Answered another question on Quora. Super grateful to all the awesome Quorians for asking such great questions, which makes my daily blogging practice a snap! Thanks!
Here's my answer...
Without a need, desire, or problem to be addressed or solved for a group of customers, no value can be created or exchanged thus no business (or nonprofit) can exist.
The way I was mentored to think is that before there can be a business or nonprofit there must exist a market opportunity. Think of it as a gap or a need in the marketplace that is currently not being addressed at all or not in an efficient way.
In a market opportunity there are individuals often with similar demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and possibly geographic characteristics. What they all definitely have in common, however, is having the same unsolved problem or unaddressed desire.
A savvy entrepreneur that can clearly define a market opportunity (the problem) and deliver an elegant solution tailored to the market will have the beginnings of a viable business or nonprofit.
Align your solution more tightly with the needs of the market than your competitors, and you may be able to create competitive advantage.
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Adam Dudley is an author, coach, mentor, and consultant. He writes. He mentors. He adventures. Explore, learn, grow, repeat.
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