MEETING NEEDS

Why do we start a business?

I hear or read many points of views on the subject. Mostly, starting a business is done for the possible immediate foreseeable consequence in case of success: Money. Then the goal becomes success.

People doing great things in my sphere of conscience show me that this seems to be the going metric. Success.

Seth Godin writes on marketing and spiriting innovation in his blog. His words often resonate with: “innovate, do your homework, win!”

Seth Godin writes on marketing and spiriting innovation in his blog. His words often resonate with: “innovate, do your homework, win!”

Manuel Molina writes on marketing and spiriting innovation in his blog. His words often sound like: “be yourself, be competent, win!”

Manuel Molina writes on marketing and spiriting innovation in his blog. His words often sound like: “be yourself, be competent, win!”

Ok, that’s fine, but HOW exactly does one attain success? Does it take a superman? I mean does it require being a perfectly ideal entrepreneur who is himself, who is competent, who innovates, who works hard without going for shortcuts?

Oh, here I am speaking of the entrepreneur. But the company he his building is also important. Evo Terra from big bounce says that a start-up will have a better chance of success if it is “disruptive”. If your business or idea passes these three tests, it’s disruptive:

  1. Aimed at an extant, stable marketplace.
  2. Serves the underserved minority.
  3. Has the ability to attract the unaware majority.

It can be easy to be overwhelmed.

As an entrepreneur, I do not wish to be overwhelmed. I wish to run a business to fulfill my needs as a human being. It is interesting to note that this is rarely used a metric. Maybe that is because it cannot be measured by money. In fact the word “need” is associated the poverty, as in “the needy”.

But human needs are basic. Greed is a strategy set up by some people to meet a particular need their may have. And since that strategy is most likely poorly adapted to meet that need, more is sought. More money, more power, more sex, whatever.

But what is important is knowing what need we are meeting. I believe that as an entrepreneur, knowing what we can do to meet fundamental human needs is really why we set out to do business. I believe the driving force is the desire to make the world a better place for our fellow citizens to live.

The economist Manfred Max Neef actual defined an economic metric based on meeting human needs. He has begun by classifying the human needs into 9 fundamental needs:

Manfred Max Neef from wikipedia

Manfred Max Neef from wikipedia

  1. Subsistence: Breathing, eating and so on.
  2. Protection: Being safe from danger, real or perceived.
  3. Affection: Love.
  4. Understanding: To understand the world around us.
  5. Participation: To do something meaningful.
  6. Leisure: To play and have fun.
  7. Creation: To imagine and innovate.
  8. Identity: To belong to a group or family.
  9. Freedom: To be autonomous.

His work is quite complex and among other things, he defines the bad strategies we can use to try to meet these needs. And our upbringing, our culture, our peer member influence the way we attempt to meet these needs, and money is often imagined to be an accelerator to have ones needs met.

A wheel version of Max Neef's matrix of fundamental needs was developed by Vérène Nicolas and Alastair McIntosh 

A wheel version of Max Neef's matrix of fundamental needs was developed by Vérène Nicolas and Alastair McIntosh 

Therefore we are tempted to go for the money before clarifying our needs. Lets start to do things the right way around. Get clear before you start the business. The needs you satisfy for yourself will find an echo in the world. It has to. We are all humans; we all have the same needs.

 That in turn could turn into money, or fame, or whatever… and your needs will be met: you won’t want anything else!