As an entrepreneur, and as someone with a commitment to innovation, I have some practical advice about finding a niche and creating an organization to address that opportunity.
My recommendation, which is not the stuff of business school case studies or the kind of financial folklore narrated by Warren Buffett, his avuncular style masking a keen sense of unstoppable force and investment intelligence, is this: Create the products you want, for the specific things you need, which do not currently exist in the marketplace. In so many words, eliminate the annoyances of everyday life – fix a particular problem – and structure a brand around that solution.
I write these words from experience. Indeed, I have the physical scars (mostly scratches) to prove this point because, as the Founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye, I oversee a business dedicated to alleviating a common frustration: The itching sensation induced by pests, pets, allergies and unexpected events.
My journey is a story worth sharing; it is a tale of universal principles that starts with a challenge, proceeds with a search for an answer (unavailable, at the time, by retailers) and concludes with a new product, based on extensive research and trial-and-error, that changes a situation for the better.
My admonition to readers, therefore, is simple: Do not look to news headlines and trends for the next big thing; search, instead, within yourself for the products and services you want – make the reality you prefer, which will inspire the rise of the company you will run and beckon the consumers you will soon come to know.
Put another way, transform something practical into something profitable; direct your energy to surveying what you need, followed by researching what (in terms of products) exists or should be available to potential customers worldwide.
I offer myself as an example of this fact because, despite my initial intentions and without any grand ambition to conquer the world of e-commerce, devoid of a pressing urge to stake my claim and plant a flag upon the (cyber) landscape; in lieu of images of conveyor belts, boxes, mail slips, forklifts and mass shipping, in the absence of a registered brand name and entry into this universe of automation, I stand as the ultimate proof of the maxim described above: Create the products you want, for the things you require, so consumers may also enjoy the benefits you provide.
Build Your Brand by Celebrating Your Consumers: The Value of Resources
At the same time, no executive or entrepreneur operates in a vacuum. The best brands are part of an ongoing cooperative enterprise, where education – for and by consumers – enhances a company's credibility and secures its integrity with the public.
Again, I offer this statement from experience. In fact, the Resources page for Kiss My Itch Goodbye is a testament to this belief, that the best relationship between a business and its customers is a dialogue, not a monologue; we have nothing to dictate – and we have no diktat to issue – but we have plenty to learn from people around the globe.
The takeaway theme to this discussion, which I always seek to uphold, is straightforward: Create the products you want – and engage others throughout the process; solicit their feedback, read and respond to their correspondence – and always, without exception, thank each individual for their contribution.
These elements are the foundation of professional success and personal decency. They are values without an expiration date because they are virtues tested by the ages. Time, the great barometer of behavior, confirms the truth of these actions.
Now is the time to make these actions real. Now is the time to lead, period.
Merry Richon is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye, an all-natural and holistic means of alleviating the itching sensation caused by variety of external factors.