Sridhar Vembu on building business skills: Write your press release first

1/ Building a business needs two basics, both of which are equally important: a) the ability to come up with a product that people want b) the ability to make a sale Both are hard and are only rarely found in the same person and when they are, you have a great entrepreneur.
2/ Since I was not born with either skill (in particular I had no sales skill to speak of), I am going to present an approach on how to train yourself in both skills. First start with product. We tend to think of a new product or service as “something no has ever done before”.
3/ It is extremely rare to come up with a new product no one has ever done before. Almost every new product is a variation of something that has existed before. So to come up with new products, study existing products well. Understand how they are built and why they sell.
4/ Now assuming you have a product to sell, how do you sell it? I will assume you are like me and so not a “natural” salesperson. If your new product is similar to existing products, find out how customers buy those and try to see if you can be present in the same places.
5/ That may mean attending events or shows where the customers congregate or it may mean approaching existing distributors that sell those products or it may mean hiring sales people who have experience selling to those customers. To persuade, you need a story or a message.
6/ First, what would you tell a prospective distributor or a prospective sales person why they should sell your product? They need to be persuaded that the end customer has a compelling reason to buy your product. You need to craft a message that persuades. That’s marketing.
7/ I put marketing last there because that is often the hardest part. A very useful exercise before you come up with a product is “what is going to be my message that persuades anyone to care about my product?” It is hard! That is summarized as “write your press release first”.
8/ When you think deeply about how you are going to persuade anyone to care for your product, you may come up with how to endow it with unique capabilities or find unique ways to sell it or find new markets that are not well served by present products and so on. Think hard! 🙏

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