Every business should start with some guiding principles, clear goals, and effective methods. I spent a good chunk of 2016 working on building blocks to my business: sharpening and updating my skills, networking, writing a killer business plan (in my opinion), and a lot of time reflecting on my personal direction. I know that by being too general a lot of businesses fail. By doing too much and trying to be everything to everyone, we lose what makes us unique. Small businesses thrive when they find a niche. Sure, we can grow but we need to do it focused on our core audience.
There is a piece of paper in my office at my full time job that I have had for years. It is Google’s 10 Guiding Principles. If you are interested: read more about those here.
But here’s the quick version:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
That first one has always stuck with me as the core principle I wanted to incorporate into my business. Leading me to determine that my niche as a developer would be small business. By focusing on the needs of that group I could use my skills in the most effective way. Even better, I LOVE the energy and passion small business owners bring to a project. The contagious excitement keeps me going.
This is also a question I ask my clients as we work to develop and plan their website. Who is your user? What is their motivation? How will they want to interact? After all, if we don’t know our customers, how can we serve them? Too often we forget that we exist to fill a need. And that need comes from real people.