The KISS Approach. Audience Comes Before Big Ideas.
Many of you have probably heard of the KISS approach. Not the peck on the cheek type, rather the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS for acronym) approach to business. KISS is an acronym created by the US Navy in the 1960's based on the concept of systems working best when they are kept very simple, rather than made complicated.
From my experience, the KISS mentality has a very obvious application to the online business world and I want to explain that in this post.
Everyone has a great deal of capabilities within this world, it is just a matter of application and in the case of this post, SIMPLIFICATION. Keepin' it simple.
Don't Start With Your BIG Idea, Work Towards It
Not a day goes by where someone doesn't come to me with a great idea. They dream of developing the next great app that will take over Instagram, or the next membership website that will help millions of people lose millions of pounds.
There is one problem though. They think big and forget that it is the smaller steps that will allow them to achieve these much larger ambitions. To explain exactly what I mean, I am going to take things out of context a little and use the example of building a skyscraper.
Thinking that you are going to jump in and develop an app like Instagram, is like thinking you are going to build a skyscraper by starting with the top floor. It simply won't work. There are a lot of things that need to happen in order for the top floor to even exist, and the same thing is the case if you were looking to develop the next big app, or website, or products/service, or membership site.
The "Think small, Get BIG" Approach to Business.
Looking back, Carson and I naturally took the "think small to get big" approach, we started Wealthy Affiliate literally as the most simplistic, dumbed down system out there for affiliate marketers. We provided people with a keyword list every week, some sample ads, and we charged folks $359.88 per year for this service. People absolutely loved it.
We already had a foundation, a knowledge set in the industry (3 years experience each at the time we started WA), so we were prepared to jump into this. We always had ambitions of Wealthy Affiliate being something bigger than just a "keyword list" website, but we couldn't have predicted it would be what it is today when we started out back in 2005.
But as each year has gone on, we have taken our ideas, along with a consistent stream of awesome feedback from the community here, and incrementally improved the platform. As a result we incrementally grew.
That is the approach you should take. You want to start with a very simple framework and then establish your business and cumulatively expand, grow, and evolve as time goes on.
You shouldn't attempt to start with the BIG IDEA. First it may not work and people might not like what your idea is (you cannot assume that it will work).
Secondly, there are typically incredible start-up costs and planning if you are going to develop a big idea at the outset. It could be years and $100,000's before an actual PERSON or customer can get their hands on your idea.
Thirdly, if you spend all of your time developing the best product/website/service in the world before you have an audience, you are not going to have any people to use it when you are done.
And that leads me to...
Ideas Are Nothing Without Marketing
You could have the best product in the world, but if there is nobody there to see it or buy it, then it will fail miserably.
Far too many people and start-ups over-invest in their ideas, without having a tangible market. I have personally always taken the exact opposite approach. I have kept things very simple, worked to accrue an audience and a brand and then have created more complexity (if required) in my business.
The thing is, the more complex you make your business, the longer it takes to develop and the longer it is going to take to get actual constructive feedback in respect to your ideas. Because not all of them will click.
Most ideas you have are NOT necessarily what people want. That is the reality. The same has gone for just about every idea Carson and I have ever had about WA, or any idea that I thought was going to be a huge winner.
Every sales page. Every marketing email. Every technological innovation. Every training resource.
None, and I mean NONE of them have ever been close to perfect. It is much easier to refine them when you have immediate user feedback, something that you are afforded when you have an audience.
With Authority, Comes All Kinds of Opportunity
Let's look at a real life example here.
Say I loved craft beer (which I actually do lol). I had lots of great ideas in the craft beer space, some of them very big.
Perhaps I want to eventually have the most popular website for craft beer where users can contribute their own reviews and feedback for different breweries and specific beer.
Perhaps I want to provide a liaison service that connects brewmasters with start-up breweries and I take a commission or a "finders fee" for that relationship.
Perhaps I want to start a weekly "A Craft with Kyle" live cast where I drink a beer from a brewery (and get paid for it) and discuss events taking place in the craft beer industry.
Perhaps I want to develop a "beer box" membership delivery service where I deliver a new set of 4 bomber beer every month to my audience.
These are all great ideas, ambitious and can be a reality. In saying this, they are much, MUCH easier to launch if I already have a brand and a status within a given niche.
For example, if I spent the next year or two establishing myself as an authority within this niche, building a consistent audience and a following through various social profiles, I would have a much better chance getting one of these BIGGER ideas off the ground.
That is the approach I would recommend you take as well. It is great to have a longer term and much more substantial vision in your niche, but your long term success is going to derive out of the authority you establish within that given niche.
What's Your KISS Approach to Business?
Now it's your turn. Have you ever had a BIG idea that you have tried to implement, but it ended in failure? Are you currently trying to implement a BIG idea without first establishing an audience to propel your idea along?
I would love to hear your feedback not just about your ideas and experiences implementing ideas, but also your questions that you may have in respect to the current state of your business or the very idea of "keeping it simple". Please leave them below.