Saturday, December 11, 2004

LBB Lesson - 1.5. The Network is the Entrepreneur cont...

In Lesson 1, I covered the usefulness of networking to the budding entrepreneur. Having a useful social network however, is not just important when you're starting out, but throughout your whole business career
Now, the obvious benefit is increased sales. The more people who know you, the better your chances that you'll come across potential customers (or friends of customers etc.). However, here's at least one more reason to spend some time getting to know a diverse bunch of people, especially if you're in the software business.

The people you know from other walks of life are the best sources of inspiration, and help, when developing a new product.

Here's an example from my own experiences...

A relative of mine works in the advertising industry. One day I was at his house and right out of the blue, he asked me to suggest some software that'll help him organise and maintain his vast collection of (mostly video) media files. He often has to refer to old campaigns and ads and it would save him a lot of time if he could pull up just the file he needed.

Of course, what he really wanted was software that would 'review' the clip and file it automatically, but that's not possible yet. The alternative is of course to correctly annotate the files and sort them sensibly. Even a properly arranged hierarchal collection of folders would be enough in most cases.

However, his remarks got me thinking about the problems of the advertising and marketing world in general and before long, I was convinced that it was possible to come out with a product that could target this cash rich segment :-P

Now, I have several near relatives involved in this field, so I've picked up quite a bit of advertising/marketing lore through dinner table osmosis. In addition, these relatives (wonderful people, I must say (in case they're reading this!)) could act as advisers and beta testers, giving me insights into the industry I couldn't get elsewhere.

It was perfect. I was both inspired to produce a product which I'm convinced will do very well and at the same time I find myself uniquely positioned to create it. All because of a chance request by someone I knew.

I'm sure you can come up with other such examples from your own life. And of course, the more people you know, the greater the chances that one of them will cough up a chance remark which could inspire you to heights of greatness; or at least increased profitability :-P

...And remember the golden rule of networking from last time: Be helpful to others and others will be helpful to you!

No comments: