Nathan* (real name withheld) makes t-shirts for an entire state. He is the first and the best to venture into this line of business in the state. For twenty years, he has faithfully served the state with his craft—finely tailored t-shirts, fit for any occasion. The community has faithfully served him also. He never needed branding or publicity. He has no sign board announcing his office and workplace; the state simply know him.
Overtime, he has trained many apprentices who has gone on to own similar businesses. Many still come to him with their jobs. He has the most sewing machines. His knowledge is firsthand and his touch original. You never find stray lines in his designs and signature products.
However, his business HEAVILY relies on him. He has to be there every time for the staff to be productive enough to meet the daily production output. Often time, when he is not in, nothing really tangible gets done. The cracks keep widening due to the lack or absence of a clear operational control, to the extent that the staff sometimes take leave of their own, no matter how important a particular work may be to the day’s production. It was easy to meet quality when he was alone. But now, with a clientèle base of over 7,000, it is a bizarre guess or hit/miss game. The staff, supposedly professional, are now another trouble he is having to deal with.
This threatens his sanity and leads him to the brink of throwing in the towel and simply shutting down (after all, a thing more important that making money is saving your health). So for his health, he considers resigning.
Until he meets me.
That’s why this piece.
Time and again, we have seen great products fail while the not-so-great products in the same niche thrive, get better and lead the industry. This proves it is a myth that you have to be a visionary, charismatic founder, with a great entrepreneurial spirit, carefully founding your company (or business, if I may) on a visionary product idea or a visionary market insight. These are needful, but not in any way near the core decidal factors.
A successful business rarely have much to do with the product or service it is offering. I know, you will cry foul now, just wait to hear me out.
Business is NOT the product you create. In fact, visionary businesses rarely set out with even great products. The likes of HP, started life the tinkering way- trying their hand on whatever might work. Yet they kept their focus on one goal: to build a business that can easily create, package and deliver their values (via products/services) to their customers.
Your idea is hardly as important as even the market you should focus on securing.
What then is business, you want to ask, since it is not the product or services, nor is it the idea you began with?
Business is a wheel of its own, created to deliver YOUR products and services effectively and as return, collect your rewards (cash, recognition, recommendations, etc). How efficient or successful your business becomes depends on how efficient the systems are. Your biggest focus should be creating a system that can deliver your product every time.
What system are you building as your business?