I was speaking with a Business Owner this week about how we could increase the volume of projects that he was attracting. I mentioned the prevalence of mines in the area and the issues that this presented to properties in the area. To which he said absolutely there is a definite need for that but to be honest I am not interested in doing that kind of work.
What came to my mind was how serious is this Guy about building his business, was he really in a position to be picking and choosing his clients? I have a name for people who want to be self-employed, stay small, and do as much or as little work that they want and only work with the people that they want. They are called Hobbyists. Yep, they treat their business like a hobby. Usually they are comfortably off or semi-retired so doing what it takes it is not essential. When I hear this from a start-up in need of Customers who are struggling for revenue it makes me wonder how serious they are about their business success.
In an article in Forbes Magazine, there was a definition that I feel differentiates the “Hobbyists” and the “Entrepreneurs”.
Entrepreneurs, in the purest sense, are those who identify a need—any need—and fill it. Forbes Magazine
I heard a story of a few years ago that has stuck with me and one that I feel embodies the definition put forward by Forbes.
It was a balmy September and London was enjoying an Indian Summer. The last night of the Proms was being held in the Albert Hall. Simultaneously outdoor concerts were being held in Hyde Park, Swansea, Belfast, and Glasgow.
The weather had been warm, people were dressed to make the most of the sunshine, as evening approached the clouds appeared and it started to rain. Now the crowd was ill-prepared, and the main event of the day was just about to start so running for cover and heading for home was the last resort.
An inspired Entrepreneur approached the local convenience store purchasing rolls upon rolls of black refuse sacks at £1 per roll. He then proceeded to sell the bin bags as makeshift raincoats to the people attending the concert at £1 per bag. Now with 50 bags on a roll you can imagine he was making a tidy return on his investment.
He had identified the need and filled it, cornering the market with his captive audience, a real win win win for everyone. Shop Keeper happy, Concert goers happy and of course a happy Entrepreneur.
Many businesses come to me with ideas to see whether I believe as they do that, they have a product or service that would work as a business. One question that will always be high on my points to consider will be, “Have they identified a need in the market And Will their product or service meets that need if it does then their success will have a greater chance of gaining traction quickly.
Many Companies are pivoting right now to meet needs in the marketplace. Distilleries making hand sanitiser, F1 Companies making Ventilators and Burberry making PPE all spring to mind, so is this Corporate and Social Responsibility, Community or just Entrepreneurial spirit!