Blog Business Success: How To Build It, For Real
Just about anyone with a pulse can sit down and start a blog, and with enough luck some of them might even make money, maybe even lots of money. But the thing about “luck” is you never know when it’s going to turn up and you really can’t count on it at all. And when it disappears, if you’re not prepared, bad things can happen. No successful blogger has ever built his business on a foundation of luck.
Successful businesses are built on knowledge and skill, and these building blocks are firmly cemented in place with a mortar of motivation and commitment, creating a much firmer foundation that would certainly benefit with the addition of a little guilt but won’t crumble and fall when that luck disappears.
To understand what it takes to build a successful blog business take a look at their counterparts in the real world.
First, someone has a business idea. Mr. Jones decides he’d like to open a coffee shop. Just a small shop, one he can operate himself, even though he’ll have to work long hours, because in the beginning he doesn’t really need to pay additional clerks.
But before he opens that shop, Mr. Jones does a bit of market research. Are there other coffee shops in the area? If so, is the customer base large enough to support another coffee shop? What can he do to make his coffee shop different from the others? And when he makes these subtle changes in his product offering, will he still be able to attract coffee drinkers, in that same marketplace, and will he be able to make a sustainable profit.
Mr. Jones knows that if his market research doesn’t bode well for his business then it’s highly unlikely his business will succeed. But that doesn’t mean he has to give up his dream. He just needs to find a different location with either fewer competitors or more coffee drinkers, and he has to find the right product mix that will allow him to make a sustainable profit.
While he’s researching and percolating his business plan, Mr. Jones may have several lucky moments. He might “trip” over an existing coffee shop, in perfect condition, and the owner is selling it for a song. Wow! What luck! If he buys this coffee shop he won’t have to build his own. However, Mr. Jones knows that successful businesses aren’t built on luck, they’re built on skill, which in this case would be Mr. Jones ability to recognize a good business opportunity when it smacks him in the face, and knowledge.
Using his knowledge of all the steps it takes to build a business, Mr. Jones researches that lucky find, that inexpensive coffee shop that just popped up out of nowhere, and in doing so learns there are five other coffee shops, all in the same neighborhood. Each has its own maniacally loyal customer base and the best that Jones could even hope for, even if he were open 24 hours a day, would be a 20% market share. Based on his business costs and the profit margin of his coffee products, this location wouldn’t produce enough income, even if someone gave it to him for free.
Now, in the course of his research, Mr. Jones also discovered that this neighborhood had no doughnut shops, an absolute must-have in any neighborhood in his opinion. He also researched the consumers in the local marketplace and found that they, too, believed every neighborhood should have a doughnut shop and wouldn’t it be great if one were to suddenly open up. And it would be super great if said doughnut shop also sold coffee because they were getting so tired of having to visit their favorite local coffee shop and then drive across town for a doughnut. Someone really needs to open up a doughnut-and-coffee shop in this neighborhood. Why, they’d probably make a killing!
Mr. Jones now operates a nationwide chain of successful doughnut-and-coffee shops, a booming business built on a firm foundation of knowledge and skill. Yes, it was lucky that he tripped over that perfect little coffee shop all those years ago, but had he relied solely on luck he would have been out of business and flat broke within three months because his original business plan included nothing but coffee.
Take a lesson from Mr. Jones. Anybody can build a blog. But nobody builds a successful blog business on a foundation of luck.
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