Are you in love with the idea, or with customers?

Most of us have, at some point, been in love with the idea of running a business.  For me, it was in college and wanting to run snowboard shop.  For others, it might be running their own coffee shop or  a software company.

Would-be software company entrepreneurs dream about interesting technology, traffic spikes, and recurring revenue. Wannabe coffee shop owners fantasize about glass display cases, shiny fixtures, and fancy dishes.

We can’t wait to “be our own boss” or “run our own thing.” But if that’s your focus, you shouldn’t go into business.

To run a business, you need to focus on your customers. Solving their problems, fulfilling their dreams.

Ask yourself: who do I want to help?

Do you want to run a business because you really want to help customers? Or do you want to play a grown-up version of “shop owner?”  Think about how your paradigm shifts when you think about who you want to help first, instead of thinking of yourself.

If you want to help the coffee drinkers in your city, what’s the best way to do that? Do they need education, better beans, longer business hours? Or… are they being served pretty well right now?

If there isn’t a major problem to solve, it’s best to move on to your next idea. Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a “shop owner;” strive to be a business owner who solves problems for his customers.

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Published on November 28, 2011