When I speak to groups about being A Company of 1, inevitably there are people in the audience who ask “What if I don’t know what I want to do..?” or “How do I find the companies that are hiring for what I want to do?” Whether you are just starting out on your career, mid-career or just thinking of making a change and can’t seem to find the “right” path to pursue, I always return the basics…
When I was an adult student at DePaul University studying Marketing, one of my professors asked us what businesses exist for… after a few minutes of dead silence, he said “Companies exist to fill a need, the basis then for marketing strategy is to FIND A NEED AND FILL IT.”
As A Company of 1, your goal is to identify a need in the marketplace that you will fill by delivering your service to your customers (employers), whether it is by taking a position with an existing organization or serving individuals.
So simple a thought… Think of the businesses you visit in your daily life, or people you know who started businessess that didn’t exist before. They had an idea on how to improve something or how to help people fix a problem, or a faster way to provide a service. Because they were interested in it, they learned about it, developed skills around it and were able to consistently and effectively deliver VALUE to their customers. Doesn’t mean that every idea is a billion dollar organization waiting to happen (but that’s another conversation)
That doesn’t mean you have to create a whole new industry… but if you feel like you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up…
1. Think about your interests. What do you like to talk about? What are you involved in when you aren’t doing what others tell you to do? Sports? Nutrition? Finance? Stocks? Gardening? Politics? Where do find your mind wandering to when you don’t have to “think”? These are great places to start when you trying to “discover” what interests you.
2. Read the paper/magazines/blogs/news websites. Instead of just talking about what happened yesterday, pay attention to the bigger changes and evolutions in those areas of interest, whether it is society, business, politics, sports, whatever. Whats changing? What’s new? What’s the future?
3. Try to think of specific problems that are affecting those areas of interest. What intrigues you? What makes you say, “Man, if they’d only….” Your starting to understand how to open up your mind to other possibilities…
4. Go to job websites and look at what positions are regularly being hired for in the industries and companies you have discovered. Do any of these spark your interest? Are you discovering a desire to know more about accounting? IT? Web Development? Sales? Green Marketing? Are you starting to see how things you didn’t know you could do or are interested in start creeping into your brain and telling you “I can do that”?
5. Invent the new service. If the industry doesn’t exist yet (how cool is that?!) think about how you’d go about filling the need you discovered. Is it something you can do for companies or individuals? Could it be a new position in an existing company? Is it something you can do part time until the market “discovers” you? What skills/abilities (products) would you need to develop in order to deliver the value you envision?
When in doubt, go back to the basics… Marketing 101… FIND A NEED AND FILL IT!