Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur


How to get from where you are to where you want to be

Does anyone care?

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. “
Mahatma Gandhi

You think you have got it. That one idea which is going to create a whole new space in the market or cater to an unmet one. Careful now, this is the first step in the process. Passion, enthusiasm and belief in your idea are prerequisites to move forward. The next step is when you take your idea a revolutionary concept of renting books. This idea stemmed from a need to continuously refer a lot of books as I am a research scientist. Due to the unavailability of enough libraries in the city I live in, I am forced to buy a lot of books. Thats when the Eureka point takes place, when I wonder if it is possible to setup a business model where we can essentially rent books for stipulated periods of time.

This may seem like an idea with potential at first. However, the most value it has right now is because it addresses a current need of my own. So now is the time that to do a lot of research into the particular segment that we are talking about.

I would first talk about the idea with just about anyone who would want to listen. I would structure surveys, if resources are available focus groups can be conducted and research into buying patterns of customers currently buying a lot of books, a few books , or no books. If at this stage I get a positive response I would then focus my research efforts on the current suppliers of the product. I would begin the process by identification of libraries in my city or region. Would be looking to see numbers on, how many members does the library have, how many books are borrowed each year, what were the popular subjects, what is the process of borrowing, are there any cost involved, how many books are never returned?

Once we are done with this segment , then begin the explore the book stores. How many of those are there in the city, what is the average size of the bookstore, what sort of varieties do they hold, how many books were sold in the past year, what were the popular subjects, what are the average margins on book sales, how do they promote new books. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope I have got the point across that current industry numbers and facts are important to gauge just how big your market is currently and what sort of percentage we will be looking at to achieve our end.

We should then have a rough idea of what the figures currently look like, whether there is an upward trend in the market for book sales or a decline. Whether the idea can feasibly be implemented on a national scale if the correct resources are available. This would be the number crunching aspect of the entire exercise, which is when simple feasibility studies are conducted and we get a good gauge on the major questions that we want to be asking at this stage:

1. Is there an important customer and market need?

2. Do we have a unique and feasible approach on fulfilling that need?

We are now at the stage where if we are happy with our initial feedback and response about the idea we can begin on developing it further. Only move to stage 2 once you have clearly identified a substantial need in the market. I have come across countless individuals who when I ask this question, “Would anyone really care if they use or don’t use your product?”. Usually its silence or they reiterate their products list of features again. Don’t make that mistake make sure your idea is backed with a customer and market need which has the inherent capability of making a difference and scaling to a global platform.


Filed under: Ideas, , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. distantcube says:

    Wise words. Execution is at least 90% of it and more people need to realise this.

  2. Rob says:

    Do you mean something like what BookSwim does? If not, then how does your idea differ?

  3. Usman Sheikh says:

    hi Rob, yup bookswim is a very good example of how the idea I used in the example can be implemented. I was using the this concept as a sample to understand how to identify the need. Do you think the bookswim model has a market?

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