Yes, business is NOT common sense.
I can think of at least a dozen different situations in business where following common sense wisdom wouldn’t help.
In fact, doing what “makes sense” is much more likely to lead to your frustration and often failure as an entrepreneur.
Don’t believe me?
Here are a few common sense ideas off the top of my head that can and do kill online businesses…
- “The entrepreneur who works the longest hours will be the most successful.” (Actually, the opposite is true. Entrepreneurs who work the least tend to earn the most.)
- “If you’re not successful with a task, keep at it until it works.” (Again the opposite is true. If something isn’t working, it’s time to change… not continually fail.)
- “I’ll just copy what the most successful guys do.” (Following a mentor is one thing, but blindly copying others’ business strategies is NEVER the answer.)
This is why so many entrepreneurs struggle. They believe they can build and grow a business doing what “makes sense.”
Take that one step further, and many entrepreneurs don’t even know why they want to start a business in the first place…
Eight Questions that Prove that Business
is Not Common Sense
Below are eight questions that I often ask my clients.
It’s the eight questions that you need to answer if you want to build and grow an online business.
- Q: Why are you doing Internet Marketing?
- Q: Why are you building a business?
- Q: What will it look like when it’s finished?
- Q: What elements will it compete on?
- Q: What will be your competitive advantage?
- Q: How will you deliver your promise?
- Q: How are you going to run the business?
- Q: How will you break-free of the business?
Not easy questions are they? Certainly not the kind of questions you can answer with standard common sense.
Not surprisingly, most people don’t know how to answer these. But that doesn’t stop them from starting online businesses.
If you want to get ahead, you need to know how to answer these kinds of questions.
You have to be able to address problems that will arise in your business in a completely new ways that go against the commonplace wisdom.
I call this “being counterintuitive.”
Great Businesses Are Born from
Being counterintuitive is an approach to solving a problem or running a business that runs counter to conventional thinking.
For example, a counterintuitive idea might be “grow skinny by eating fat” or “build your business by thinking INSIDE the box.”
It’s worth noting that the best business ideas and models are all grown out of counterintuitive ideas.
For example, you may know that I work with the largest direct mail company in the world, Agora.
Agora’s entire business model goes against the obvious, common sense wisdom.
Common sense says to remain the #1 in the world, you would have to continually update your business model to include all the latest technology online, social media tactics, traffic ideas, direct mail strategies etc.
But instead, Agora does what they’ve always done: They hire and train the best copywriters in the world. Then they rely on their “big idea” pieces of copy to sell their products.
That’s their counterintuitive business model that’s worked for over 30 years.
Agora isn’t alone. If you look at the most successful companies in the world, you’ll see that they made counterintuitive decisions along the way. (Think Apple, Facebook, Google, Toyota etc.)
How to Find Counterintuitive Ideas
I know what you’re thinking… “That’s great for the big-name companies, but how do I find counterintuitive ideas like this for my business?”
I’m glad you asked.
A few years back, I created a 5-step strategy to help you find counterintuitive solutions and ideas for your business.
It’s a way to STOP using traditional common sense, and start finding solutions to your business problems yourself that go against the conventional wisdom.
Here’s how it works…
- Start by taking a problem your business is facing, or one of my questions above like “What will be your competitive advantage?”
- Make a list of as many conventional, every-day, solutions to this problem or question as you can.
- Then brainstorm as many ideas as possible that contradict those commonplace solutions you just came up with.
- Look at your unconventional list: Which unconventional ideas are most likely to work? Which ideas do you want to test first?
- Choose one of those unconventional ideas and try it. See if it works for your business. You may just come up with an entirely new business model.
That’s just one way to use counterintuitive ideas. I’ll be back soon with more thoughts on how to use counterintuitive solutions in your business.
A few questions before I go…
- Q: Do you find it’s difficult to answer those eight questions I posed above? If so, why?
- Q: Do you already use counterintuitive ideas to tackle problems in your business? How so?
As always, I’d appreciate it if you could answer in the comments. Speak to you soon.