What does it take to create a successful business? First, you have to identify a problem in your environment. The most successful entrepreneurs focus first on providing unique solutions to real human needs; profit is only a by-product.
Before I started my business, I administered an online survey to 250 SMEs. Their overwhelmingly positive response to the idea of an online consulting platform helped convinced me that there was a need for my service.
The Five Core Human Needs
There are several human needs waiting to be met and you can build a profitable venture around any of them. According to ‘’The Personal MBA’’ written by Josh Kaufmann, human beings have five core human drives (or needs) that have a profound influence on our decisions and actions:
1. The Need to Acquire:The desire to obtain or collect physical objects, as well as immaterial qualities like status, power, and influence. Businesses built on the drive to acquire include retailers, investment brokerages, and political consulting companies. Companies that promise to make us wealthy, famous, influential, or powerful connect to this drive.
2. The Need to Bond:The desire to feel valued and loved by forming relationships with others, either platonic or romantic. Businesses built on the drive to bond include restaurants, conferences, and dating services. Companies that promise to make us attractive, well liked, or highly regarded connect to this drive.
3. The Need to Learn:The desire to satisfy our curiosity. Businesses built on the drive to learn include academic programs, book publishers, and training workshops. Companies that promise to make us more knowledgeable or competent connect to this drive.
4. The Need to Defend:The desire to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our property. Businesses built on the drive to defend include home alarm systems, insurance products, martial arts training, and legal services. Companies that promise to keep us safe, eliminate a problem, or prevent bad things from happening connect to this drive.
5. The Need to Feel:The desire for new sensory stimulus, intense emotional experiences, pleasure, excitement, entertainment, and anticipation. Businesses built on the drive to feel include restaurants, movies, games, concerts, and sporting events. Offers that promise to give us pleasure, thrill us, or give us something to look forward to, connect with this drive.
Whenever people have an unmet need in one or more of these areas, a market will form to satisfy that need. As a result, the more needs your business connects with, the more attractive it will be to your potential market.
We need to distinguish between needs (necessary and legitimate desires) and wants (unnecessary and possibly harmful desires). Building a business around mere wants which could be harmful to customers is viewed negatively by society.
At the core, all successful businesses sell some combination of money, status, power, love, knowledge, protection, pleasure, and excitement. The more clearly you articulate how your product satisfies one or more of these drives, the more attractive your business will become.
What human need does your business meet?
This article was first published on SMEFaculty.