell kind of business is that?
I have no problem with content marketing, for instance. Give away your best stuff, sell just a little bit of it, that’s fine. But until you have something for sale, you don’t have a business. You have— at best—a movement.
So the first fundamental: Have something of value for sale.
Know Your Right People
The second thing, is know who your right people are. Ideally, they should know who you are as well. It’s very hard to have the first fundamental without the second (indeed, you almost certainly need the second first, but the first is first because it is the most important. Because if you only have your right people, but you don’t have something for sale, you do not have a business yet. You have, as I said, a movement.)
Know Who You Are
The third thing is to know who you are.
I know, that sounds strange in a business context, but if you’ve done any reading, you know that there are more ways to build a business than there are stars in the sky, and none of them is unequivocally the best.
So knowing yourself (and to a lesser extent, Your Right People) is bar none, the simplest way to figure out how you will build your business. You will build it in such a way as it plays to your strengths and preferences.
You also want to Stand For Something. Not only because Standing For Something is a good thing anyway, but also because Standing For Something makes you a lightning rod for your Best People. This is sometimes known as “Knowing your Why”, and is a very important subset of Who You Are
I don’t know that anyone does every aspect of these fundamentals perfectly. Knowing is one thing— Execution is quite another.
So I’ll leave you with the key to good execution:
Do what you can, with what you have,
where you are— Theodore Roosevelt