building a successful business

I find that to startup building a successful business, you must provide value. “Providing value” may sound vague until you realize they do this by filling a gap.  Their doing so makes life easier, solves a problem, or provides a service for their customers.

People will pay for convenience; it doesn’t always matter if what you are selling is available for free elsewhere. If you can present the information in a way, that is easy to follow and saves them time you can profit. It fills the gap of your customer having to spend time pulling together all the information from several sources.

Alternatively, there could be a problem the company solves. For example, the Mission Belt which is one of the most successful products from Shark Tank solved the problem of advertising your weight changes with worn out traditional belts.

Building a Successful Business Basics

It may not always be a matter of convenience or an obvious problem; there just might be a gap.

For example, Instagram is excellent for beautiful pictures, but Snapchat has managed to be successful because it did things that at the time other social media platforms, like Instagram didn’t do.

It saw an opening, it did new things but didn’t require users to learn a lot of new things to use it; they built off of their knowledge of other social media platforms.

How to Find Gaps

Take a look around at the things you do or use, is there something you wish could be easier?

  • Is it something you have the skills and know how to build out?
  • Do you ever feel like you or someone else maybe isn’t using something for its full potential?
  • Could you teach others how to get the most out of the tool or product?
  • Are there any problems you are asked to solve on a regular basis? By friends, family, or colleagues?

These are all starting points for finding a gap you could fill with a business. The trick is to make sure it has the potential to be profitable before you go all in.

Make sure to test the market to ensure you are providing something people want and also to make sure you know the value of the solution you offer.

Test and value your gap filling solution

With the current state of technology, it is easy to verify a product or service for profitability. The simplest and easiest is to run a pre-sale before creating the product, service or solution.

Just make sure you will have the ability to deliver should the test prove successful. Create a sale’s page or in the case of services a “Hire Me” or “Work with Me” page and let potential customers and clients know what you are offering, the price and when it will be available.

For example, you could pre-sell an eCourse that will be available one month after you set up the sales page and two weeks after pre-sale ends. If no one buys or not enough buy, then you don’t make the course, and you refund the money of those that did buy.

For a service, you could let potential clients know that you are currently booking sessions for Month x. If no one signs up then, you don’t have to worry about setting aside time for those clients.

Alternatively, if you already have a product created or service in mind, you could ask people who match your ideal customer description to beta test. In exchange, they can provide you with social proof of your product or service.

Know the Value of Your Solution

It won’t matter how helpful or needed your gap filling solution is, if you don’t know it’s real value. You can’t build a business on scraps; you have to price your product or solution or service for what it is worth if you want to build a successful business. You’ll also need to make sure you have a reliable way to get paid.

Research what companies with similar offerings are charging. Too many entrepreneurs start out undervaluing their time and the solutions they have to offer. I find it works best if I’m at least a little uncomfortable with the amount I’m asking in exchange for my service.

Building a successful business doesn’t just happen overnight; it requires work, research, testing, and confidence in what you are providing. If you are willing to put in that work and are confident in your ability to provide value, you will be successful.

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Liz is a writer for hire, specializing in personal finance, entrepreneurship, and legal issues. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

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