Originally Published by Intent Blog on June 25, 2012
So, for almost 5 years, I chased a business. I say chased because it wasn’t the regular way people go about having a business: have a product, open a shop, attract customers, serve customers, grow business.
My path was more like: have vision for a future version of the world, try to figure out ways to get there with some web contraption that we’ll certainly eventually make money on. This is a bit of an overstatment, but I am telling a story here. So, while cobbling together this web contraption, I went through like, 10 business models. Learned all about business models.
One of the business models was so intriguing, or maybe I was, that I got into an exclusiveincubator program (think Shark Tank, but instead of just meeting the venture capitalists once and asking them for money, you work with them for an entire summer and they train you on how they think about businesses and position yourself to have the most leverage possible when you ask people for money before you finally get around to asking them for their money.)
During this training, I completely overhauled and upgraded my knowledge of businesses. I was reading a whole ton, networking with all the business folk, being taught ninja shit with homework and having to do weekly presentations in front of millionaires.
I kinda hid my yoga hat/mat for a while. Well, unless it was needed or I could tell I was of like minds. I tried to just live the practice rather than talk about it. Slowly I’d figure out ways to talk about it in everyone else’s language. But anyway, that’s not the point of this article.
One of the biggest lessons I learned going through all those business models is that it’s always vitally important to test your value proposition right away to see if you have anything or not. Get out there on the market and see what the market says about your product.
Every day your doors are open that you’re not making more money than you’re spending plus the daily value of what you’ve invested – you’re losing money. You’re dying, in essence. But that means every day is a day to learn about what our value propositions really are, to market the valid ones, and even the invalid ones by getting to know what people think about the ones we are keeping in our heads.
And how does that relate to real life? Well, in my own life and with the people I’m coaching, I’m learning that we all have a lot of value propositions up in our heads that we’re not sure are true. Some of them are positive value propositions, but some of them are even a negative value assignment. So we have these certain things that we think people think about us or even that we think about ourselves. Sometimes they get so weighing that they fricking drag you down. Your business is dying, know what I’m sayin’.
So the thing is, we have to go and get out there and figure out if they’re true. It doesn’t always mean talking to the person about “hey, do you have a problem with me? See, I think I fucked up when I acted too egotistical… and …”
Sometimes, it’s operating from a space where you’ve entirely moved on from the old troublesome way, with maybe a brief acknowledgement of your transgressions and how you’d have done it differently, but then you demonstrate by the new way that you behave that you have learned the lesson of those old moments, and this gives you the opportunity to go out and deliver a new value proposition and continue to build a relationship with that person.
But in any event, the first thing in business to make sure that you’re not wasting your time and money is to get in front of a potential customer and see if they may want to give you any of their money. How can you apply that to your relationships and the rest of your life?