Keeping Your Business Plan Flexible

A recent article in the New York Times called “Jilted in the U.S., a Site Finds Love in India” gives an interesting perspective on entrepreneurial endeavors. When the dating site started a few years ago, the idea was a dating site with a unique twist: to avoid the pressure of setting up a classic one-to-one date, the site allowed you to arrange a group date for multiple people. The idea was fresh and the site gained some popularity in the US, but plateaued and became a disappointment stateside. The founders got some good news, though, when the site’s popularity in Southern Asia, especially India, began to climb. The team has now re-focused their attention on India and is enjoying great success as a result of adjusting to the market’s unique elements.

Time and time again, entrepreneurs that are flexible with their ideas appear to be the most successful. Although the site’s focus on group dating may have been misunderstood in the United States—some consumers may have assumed on first visit that the site was aimed at swingers—its unique charm has been largely embraced by an unexpected culture. The article suggests this is largely due to aspects about dating culture in India, especially the taboo against single men and women appearing in public alone. Although their service was developed with American consumers in mind, it appealed to an entirely different nation on the other side of the globe. By embracing this, the site’s creators are enjoying success that may not have occurred had they not been flexible.

Some tips on finding your market as an entrepreneur:

  1. Look for the most enthusiastic customers you get early on. Find out what they love about your service and how they’d improve it.
  2. Pay special attention to where your best customers come from. Don’t assume they are in your own backyard. Instead they may come from another land.
  3. Weather the slow times and keep an eye open for your niche markets. Find them if they don’t find you.

Be open to surprises regarding who is your best customer. It is always a little different from what you would think.

How else can you find your ideal customer?


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