It strikes me that there is a great divide between the leaders who start things and the true leaders who are the early adopters. If one is truly a visionary then one sees the merit in following someone or something that seems a bit out of step. A leader is not the person who first tries something, because they may be looked at as being quirky or weird. The true leader is the one who begins to notice the guy out of step, sees a potential, follows and then encourages others to follow his lead. The trend is set as the early adopters begin to shape the movement.
So what is it that we classify as an entrepreneur? Is it the guy who has the next greatest widget or is it the person who can envision down the road a movement where all of the customers see value in what he is selling? The whole point of the market analysis is to see if your product, widget, idea or service will be adopted. At what point does the scale begin to tip in your favour?
The market reveals the true nature of your consumers and they are extremely fickle. The consumer and other business people do not like anything new or unproven. It then becomes your job to create the buzz, get inside the head of your target market audience and give them the realization of their dreams. You, as the entrepreneur, fill the needs that have been plaguing the consumer for a long time. How do you sell the concept or get inside the head of your audience?
This is done through research, analysis and more often than not, test markets. But the real question is: do test markets really work? Perhaps it isn’t such a good idea to give the consumer everything that they want up front. It might be better to save some of the goodies for later on when they are actually using your product or service and have become hooked. Then you unroll your latest upgrades. This is what creates that buzz. The movement is started and will soon take up speed once the first adopters start spreading the word.
I did exactly this for a product that measures the return on investments (ROI) for social media tools. The company is SWIXHQ (http://www.swixhq.com/SWIX.html) and they allow you as a company or an individual to push the boundaries of your social media network. I put it out there on Twitter to some of my network and the next thing I knew, it was being taken up by recruiters and career coaches all over the US and the UK.
It’s all a matter of branding, profiling and seeing the merit of being an early adopter. Maybe the makers of the Edsel could have taken a page out of the new marketing bible of the 21st century. It is not enough to be an early adopter since you may be the only one. Make sure of what you follow, the trend, how people react, what the market will bear and if it really is a good thing. This is what makes a true visionary and entrepreneur who can start a movement.
Derek Sivers – How to start a movement