Achieve Business Success By Being …..

December 10, 2008

To achieve business success, it’s good to be bold, creative, confident and self motivated. But these attributes alone, can’t guarantee business success - there’s one more thing you need.

You Need To Be Useful. Forget doing what you think will bring you the most money, or fame and concentrate on providing something that will be amazingly useful to a particular group of people.

That means starting with your potential customers in mind. What problems do they have and what do they want and need most?

Concentrating on being useful doesn’t mean ignoring your own passions either. It’s far easier to be useful, if you love what you’re doing. And there’s almost always more than one way to serve your customers needs and still achieve business success.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve found a useful solution to people’s problems, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the problem exist? How Do You Know? Have You Done Any Research?

  • Are there other products available that provide a solution to this problem? If so, what makes yours better?

  • What benefits will the customer receive when they use your product or service?

  • Can you produce a product, or service that is within the budget of your target market? Think about this carefully.

    Say your target market is low to medium income families, the benefit of your product is that it will save them thirty minutes a week. If the product is expensive to produce and you’ll need to charge $10,000 for it, they’re probably not going to find it useful. And your business is not going to be a success.

If you’re struggling to answer the questions yourself, ask people but make sure you ask folk who you can trust to give you honest feedback. Your business success depends on it.

PS: Some of you know Michael Martine, over at Remarkablogger. Well, he has had a really nasty car accident. When you see the pic, he’s lucky to be alive. Trouble is, he really can’t afford to replace the car. So he’s holding a free webinar on Friday - but donations are welcome.

If you want some great blogging advice, the webinar is a brilliant opportunity. You can read about it here and also see the crash scene pic. When you see it, you’ll realise how lucky he has been.

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15 Responses to “Achieve Business Success By Being …..”

  1. 12/10/2008 Writing Jobs and Links | PoeWar on December 10th, 2008 6:14 am

    [...] Achieve Business Success By Being… Useful is a good start. [...]

  2. Davina on December 10th, 2008 6:31 am

    Hi Cath. As useful as a paperclip :-) I’m on it… and it has the word FREE in it too! Coming soon….to a blog near you.

    You need to add the word “brilliant” to the beginning of your tagline Cath.

    Davina’s last blog post..Step Out Of Crisis And Into Power

  3. Brad Shorr on December 10th, 2008 12:34 pm

    Cath, When I was a boy, my parents, teachers, and sports coaches were fond of saying, “Make yourself useful!” Little did I know they were giving me sage business advice!

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Fix Your Content Strategy with a Web Site Evaluation

  4. James Chartrand - Men with Pens on December 10th, 2008 12:52 pm

    We see so many people want to start businesses without asking this question. And we send them back to the drawing board.

    “I want to start a site on social counseling for cows with red socks!!!”

    “Um… Okay. Have you done market research to see if the cows need counseling?”

    “NO! But it’s a GREAT idea! It HAS to work!”

    “Um… Yeah, okay… ”

    James Chartrand - Men with Pens’s last blog post..Balancing Work and Work

  5. Al at 7P on December 10th, 2008 1:13 pm

    Hi Cath - this is great advice. If the answer to the question doesn’t immediately jump out, then the message needs to be made more clearly.

    I’d like to add that this doesn’t go with just potential customers, but with current customers as well. In tough economic times, businesses are looking where they can make cuts. It’s important to remind them that they’d be losing more than gaining if they cut my business.

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..533,000 Is Too Much

  6. Trade Show Guru on December 10th, 2008 4:46 pm

    hi Cath,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love this post of yours. Using the paperclip picture and then telling people to achieve success by BEING USEFUL is great. I only wish I was half as clever with my blog posts, but perhaps I can learn here… I’ll be reading more. :)
    ~ Steve, aka the trade show guru
    PS. I like James’ comment above. Seems too many new businesses don’t know or ignore the basics…

    Trade Show Guru’s last blog post..Trade Show Secrets

  7. chris on December 10th, 2008 7:19 pm

    You said the key thing here, produce something that will be useful to people. That’s the secret to success and fame.

    chris’s last blog post..I Shall Return

  8. Vered - MomGrind on December 10th, 2008 8:01 pm

    Leo Babauta said many times that he became successful by being “insanely useful” to his readers.

