Possibilities have provided the necessary framework that has directed the past and continues to steer the future. It facilitates movement and, with that, reaction occurs. It is important to understand that without movement it is difficult to make progression beyond chance. This is where the necessity for a system to innovate and process ideas with specific needs and wants came to mind.
If you are here, I will assume that you are trying to move ahead on some part of your life, creating a clear direction, paving your way toward a more powerful and successful future. With this platform as your foundation, you have the ability to gain better understanding, threading together your needs and wants, solving challenges in the process.
Early on in my development, I was informed that the larger the problems I solved, the more I helped others, the more others will help me. Never set limitations on your possibilities!
This first section, “Define”, is made up of three components: needs, wants and why. The breakdown into these components will help eliminate chaos, confusion and lack of direction, and will assist you in your pursuit of laser-focused success.
The business process begins with need. It’s the quintessential ingredient. It is exceedingly tough to create profits from a product or service which nobody wants or needs. Imagine being a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, being greeted by people armed with smart-phones (telling their children to Google the word ‘encyclopedia’). Yes, it can be tough to profit from something nobody wants or is willing to pay for.
Have you ever had a brilliant idea to bring a product or service to a market and have it rejected? I have jumped from a sound sleep and run to my office with a million-dollar idea numerous times, only to have it greeted with a dismissive yawn or shake of the head. Perhaps the market timing just wasn’t right, or their just wasn’t enough demand at that moment. Apparently I am not alone. Companies large and small, have struck out. Our research and development teams tell us that if we track the past, we will have reference points to adjust our path toward success with greater accuracy. That way, we can somewhat remove the blindfold of risk as we progress toward the future.
Determining the specific need will create clear direction. Find the pain and fix it! That is the battle-cry of many missions to market. Fact: it is much easier to generate success when you know exactly what to do. Have you ever experienced a moment when you knew exactly what to do, you did it, and things worked? Of course! I have, and it feels great to know where we are going. It also feels great to progress beyond that initial feeling of victory.
Determining exactly what you want will bring clarity to help you accomplish. I have found that knowing where I am, and where I am going, I like to call this my “target outcome” creates an easier path of travel to completion. Think about the people you know, maybe even yourself, who have marched with full focus on the prize. Knowing one’s path allows for a speedier trip, doesn’t it? Can you remember the days of highway travel prior to GPS technology? Did you ever see people driving below the speed limit (as cars whipped around them), eyes bobbing from map to exit sign, map to exit sign: “Is this the exit? I don’t think it’s the exit. Maybe it’s the next one. No, it was that last one”. It is awfully hard to generate speed when you are panicked, looking for an entrance or exit. Think about the people around you today: are they driving in circles, veering off the path, or are they progressing steadily and swiftly toward a successful ‘now arriving’ announcement?
Feelings of chaos lead to lack of progress, until the pain is unbearable. It is like running in quicksand until the last breath of air is taken. Plenty of movement and energy are expended, but you do not get anywhere. When I have asked clients’ about the state of their companies, several have replied with a tired voice: chaos. I tell them the toughest (and easiest) job is to stop digging and start putting an innovation plan together with a target. It is road map that can eliminate the chaos in your business.
Imagine the power (and forward progression) you’d possess if you and your team knew exactly what to do, and what the market desired. What kind of impact could that create? What are the problems that could be solved? What would you do if you did not subscribe to chaos and confusion? Do you think it would be possible to grow your business with compounded efforts? Abandon the quicksand! Elimination of confusion will allow you to harness the focus necessary to succeed where you may have failed before.
Let’s understand the difference between want and need, and how you can grab hold of this powerful process to deliver a combination that will trigger your customers’ minds to think of you, every time! You must first identify the wants your market has, which you can fulfill. Please understand creating new markets (or market segments) can be rewarding, but can come with challenges. Let us make it your goal to reduce or eliminate the obstacles by identifying accurate customer wants, as you funnel it through the process. Similar to panning for gold, when you discover the right environment (digging in the right places), with the necessary equipment, your odds for striking gold are greatly increased. Imagine climbing trees armed with bottle caps to scratch the bark in search of gold…not a likely success. But, some people have tried such foolish things in business!
It starts by identifying your customers’ desires. Not sure what those desires are? Ask them! Organize your team into focus groups, determine the questions necessary to propel you in the right direction, and set them loose on the streets to speak with their clients. That’s where the pulse is.
Through questioning you will gain clarity. I have participated in numerous focus groups. They are easy to find, and usually free. They allow you to submit questions which will then be sent to multiple targeted people who have experience, expertise and/or interest in your field. Please remember: a quality group is important, but you also need to strive for quantity to understand the wants and challenges of the many. Once you have the data, you have the basic points from which to begin the funnel process. You may wish to conduct your research more than once, which can help to ensure you are traveling the path with speed and accuracy, establishing and strengthening relationships for your success over time. Practice is one of the true laws of success.
Finding a common thread of desire among clients may be the crystal-clear demonstration of demand. It is critically important to not only estimate the size of your market, but also the level at which you can satisfy their desires. History is littered with people and companies who have blundered at this key juncture. A grossly inaccurate estimation on market-size or market demand can crush entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies alike. After miscalculating the size of demand, and their own abilities to supply the solution, they felt they could simply up shift to a higher gear and speed toward success, not realizing their ‘vehicle’ was not built to withstand such a ride.
