Did you know that Ford Motors was one of the 502 firms founded in the U.S. between 1900 and 1908 (8 years) to make automobiles? Did you also know that not until he was nearly 40 years, he was basically another ‘hand’ for the Edison Illuminating Company? Yes, during this work time (he was their chief engineer), he quietly built his ideal ‘horseless carriage’ model. And this took a decade to complete for a test.
Moral here is, you stick to the plan, bearing in mind that the competition in not as important as your business (it is a large enough sky for all to fly and do so successfully). So in spite of the competition, focus on creating a lasting system (the business) to sustain your products and/or services.
History is riddled with initial success products and businesses turning downhill. Stay, stick to your guns. If you saw the picture, stick with it.
When your business is slacking and it seems you have nothing left to really offer (the competitions are offering same), here’s what to do:
- Stay Afloat
By all means, find a measure to survive. Boeing—the luxury plane maker we still have around today, had to branch into the furniture business (a part of the insides of a luxury plane by the way) to stay afloat. Sony, started in war torn Japan survived by making crude machines (including a rice cooker) just to survive. By all means, stay afloat. Create minor things you can handle alone or with your core partner. Get a job, work in the same sphere you will later lead a company in.
- Create a True Business
A business is not your offerings (products or services); it is the wheel, the systems that creates, delivers and sustains your offerings. Take this time to reinvent your business, to be placed on a system that ensures its products/service will be continuously created with necessary precision (on ease, quality, quantity, etc), accurately processed and delivered to your target clients and your remunerations collected through defined medium. Take this time to design all aspects of your business system, much the same way an architect designs a building’s blueprint to later serve as the guide to building it. The same should be done for your business. Nothing should be left to chance. It is thus best to work from a kind of script (a functional business system).
Your Business, Not Your Product or Service, is Your Ultimate Creation
In this process, examine your offerings and let go of what’s not working. Embrace new ways of doing things. After all, your business is not about you- it is about those who will patronize it. Listen to your market and make adjustment. Create the product the market, not you, wants. All else are just models you need to dump.
Gradually return to your core—your true you. Let go the gigs you did for survival and stay true to your message. Your focus here is to make your business work.
HP, after a string of failed products during their formative years, quickly made the transition from focusing on designing great products to designing an organization – and environment where great products can be created and sustained. You should create a business, at this level, that can truly have a life of its own, rather than as another (product creation) job you have to get through daily or each daily.