    “What’s in it for me?” is the first question people will ask you when you ask them do take action (such as buying something from you, eading your blog etc.). Your business needs to answer that question.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..Most Flattering Jeans

  9. cathlawson on December 10th, 2008 10:09 pm
    Hi Davina - Thank you. I do need to improve my tagline. I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re working on.

    Hi Brad - I remember folk saying that to me when I was younger. At the time, it seemed a bit annoying but now I too can see how it was beneficial.

    LMAO James - I’m picturing what the website might look like. But folk do come up with ridiculous ideas without considering whether anyone will want them.

    Hi Al - that’s an excellent point - if business scrimp with the standard of their products, or services, just to compete in a bad economy, they could wind up losing customers.

    Hi Steve - Thank you. I really like you’re blog - you have some great stuff on there. It’s best not to compare you’re own stuff with what others are writing, because it prevents you from finding your own voice.

    It’s definitely worth covering a lot of basic stuff though. Some of my most popular posts on here have been stuff that I almost didn’t write because they seemed so basic.

    I think there’s so much hype and scams on the Internet, regarding business, that people appreciate learning about stuff they really need to know.

    Hi Chris - I think it definitely works. I guess some folk can make it by not being useful - but you wouldn’t really feel proud of your achievements if you did that.

    Hi Vered - Leo is insanely useful to his readers. And like you so - folk want to know what’s in it for them. You see too many people pimping their stuff on the Internet and often it’s a huge flop because they’ve failed to tell the customer how it will benefit them.

  10. Marelisa on December 10th, 2008 11:54 pm

    Hi Cath: I completely agree that it’s about finding a problem that’s out there and providing a solution for it. The more value you provide, and the more people you provide value for, the more successful you’ll be. So I guess the question is: what’s the biggest problem I see out there that a lot of people are having and that I know how to solve?

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Fun, Whimsical Gift Ideas for Creative People

  11. Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog on December 11th, 2008 2:36 am

    Hi Catherine - This is such timely advice with so many individuals losing their jobs and wanting to tap other income sources. I agree, it’s imperative we do market research, plus ask those important questions.

    Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..When Your Truth Is Different Than Mine

  12. Patricia on December 11th, 2008 4:48 am

    Very good advice here and I sometimes ask myself before I turn off the computer did I inspire anyone today? Did I inspire myself? Did I put my energies into the correct directions?

    I am so sorry to hear about the car accident….such an awful thing to endure…and overcome…thank you and Hunter for sharing the information…I will go check out your link.

    Patricia’s last blog post..The Queen of Preparation and an Awesome Mom

  13. cathlawson on December 11th, 2008 8:50 am

    Hi Mare - That’s right. I think you are already doing that in what you write. You’re certainly helping me solve a lot of my problems. You just need to find a good product or service of your own now, in addition to promoting other peoples.

    Hi Barbara - It’s sad but a lot of people are either finding themselves in that situation, or worried that they will. And I guess they need to know where to start.

    Hi Patricia - Thank you. Michael’s crash was terrible - it’s a miracle he’s alive. I think his webinar would really help you. He says you can ask him as many questions as you want too.

  14. wilhb81 on December 14th, 2008 12:10 pm

    Cath, do you know that paper clip can be a very useful items in our daily life? It’s a good choice to put the paper clip image in this article!

    wilhb81’s last blog post..Can SEO help when times are bad?

  15. cathlawson on December 14th, 2008 11:28 pm

    Hi Wilhb - the paperclip is so useful. And it’s such a simple invention, yet at the same time, so clever.

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