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What do you think is the most important decision for founders?

Three questions to ask yourself before starting a business or getting attached to a business idea:

1. What resources are you willing to put in? time, money, risk?
2.  Who do you want your customers to be?
3. What do you want to get out of this?

I came across these questions in a Seth Godin interview about his latest book The Practice: Shipping Creative Work. The 1st and the 3rd questions make sense. The 2nd one seems less obvious, more unexpected. I assert that this is the most important decision for entrepreneurs:

Who do you want your customers to be? Or your users, students, readers, clients? Who is your thing for? Who do you serve?

The initial appeal of being self-employed is that you have complete control over your time. You decide what to do, when and how to do it. You are your own boss, you don't answer to anyone. However, if our goal is to be successful as an entrepreneur, we should seek to change this as soon as possible. We should be eager to be on the hook for something to someone. The real appeal of doing-your-own-thing then is not that you don't have to answer to anyone, it's that you get to decide who that is. Who you want your customers to be, who your work is for. Once your decide, then you're on the hook to serve this group. This is an important decision as we get to serve who we like. It helps to like your customers, to be able to relate to them and have the desire to dedicate your work to helping them succeed.

Being On The Hook and Smallest Viable Audience

People generally are reluctant to be 'on the hook' for something. The Practice makes the case that actually 'being on the hook' is where you want to be. Because if your work benefits others and you create things that are useful, then your customers/readers/users will seek out your work. They'll be waiting for you and if you don't show up, they'll wonder what happened. This is what it means to be on the hook.

You also want to be on the hook to a group that is as specific and as small as possible. You don't want to be on the hook to anybody and everybody. This is called the smallest viable audience in The Practice.

Read more at The Leaf Node, an experimental newsletter that I started as a forcing function to ship and share something every week. I plan to write at least until November 2021. I'm putting myself on the hook by sharing here :)

  1. 1

    The #1 thing is to dive into an area you have so much curiosity, so that you can learn in and out about everything. When you do that and keep be open-minded, the rest will sort of come together (haha easy said than done).

    My previous mistake was always going into space I had zero idea about. I thought user interviews can help me understand things but boy, it doesn't work like that (unless you're a veteran entrepreneur).

  2. 1

    @bhumi This was a great read indeed! Seth Godin is truly a genius haha! A lot of the times I use his tips and knowledge for marketing of my tool Brutask as well!

    P.S - The link to leaf node isn't working, so make sure to recheck it. I am really eager to see more of your content!

    1. 1

      @siddhitaupare thanks for letting me know, fixed!

      I like the look and feel and clean design of your product page for Brutask :)

      1. 1

        Haha thank you so much for your feedback! Means a lot!

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