Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!
The first few months of starting a new business feel a lot like that fateful episode of Friends. You’re trying to get a sofa up a complicated stairwell, single-handed, in the dark. It’s hard, it’s exhausting and sometimes you just want to punch Ross in the face.
To start a company you have to keep believing that you’re doing something innovative. To leave your job and take the first step into the unknown, you also need to believe in your idea. But this is where the problem starts.
Three months ago I started a business because I was convinced I was right. That all businesses needed content, and that all content could be produced by comedians. It turns out that I was right about some things, and very wrong about others.
I forgot the number one rule of any business. That to be successful, you have to listen carefully to the customer. My customers weren’t asking me for content, they were asking for something much simpler.
I kept encountering more and more business owners who just needed guidance, a bit of strategic direction and often some training in delivering their own marketing. I stuck to my guns and tried to sell these people content, but that wasn’t what they needed.
When I looked back over the enquiries I’d had, I realised something. I needed to pivot what I was doing, and learn to listen properly rather than focusing on sales.
Time for a slice of humble pie.
Having realised what an idiot I’d been, I reached out to other content marketers, coaches and strategists and wrote down everything they said. I listened. I spent a week thinking long and hard about what people need from marketing and eventually re-positioned my business.
What has this experience taught me?
LISTEN to your customers, even if you think you have the best idea in history.
If your customers are asking for help, GIVE IT to them.
If you help someone, it is FINE to charge for this service.
Sounds basic, doesn’t it? But if you’re a founder and in possession of a huge ego, sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.
Thank you to the people that helped me pivot, thank you to the people who asked me for help, and I’m sorry it took me three months to realise what my business was really all about.