Ok, so now what?

Two of my friends have started “something” in the last six months. One invested a lot of his own time and a little money making a website that engages people to see how their behaviors, likes, habits, etc. compare to the behaviors, likes, and habits of other people in the community. The other invested a lot of money and time in a brick and mortar business.

The first person’s venture relies on a huge audience regularly engaging the site. His business model presumably is to sell advertising and (hopefully) build up enough of a data set to sell that data to corporations. This is the business model you see on Facebook, for example.

The second person’s product is in high demand and has a high price point. Landing customers can be a challenge, but simply having one customer pays the bills and two starts to put money in his pocket. If he were to “sell out” of his capacity at about 12 customers, he would be bringing in a nice chunk of change.

Unfortunately, both people’s ventures opened for business and did not experience an early “pop” of interest. So now both are in the unenviable “now what?” position.

Some people might encourage them to “pivot” or seek “social proof” or “product market fit.” My experience has been that these phrases are most often uttered by people whose business vocabulary far outstrips their business ability. Neither of my friends needs a wholesale change in what they are doing. Why? Because neither of them has had enough interest and audience to know whether what they are doing is good or bad, right or wrong.

I’m all for changing direction when something isn’t working, but you can’t change simply based on a hunch. Having 200 people visit a website and only 10% of them return within a week is not a failure – that’s actually a fairly solid rate of return. ANd having 5 potential customers visit a business and not buy isn’t a failure either – it might simply mean you need more volume. The 6th visitor could be a “yes”…or the 7th or 8th or 50th.

Changing directions for a business or an idea or a product is often important. Even a subtle change can be the difference between massive success and quick failure. But make sure your motivations are based in fact. Don’t give up on the initial direction just because great things didn’t happen as quickly as you wanted. OVernight success usually takes years.

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