A dangerous manner of thinking may include the phrase “If I double my contacts, I will double my sales!” Have you ever heard the mantra before? Many imagine this power, yet it simply does not exist. I have fallen victim to the pitfalls of overestimating demand.
A simple formula can be: volume of product sales multiplied by one hundred divided by total sales volume of competing products.
It is important to note the reasoning behind your estimation, so you can evaluate and adjust your expectations. A common definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’. You get the point. Follow the desire, and match it with demand, for a combination that can succeed.
It is important to establish and understand all requirements and requests made by your customer base. Establishing these filters will allow you to screen an idea quickly. Funneling the wants and needs through the requirements will eliminate overload and assist in prioritizing ideas as you prepare for the next step. Carefully select several worthwhile ideas at a time, and be aware of why they are worthwhile. Be cautious of the ‘too many irons in the fire’ syndrome!
You may know people, perhaps that well-dressed person in your mirror? Who have been advised to focus on one thing, to guide one aspect of their responsibilities through to completion, versus doing a laundry-list of items only half-way. In my experience, the jugglers become strugglers as they try to stay on course, ultimately allowing their overwhelming list of responsibilities to pull them in too many directions.
Does this sound familiar?
Fear not, this happens to the best of us! The mere choice to be more aware will be the flag you’ve jammed in the sand, marking your decision to establish a new starting point, a reminder that you no longer wish to conduct business the old way. Clearer decisions can now be made, and you will be better aligned with your desired outcomes.
Some people believe that saying “Yes” to every opportunity is the key to success. Heck, there was even a movie made, based upon this principle!
It is my belief that “NO” may be the better answer in certain situations.
Let us understand the importance of need and want and the explosive impact they can have on your future. Please take a moment to reach into your heart and mind. Can you think of couple things, could be anything something old or something new which has not yet been manifested? Is there a product or service you’ve envisioned, but not yet created? Once identified, can you run it through the process of want and need, with a plan to eliminate false starts and misfires? Contemplate the benefits of reducing time and risk by having a deeper understanding of what the market actually wants and demands. Allow yourself to enjoy the well-planned success you deserve and desire by understanding that you are the only one who can ultimately determine your future.
Is it easier to achieve if you know what you want? You can overcome obstacles if you can grasp the tapestry you are designing, thread by thread. This will allow you to make decisions with precision, increasing the odds of a winning vision with every stitch!
Think about the capacity to make decisions and act on them. Would you like to eliminate the chaos and self-doubt which lead to overwhelm and eventual shut-down? How effective is a juggler when a few too many things are added to the mix? Too often, they all come tumbling down. We are much the same. By implementing your new definition, you can act swiftly with a Zen approach. There is great benefit in how we feel when things are in a known state, creating autonomy over our own existence.
This process of define will allow you to raise your esteem for yourself and others. You will have the ability to build up your problem-solving muscles as time progresses. Always remember, however, that with any great feats of accomplishment there are still many ups and downs. What you gain by understanding over time is a more accurate judgment of our true value and worth. All too often, we appraise ourselves far below our capacity. I subscribe to the idea “If I know what, then I know my direction”
Power comes with your ability to connect. As you connect defined reference points you will discover a charted course to your expectations. Imagine a boat drifting on the ocean without a sail. It is at the mercy of every element except for its own power. Have you ever felt this way when working on something? No map to guide you, no compass and no clearly defined destination. It can be downright painful! Perhaps you have experienced this in your past. Perhaps you are adrift right now, which led you to this.
As you define, you are making strides in a confident new direction, like raising your own sail. Forward progress is rooted in an instinct which gives you the power to move with importance.
You can do this too! Choose to rid yourself of doubt and fear, gaining the focus and power you need to achieve.
Start with a segment to define, perhaps a product or service which you’d like to create or expand. You may even have an existing concept sitting on your shelf which could be improved-upon for maximum results. Next, you may begin to imagine, chart and detail the needs. Could you benefit from assistance with this? Ask your clients!
Then, follow up with want. This is the point at which good things become great, as people see the benefit of receiving things which they desire. This is where the profit can come in to play.
Struggling to come up with ideas? Reach out for some brain and imagination stimulation. Try a cupboard of your favorite snack-foods for a quick break. Engage in a quick game of ‘what is in my top drawer’. Use any outside stimuli to brainstorm ideas: music, scented candles, a change of scenery…anything! Take at least three minutes, writing down and recording as many things as you can create.
After you have completed your lists you may begin the filter process, defined by several basic requirements which will either yea or nay your ideas. This will keep you aligned with your core and allow you to thread your connections together.
When you are ready to take this process to a higher scale, invite others (whom you trust) to participate. They should be forward-thinkers with a meaningfully unique point of view to join you in the exercise. Having a team or board will help with short sided also known as “Drinking the Kool-Aid” defined as a belief accepted blindly without thorough examination. Stuck for partners? Not exactly swimming in resources for a team-game? Always remember that you are a product of the books you read, audio programs you hear, and people with whom you spend your time. The answers you need may be found in any of these resources. Begin now to chart your new course to success!