“I started a website. How do I get clients?” That’s the full content of an email I received from a self-described entrepreneur.
Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” He also said that the core functions of a business are innovation and marketing. Innovating is about creating new, different, and greater value. Marketing is about acquiring the customers who want, need, and will benefit from the value you create.
Right now, it is en vogue to don the moniker of “Entrepreneur,” especially in the technology space. Even more prestigious is the title “Serial Entrepreneur,” even without the track record of success necessary to make the title appropriate for one’s LinkedIn profile.
An idea doesn’t make you an entrepreneur. Almost everyone you know has a good idea, some of them potentially good ideas for a business. A good idea by itself is worthless. In fact, some really great ideas don’t make a good business.
A website, a business card, and a pitch deck don’t make you an entrepreneur either. The website can provide the appearance of legitimacy, as can a business card. A pitch deck can share your vision of what the business might become in the future, and the projections might show your certain smooth path to the legendary “Unicorn” status. But none of these things will make you an entrepreneur.
The only thing you really need to become an entrepreneur is a customer. Until you have a customer, you don’t have a business. Until you have someone paying you to create some value for them, you are not an entrepreneur. The idea, the website, the business cards, the pitch deck, and even the seed capital don’t make your idea into a business.
We need more entrepreneurs. More people should start their own business, even if it’s their side hustle. The most important thing you need to succeed in an entrepreneurial endeavor is a plan to acquire customers and the ability to execute on that plan. Until you have that, nothing else matters much.
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Filed under: The Entrepreneur's Playbook