This is the way most people start a business:

  1. Choose a product to sell or service to offer (based on the industry or hobby they know best)
  2. Choose a name for the company
  3. Create a Corporation or a LLC
  4. Write a business plan
  5. Get funding
  6. Get a website, office, business cards, etc.
  7. Launch the company
  8. Hope for the best
And, this is the way Smart marketers do it:
  1. Find a hungry market
  2. Figure out why they are hungry and what kind of food they’re looking for
  3. They study the players in the market (to copy the good things and avoid the bad things they’re doing)
  4. Test the waters. This is the most visible different between smart and dumb marketers. Smart marketers know that it’s all about testing the market fast and invest as little as possible. They write some copy, put up a template-based website (that they do themselves) and drive some Pay per Click (PPC) traffic to it.
  5. If the offer doesn’t convert, the Smart Marketers go to test the next market. The second most important difference between them and the Dumb Marketers is that the latter choose a product first and then try to figure out how to market it. The Smart Marketers find the audience first and then they create the product they want.
  6. If the offer converts, this is when the Smart Marketer starts thinking of it as a business. And because he now has a real business, he knows it’s time to improve processes. This is when the Smart Marketer get his fancy website and business cards. Because he knows he’s investing in a business, not in an idea.
Biggest Takeaways
  • Don’t fall in love with a product or service. You want to become a successful business owner; the product that gets you there is irrelevant (that is, unless you’re very passionate about something and don’t care about money as much as you care about doing something you love [which I completely believe in, BTW]).
  • Find the market first and develop a product for them. Listen to them and give them what they want.
  • Test the market as fast as you can with as little money as possible. Don’t create a perfect company and then launch it; launch it first and if it works, perfect it.
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