Look in The Mirror, Not out The Window

PICTURE THIS. You’re driving home from work, and all of the sudden there is a fork in the road. You stop to read the two signs that are displayed, one at the head each of the roads. The road to the Left’s sign says “Road Covered in Nails, 3 Minutes to Your House”. And the road on the right’s sign says “Clear Road, No Nails, 8 Minutes to Your House”. In the desire to save time and gas, you choose to take the faster road that is covered in nails. After about 1 minute, all of your tires are flat as flat can be and you are pulled over on the side of the road unable to move safely. Whats your first thought? Mine would be, “WHO THE HECK PUT THESE NAILS HERE?!”. But is that the question we should be asking?

Okay I know thats a bizarre story and would most likely never happen, but I feel like it illustrates my point. When something goes wrong, or change needs to happen, where do you look first to find who’s to blame and what needs to be fixed? Do you look “out the window” at others around you and assume it must be their fault and that they need to change, or do you look “In the Mirror” at yourself and find out what you did wrong, and what you could have done better?

I read a business book once (that I cant remember the name of for the life of me!) that talked about the importance of “Looking in the Mirror” and its correlation with being both a successful leader, and running a successful business. It talked about the importance of learning from your mistakes, and CHANGING what you did wrong, and how that act of humility actually makes people want to follow you as a leader, and also makes people want to buy from you. People will buy what you have if they know you will pay attention to what they want.

Let’s take a big business for example. When the big brand name companies have a lag in sales, or reoccurring problems with customer satisfaction, do they look out the window and think “Well, our customers better start changing their opinions. They keep messing up on what they like!”. Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I don think so. The companies stay strong, and popular, and profitable because they look at that THEY can be doing better. And they change it!

It needs to be the same with us, little online start-up businesses that want to be successful too. One of the main things I’ve learned this week about running a successful online business, is that just like the market is always changing and improving, I need to always be changing and improving along with it!

This week I also learned a lot about Business models and Product ideas. It is fundamental to know what your business model is before you start wanting to sell products of any kind because if you choose a product, and fall in love with it before you realize how much work might go into manufacturing that product, then you might be really sad when you have no means to actually produce that product.

There are in fact many products that would not be plausible or would simply not work with just any business model. Think about a product that is something customizable and artsy, like something you could find on an Etsy shop. If I wanted to sell something like this but 1. had no desire to manufacture anything myself, and 2. didn’t have the skill set to do so, then would a manufacturing model work for me? Not really, no. But thats why the model must be considered and selected before the product to be sold. Otherwise a very good product idea would crumble.

Another thought I had on this is that, I also don’t think its true that everyone is capable of working with any business model. I think thats an ideal level that all of us business majors would like to achieve someday, but as beginners it cant be expected of everyone to just be able to work with whatever business model is thrown at them. So we need to carefully research and make sure that we are choosing a business model that is compatible with us and then finding (and falling in love with) a product that falls under the category of that business model.

What are the different business models you ask? And how do you know how to select what product you want to sell after you have decided your business model? Here are some links that can help you in your search for the answers:

http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.html (Business Models)

http://bizthoughts.mikelee.org/brainstorming-business-ideas.html (Product Idea Generation)

I hope you enjoyed reading my Blog post for this week! You’ll hear from me again next week! Cant get rid of me now 😉

My Best,

Dakota Anderton

(That one girl who’s still learning, Just like you)

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