How Founder-Problem Fit Powers the Mission-Driven Business
If you are genuinely driven to solve a particular problem, you stop thinking in terms of “marketing” and realize every message is part of the mission.
When I start a new business, I don’t start with a product. I start with a problem.
Over the last 20+ years, I’ve started a dozen or so successful businesses. And in the vast majority of those, I had no idea what I would sell when I started.
An exception was the real estate business I started in 2002, where I knew I was selling real estate services. But even then, I drastically deviated from the status quo by choosing to represent only buyers — not sellers.
This proved to be a smart way to differentiate my young business from more experienced competitors. And yet, the reason I did it in the first place was driven by who I was and my sense of purpose. As an attorney, I knew the real estate brokerage business was riddled with conflicts of interest among people who saw themselves as salespeople instead of actual representatives of the client.
Once I moved on to create Copyblogger, my sense of purpose was still at the forefront. I saw people trying to make a living as bloggers who needed to understand what I had learned over the previous seven years of using online content for marketing purposes.
After teaching people how to make engaging content and convincing them that they needed to sell products and services, not advertising, I knew what I had to do next. I launched “Teaching Sells,” training that was all about getting content creators to produce the products they were best suited for – paid online education.
Next up, I saw the frustrations people experienced with WordPress as non-technical creators because I had the same frustrations. And this was the catalyst for me – someone who thought he could never be in the software business – to do exactly that.
Once that got rolling, my team and I were able to successfully create other software and hosting products to round out the web publishing process. This is how we reached eight figures in highly profitable revenue without ever taking venture capital.
Now, I told you all of that to illustrate this: the concept of product-market fit as the first step to starting a business is why most new ventures fail. Combine that with the fact that people who start a business for no other reason than to make money often fail as well.
Mission-driven businesses are different. They start and thrive thanks to founder-problem fit, which is a potent concept.
If you think beginning this process with the concept of a mission is some fluffy theoretical nonsense, think again. Want to bootstrap a powerful, successful business? Start with a mission. Want to raise money for your business first? Same answer.
Let’s dig in.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Longevity Gains to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.