A few years ago I wrote a post titled “8 Start Up Myths Every Staffing Entrepreneur Should Avoid.” I’m always shocked when anyone but my mom (and my teammates who I make proofread my posts) actually read them — but I’ve had dozens of people over the last few years call just to talk to me about this post.
Having been in the staffing and recruiting industry for 15 years now, I can truly say I love these conversations and meeting the people I’m having them with. In these new conversations, I’ve found a few myths I could add the original list of 8, so I thought updating this list was a good idea.
For now — we’ll just start with one update.
The #9 myth I think every staffing entrepreneur should avoid is this…
All you need is a good business idea.
I get asked about business ideas all the time. Friends, family members, people from the industry, etc. They all start with the same question: “What do you think about this for a business idea?”
What I’ve learned about business is that the idea really doesn’t matter. Ideas come and go, and some really bad ideas end up being crazy successful business ventures. So, while you of course need an idea to get things going, the idea really isn’t the most important aspect of having a successful business. And no — this is not where I say it’s about the ability to execute the idea. That should be a given.
What’s more important than the idea? It’s your ability to sell that idea.
Being a sales guy, this statement might sound bias. Also, I’m certainly not trying to minimize the efforts and contributions of anyone else in a business. But let me explain.
First of all — you can have the most amazing idea, product, or service in the world — but if no one buys it then you don’t have a business. By sales, I mean a lot of things, not just the ability to close deals.
For example, I was on the phone with some people the other day that were confident they could build a better VMS product than those currently being used by thousands of hospitals across the country. They asked if they thought I could help and if they funded it — if I’d be interested in going in on it.
My answer about could we build a better product today than this one? Absolutely.
But my answer to whether I want to help and be a part of it? Not a chance.
Why? Because the ability to sell this new product would be a massive uphill battle. Could I or anyone sell it? Sure, it’s not impossible — but you’re asking the hospital to unseat a product that’s working very well and entrenched into their staffing processes, and has been for years. There are much easier battles to win.
This is just one example of what I mean by “can you sell it?” Other things to consider with regard to this question are:
- How are you going to get information about your business to your audience?
- What kind of network do you have to reach potential clients?
- Will you cold call, email, market to or meet with these people face to face?
- Who will do the sales? You, or do you need a sales person?
- How are you going to discuss your business with potential customers?
- What kind of variations, options and ‘deals’ are you willing to negotiate?
- What is your pricing model?
- How will you intake these customers?
- How will you service and support these customers?
- What kind of competition do you have and how are you positioned against them?
- What problem are you solving or goal are you achieving for people that buy from you?
- Do you have to ‘unseat’ an established competitor? If so, what are the switching costs for your client?
- How will you ensure these people stay your customers?
- How will you measure that you’re charging enough or getting enough customers to support your business operations?
There are so many important things to getting your staffing business up and running. But again, from my perspective — it’s not the idea that matters, because even a bad idea can be a successful. If you can sell it.