In my lifetime, I’ve built over 30 businesses.
Most of them have failed.
Which is a good thing for you because failure is a great teacher.
It also means I have a better idea of why the ones that worked, did work.
There is less confirmation bias in my views of how to build a successful business.
At least that’s what my bias tells me.
It’s easy to say that to succeed in business you need to drink a 3/4 cup of Green Tea at 4:37 am while reading The War of Art backward.
But like anything else in life, it isn’t that complicated.
In fact, it’s quite simple to build a successful business.
The complexity only comes from execution.
But that’s not what this is about.
This is about the concept, and once you understand it, you understand everything else.
But before we get into that it’s important to understand why businesses fail.
Why Businesses Fail
I believe businesses fail for one simple reason.
Their message fails to fit the vision that their audience has.
If you can find the right message to match the vision of your audience, then you’re pretty much there.
I know, I know. But what about marketing, distribution, design, and everything else?
Sure, you need that stuff to execute on the Message-Vision Fit (MVF), but until you have an MVF, everything else you do will miss the mark.
It’s important you understand this concept for the rest of this to work.
Because now we are going to look at the paths to success.
The 3 Paths to a Successful Business
This is more about understanding if you should even bother pushing forward with your business idea.
If you can’t do ONE of these things then try another idea.
However, if you put your thinking cap on and see how MVF fits into this, you’ll begin to see how you can make almost anything work.
1. Be First
This probably isn’t the Be First thing that you’re thinking of.
While being first to market can be very helpful with certain things it’s not the indicator of long-term success.
Nike wasn’t the first to market with shoes.
Apple wasn’t the first to market with phones.
But what these two companies were first to was their Message-Vision Fit.
They were first with a message that matched the vision of the future their audience wanted.
That’s what you have to be first with.
It’s why people get upset with Apple when they release a feature that has been around for years on other products.
But nobody would be having those discussions if those products did a better job with their MVF.
But Apple understands the product is not the key. It’s understanding the vision and finding a message that matches that which does the selling.
Following this path also means you can introduce an old product to a new audience. You can show them a new way to view it with the right message.
It’s like a magic trick.
2. Be Prolific
This is where some people are great at taking advantage of the competition.
They just show up in more places with the right message.
How many times have you been using a tool for a long time only to find out later there is a better tool to match your needs?
The other tool did almost everything right.
They had the right message that matched your vision. The product itself is a joy to use.
Nobody has anything bad to say about it.
You didn’t know it exists.
The product you are currently using is more prolific.
They write more. They put out more videos. Their ads are all over the place.
You can’t miss them.
So they keep on winning.
Now, before you go any further I don’t want you to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to produce more content just to produce more content.
If the MVF isn’t there, your content doesn’t mean jack shit.
If my message is better than yours, I can get more views to a blog post than you can get to 10 combined.
If all things are equal with MVF, then the most prolific player wins.
Alex Hormozi is a great example of this.
I like the dude, but if you’ve been around the business long enough you know that nothing he is saying is new.
It doesn’t need to be.
But what he does is be more prolific than anyone else with the things that he is saying.
It’s almost impossible to miss this guy if you’re in this space.
He understood this and went absolutely HAM (you’ll have to look that up) with his strategy.
But again, this only worked for him because he had MVF.
3. Be Contrarian
There is an audience in your niche that is being completely ignored.
They go along with everyone else because there is no other option, but silently they are saying “this isn’t right“.
They are waiting for someone else to say it louder and offer them a solution.
Android works because it allows you crazy customization as opposed to iOS.
Mr. Beast blew up because he gave his money away while others were keeping theirs.
Now, going back to MVF (Message-Vision Fit) you’ll notice that the Vision doesn’t change.
Just the message on how to achieve that vision.
When everyone was saying that you needed to move to video to find success, Dickie Bush came and said that writing was a great way to build an audience.
Being contrarian just to be contrarian doesn’t work.
Being contrarian because you want to reach the people that are being ignored works really well.
This also means that you’re first to them (path #1).
Will Your Business Idea Work?
Assuming there is an audience out there that has the money to pay for what your possible solution will be, how can you know it will work?
Ask yourself if you can fit within one of the three paths above and if so, you will have a solid chance of success.
If you can’t fit into any then you should start looking for a new idea.
But before we end this post I want to revisit the first path of being first.
And this is where the Internet is amazing.
On my Twitter feed, there are no less than 20 copywriting gurus all selling me the same thing.
How to get better at copywriting.
Because of the Internet, ALL of them can find success.
Because each of them can reach someone first before the others.
If you see Guru A first and I see Guru B first, then both gurus make money from the same audience (us).
So just because someone is already out there with an offer similar to yours, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.
Your struggle will be if they are more prolific than you can ever be because then that could mean they’ve already reached the entire audience.
But if you can find an audience that they haven’t reached?
It’s like finding gold.
It’s why competition is for losers.