Friday Q & A: Three Business Ideas You Can Start Today, Starting a Business From Scratch, and Content Marketing In Developing Countries

Friday Q & A: 3 Businesses You Can Start Today From Scratch
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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Petr Pinkas, Sébastien Tromp and Tweheyo Brian for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

How did you come up with the idea to create Groove? If Groove fails, do you have any other idea to start with?

The idea for Groove came the way all of my ideas for previous businesses have come: it was a solution to a problem that I was struggling with myself.

At my last company, we spent a lot of time searching for good support software, and frankly, everything sucked for our needs.

After we were acquired, I looked around again, and not much had changed. So I started Groove.

Any business idea I ever pursue will most likely come from the same motivation of meeting my own unmet need, because when you commit to spending a decade of your life working tirelessly to grow a business, you damn well better be passionate about the problem you’re solving, because the rewards don’t come for a very long time, if they come at all.

It’ll be a long time before we run out of problems to solve, but here are three ideas for businesses that could win by building better solutions than what exists right now:

  • End-to-end content marketing management software that’s accessible for small businessess (content editing/publishing, editorial calendar, outreach/promotion tools, email, analytics, etc…, all rolled into one product).
  • Online games/social events built to help remote teams “hang out” and develop stronger cultures.
  • A better online coaching/accountability platform for startup entrepreneurs.

Of course, ideas are worthless, and execution is the only thing that matters 🙂

If you were to start again from scratch, what would the outline of your business strategy be?

If I had to start all over, here are the most high-ROI tasks that I’d work on from day one:

Product:

  • Start with customer development well before we start product development. Learn everything we possibly can about our customers, including their pains, challenges and goals, and the exact way that they talk about those things.
  • Built iteratively rather than spending too long and too much on a massive design at the start.
  • Never stop aggressively collecting customer feedback and improving the product, but as we go along, learn to differentiate high-value customers from tire-kickers, and focus on feedback from the former.

Marketing:

Team:

  • Start focusing on culture from the beginning. If you’re not close to one another, factor team retreats and in-person meetings into the cost of hiring a remote employee. Especially important in a remote team.
  • Look for employees with deep experience working remotely, rather than assuming that any talented professional would make a good remote worker.

From a high level, this is where I’d start. I wouldn’t worry about the details, but I’d focus on knocking each of these key tasks out of the park, and I’m confident that we’d be in a very strong position within a year.

How do you use content marketing in a developing country where the reading culture is really poor?

First of all, congratulations on taking on the challenge, Tweheyo. You’re doing something really hard in a place where it’s even harder. I’m rooting for you.

This is a great question, and obviously not something I have first-hand experience with (I do hope that some of our readers that do have first-hand experience will share their thoughts in the comments).

But I believe that it’s the principles behind content marketing, and not the delivery system, that’s most important here.

The concept behind content marketing is simple:

  • Deliver extraordinary amounts of value to people by helping them solve their problems.
  • Once you’ve established trust and built relationships with those people, turn (some of) them into customers.

The case studies I’ve read and entrepreneurs in dozens of countries that I’ve spoken with (including developing countries) lead me to believe that this is a concept that works regardless of where you are.

In your case, it might not be a blog that’s the best delivery vehicle for your content. Perhaps it’s live talks or workshops that you put on for people in the community around you. Perhaps it’s video content. Perhaps it’s going to local businesses door-to-door and offering to help them with whatever problem you’re solving.

Alternatively, does your business need to cater to local customers, or is your market global? If it’s the latter, then it doesn’t really matter, because you can have customers all over the world who do have access and interest in reading your content.

It’s hard to give advice on a specific channel without knowing what you do, but my advice is to focus on delivering value, and then figure out the best way to do that given the limitations in your area.

Hope that helps!

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches.