If you watch “Shark Tank,” carefully, you’ll see those billion- and million-dollar investors know what all successful CEOs know: that big ideas don’t build successful companies. Big ideas are actually a distraction to building a successful company. What builds successful companies is finding a marketing need that is big enough to support a business. It’s not brain surgery. It’s not about being a brilliant retailer or CEO, or understanding marketing and social media. There are two basic, primal skills every entrepreneur wanting to succeed should have. But they are often overlooked as entrepreneurs chase the big idea, even though every successful CEO stresses their importance. Finding a market need is the first step, but to succeed you have to have the second step too.
Most of us overcomplicate the whole process of starting a company. And we really overcomplicate the process of making it a successful company. The skills every entrepreneur should have include having a passion for what they do, and a feel or sense for their industry that borders on intuitive or even psychic at times because they’re so invested in it. Every successful business starts with a market need, not a big idea. Go ahead and have the big ideas, but begin by investing in the market need.
Mike Michalowicz is author of The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He is CEO of Provendus Group.