Are You Supposed to be Doing This?

By Jay Shifley

 

My buddy Seth Godin (he doesn’t actually know me, but I read his blog and listen to his podcasts religiously!) brought something up one day that changed the way I think.  He said when people ask him if he likes their business idea, or if he thinks it will work, he tells them that that’s the wrong question to ask.  He says that the real question is “Is this what I am supposed to be doing?” As I’ve pondered that, I have come up with three ways why I agree with Seth.

  1. It doesn’t matter if Seth, or me, or your Mom like your business idea, or if we think it is going to work.  What matters is what your customers think.  Opinions, conjectures, and fortune-telling are all worthless when it comes to business start-ups.  No one should be asking for them. 
  2. Many start-ups fail because people lack commitment. Call it what you will—a desire, a mission, a belief—you need to have that in order to make your business work.  I read somewhere that an entrepreneur is the only person who will work 80 hours in order to avoid working 40.  The drive behind that sort of commitment is the deep conviction that you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
  3. Simply making money is not enough when it comes to business. Sure, a lot of people do business only to make money—in any way they can—but true business operates on several levels.  The only way to get the profound satisfaction of operating a true, successful business is to meet the needs of your customers first and foremost.  This mentality moves you beyond the simple “Will this work?” question to more complex questions. Does this bring me and others personal satisfaction?  Does it meet a need in my community? Is the community a better place because my company exists?  All of the above questions tie into the more general “Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”

I don’t know where Seth Godin stands on the above.  However, he makes me think.  You can read his blog at http://sethgodin.typepad.com.

Originally written: December 15, 2016

 

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