How can “counterintuitiveness” help you grow your business? I came across Katherine Kaputa’s “5 Counterintuitive Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs”, which I thought runs contrary to a previous article that I wrote about listening to your intuition. (Read full story here.) I later realized that her intriguing points were not necessarily contrary to mine. In fact, “counterintuitiveness” addresses those areas that plain intuition cannot. To complement the insights that I have brought to the fore about intuitiveness, I invite you to explore some of these counterintuitive traits that can also help your business thrive in this competitive business world based on Kaputa’s insights.
1. Goes for simplicity
Kaputa shares that “Every entrepreneur dreams of finding a ‘big idea,’ but there’s a fundamental paradox in business. Big ideas are small – simple, focused and specific so they can occupy a specific niche and dominate their category.”
Simplicity has more appeal than complicated ones. One common startup mistake is complicating the products. Most consumers prefer to purchase user-friendly products. Remember that a big business idea occupies and satisfies a specific niche.
2. Take risks and experiments Successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks and embark on several experimentations. Why? These bring ideas that suit the needs of the market. At the end of the day, the lesson is often to step out of your comfort zone, and experiment with ideas. Too much caution can limit both productivity and creativity. Kaputa writes:
“Entrepreneurs brand the time between coming up with a business idea and having a successful start-up as ‘the Valley of Death.’ You can die in the valley, yet growth entrepreneurs realize this starting period is the most valuable time because you can create tremendous value out of practically nothing.”
3. Capitalizes on the non-conventional Successful entrepreneurs know that unique products are more likely to penetrate the market. Let me cite Sara Blakely, who cut off the bottom of her pantyhose. The idea gave birth to Spanx. She searched for mill owners to make her product, only to face ridicule. But one owner decided to take a chance and helped her create her “crazy idea.” Today, she is on the Forbes World’s Billionaires 2012 list, enjoying the estimated company’s revenue at just under $250 million. To re-echo Kaputa:
“You know you have a viable business idea when you find the ‘white space,’ which is just a new need in the marketplace that no one is filling. Of course, most people will tell you you’re crazy.”
4. Listens to emotions. Intangibles are as important as the profits your business can bring. Many products appeal to the human emotion, which build a sense of connection. As an entrepreneur, develop products that most people can relate and connect to. Customers are more likely to patronize products that have a story to tell. Kaputa stresses:
“Entrepreneurship and finding your business idea are about finding your purpose. Your goal must be tied to your deeper story, your sense of destiny for yourself and your business.”
5. Defines the market rather than fit in Product trends are moving faster, causing businesses that could not keep up with the race to die. The quick change in trends may tempt you to simply try to fit in. Don’t. You have to create trends that thrive in the stiff competition. Kaputa emphasizes:
“Growth entrepreneurs keep a pulse on what’s happening but don’t try to fit into the market – they try to appeal to where their customers are heading.”
Although intuition serves entrepreneurs well in many situations like those that require instant decisions to make, counterintuitive traits should serve to compliment other invaluable qualities of a successful entrepreneur.
What are your thoughts about the traits spelled out above? Please share your insights in the comments below.