Think Like an Entrepreneur: Tips for Entrepreneurs

What is the most important insight an entrepreneur can get?

All of us entrepreneurs are looking for inspiration whether it be via a book, tip, insight, advice, tool or guidance that is going to make the difference in starting our business. When figuring out how to become an entrepreneur, there are so many tips that come our way and it is hard to know what to do and what is the most important thing you can do to have your vision come to life?

Obviously, this is only one opinion but this is what we think will make you a successful entrepreneur.

In our opinion, you have to create a playground where no one else is playing. You need to think like an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship in the food industry example

For example, if you create a healthy food protocol to be used in corporate wellness programs, there will be lots of competition. But if you create a healthy food protocol for corporate wellness programs with a focus on Hispanic and Indian workers, that would be an untapped niche. How do these groups get access to the types of food that they like but that are also available at corporate cafeteria? What spices and sauces that they use in Hispanic or Indian cooking might be high in fat or calories. Imagine if you became the expert on the delivery of healthy Hispanic or Indian food in a corporate setting. Do you know of anyone playing in that playground?

Example of an entrepreneur idea for the car industry

We were running a workshop where one of the entrepreneurs in the room had launched a car club. It was a membership service that allowed members to get a different cool car each month. One month it was a Ferrari, the next it was a Lamborghini, the next it was a Rolls Royce. But this concept had been done many times before.

So we started looking for our “playground.” The first entrepreneur idea that came to mind was targeting women. After all, almost all car clubs targeted men. What about one that targeted affluent women? Seemed like a pretty good playground but it also felt like the current car clubs that targeted men could pretty easily target this market.

And we happened to be joking about bourbon, and someone mentioned Louisville and Nashville. What about a car club that targeted affluent women in Nashville? All of a sudden, we went from a playground where everyone was playing to one where no one was playing.

The company started targeting Nashville women and all of a sudden, they were the only game in town. They found out where affluent women shopped and hung out. They learned that there were a few influential social clubs that women were members of. They learned that there were a few country clubs where influential women were members.

Within a matter of months, there were articles in the papers about women with these cool new cars. Nothing like a playground where you are the only one that is playing.

Entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry example

We were working with a wellness company that was offering a package of wellness services to health plans. They were really struggling to differentiate themselves from all of the other wellness companies out there. So we started asking them questions about the programs they were running. One of the programs was for a health plan that had many Hispanic members with very high healthcare costs. We did a little digging and learned that they had actually found their playground and didn’t even know it.

In the midst of running this program for the Hispanic community, they gained some unique insight. They learned that religion played a huge role in their healthcare decisions. If their religious leader or church guided them to take a health care behavior, they were very likely to follow through. They also learned that transportation was a major issue in this community. Many individuals wanted to get healthier, but didn’t have a way to get to a doctor or the clinic.

They had their playground. They started to target the Hispanic community. They applied their unique insight to the same programs they were running before. They modified their sales process. They modified their product. And the playground was theirs.

Example from my personal entrepreneur idea

As many of you know, we started the first company to reward people for being healthy ( watch our story here) . We were acquired in 2013 by Welltok and are considered by many to be the founder of the industry to reward people for being healthy. Today you can’t walk into a Walgreens or CVS or Rite Aid without seeing a program to reward people for being healthy.

But in 1998 when we started, there were already many points programs for all kinds of behaviors like flying on an airline, staying in a hotel or buying a pair of shoes. All we did was apply it to health care industry and created a playground where one else was playing. My entrepreneur idea that found an untapped market lead to my success.

When you define the playground, you define the rules

Have you ever gone to a playground and seen the list of rules? No adults without children. No dogs. No…When you create the playground, you get to set the rules. These might be rules about what the product or service is, about the price and about what customers can expect. When you are playing in someone else’s playground, they set the rules and you have to learn how to comply.

Finding the playground will take all your entrepreneurial creativity

Don’t get me wrong. The “playground” where you are the only one playing does not just jump off the page. It will require some of your best thoughts and creativity. Try getting some of your smartest and most respected friends and colleagues together to brainstorm. It will take time and effort to find it but once you do, you will think to yourself “why have I been playing in all these other playgrounds.”

Good luck in finding your entrepreneurial idea and making it come to life!

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