I used to play basketball in high school and many people regarded me as being pretty good. I was the starting center all four years. To play as a center, you generally are pretty tall. I'm 5'10 which is tall for a woman but not when you compare it to the other ladies. They were consistently at least six feet. I was also the tallest on my team.
Despite their height advantage however, I consistently outperformed players on the other team. I got more rebounds, more lose balls, and more shots off than anyone should who is "short." My junior year of high school, we were headed to the state championships against a school who had not only been number one in their county but was also known for their extraordinarily tall players. The coach stacked the team that way.
Newspapers reported that, Taylor will feel like she is playing amongst trees in the paint during the state championship game. I am paraphrasing that statement but you likely get the sense of what they are trying to say. What they were trying to say is that I was likely to not get a shot off and would experience difficulty defending the other team in this important game.
I know you might not like basketball. But you likely are familiar with the skills most people say you need in order to be great at the game. You likely would at least say that being tall would help. But I am going to share with you a little secret. Being tallish really didn't do much for me and it certainly wasn't useful in that championship game.
During this game, not only did I get the jump ball but I also was the leading scorer. And our team of shorties punished the team of trees! Take that newspaper reporters! I scored the most points of any one player during that game. Afterward, people asked me how did I do it? I wasn't even closest to being the tallest in the paint and I didn't take any outside shots.
What's the point of my basketball story?
My point is that the reason why some people (like the coach probably) were confused is because they took a look at the topic - basketball, then guessed based on general knowledge and a little research what players needed to be successful (be tall). They didn't talk to any real players, coaches, or experts in the game.
They then came across a player who didn't have any of what they thought you needed to be successful, saw they still succeeded, and it blew their mind. They couldn't understand why. This process is very similar to what people do when trying to start their own business.
They start by:
- Finding a business niche ( organize a basketball team).
- Do some low level research about what people need for that niche (need tallest players).
- Create a product that gives people what they think they need (pick only tall people for your basketball team).
- Are shocked when no one buys the product (team of trees lose horribly).
To have a true understanding of the product you need to offer, you need to speak to people from your potential audience first. People who want a successful basketball team for example need to speak to coaches and players.
People who want a successful business need to speak to people who may want to buy from that business to learn what problems they have and what desires they want realized. You then structure all of your content and products for that business around real problems and desires so you make money.
The people who asked me learned that being successful in the paint isn't just about being tall, its about positioning and space. If I am standing in front of another player who is taller than me, then push them back, they can't get the ball no matter what (you aren't allowed to reach over really). This piece of information could have been used by the coach of the other team.
His strategy could have been changed to: find tall players whenever possible and teach players in the paint on how to get proper positioning to get the ball. This knowledge would only come from expertise or experience.
Taylor's Takeaway: Before running with a business idea or niche, speak to people who are associated with the niche first for valuable insights.
Leave a comment below. What steps did you take to research your audience before running with a business idea or even a new product?