Making Passion Scalable - The 'Not' Questions To Ask Your Business
In a previous post, I wrote about the restaurant El Bulli and how touching the soul of the patron is, in many ways, the pinnacle of great sensory design.
As a natural progression, it led to the rejoinder from a reader that went – That is all very fine but the moot question is, “Can one touch souls and be profitable too?”
In other words, ‘Is soul enough?’
It is one thing to inject passion into a business while in the start-up phase and even whip up the same in customers. Can one sustain it? Or does passion get diluted by business considerations?
When I hear business-plans from young, eager entrepreneurs the passion is palpable. Energising. The thought that runs in my head is “How will you hold on to this vision, this passion when you scale up?”
The answer lies in designing your vision into the service/product concept from day zero.
In building a business model around that vision that enables it to be scalable and self-sustaining. Breaking your head on the drawing board answering questions like:
• Who am I for?
• Who am I NOT for? (so that I constantly remember not to care too much whether they like me or patronize me)
• What will I do? What will I NOT do?
• What are the needs of my target audience as different from my non-target, how can I deliver superlatively on these?
• In order to deliver superlatively on these, what can I afford to deliver poorly or not at all?
(read as what will pay for superlative performance on these chosen parameters?). As an example, the corner-store grocer makes up on personalization what he loses on category depth – by design. Or a QSR outlet is engineered for speed and will not indulge the epicure in you with a 30-page menu that has explanatory notes!
• How can I play with the price and tweak my product/offering across customer-segments such that each pays in accordance with the value they see?
(e.g. Narayana Hrudalaya – a hospital in India that makes profits and provides a significantly high percentage of patients quality medical care at `below market rate’ prices)
Basic questions, yes.
To my mind, particularly useful to stay on the course are the NOT questions above – who am I not for, what will I not do, what will I not perform well on. That kind.
Not so easy to figure out the answers. But if you do, and build the answers into your business model, you have a better chance at not sacrificing passion at the altar of growth.