Relationships are like start-ups

Entering a niche

Starting small is a sure way to get started.

“Go niche or go broke.” -Tim Ferris, author of 4-hour-work-week

Most entrepreneurs establish their businesses by finding and entering a niche; small market, specific customer group, offering unique product or service. Most of the niches stay small but provide a decent living to the entrepreneur. Sometimes niches grow big and can create tremendous wealth to the founders. Many end up purchased by larger corporations which aren’t innovative or agile enough to operate in small markets.

Fundamental observation is that companies can’t start big. Every business needs to make their first sale. To grow big companies first need to come into life. If you meet a nice girl, she might feel uncomfortable if you kneel down and propose her right after saying hello. Relationships resemble start-ups in surprising ways.

In his book The $100 Startup (2012) Chris Guillebeau highlights the benefits of establishing and running a small business. Small ventures don’t necessarily require large investments and they usually originate from a passion towards an object of interest.

Also, small businesses create a feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment and pleasure that is created by working with the things one enjoys. Relationships too are about enjoyment and, at least in the beginning, require rather small investments to flourish. How do you find your way into your own niche?

3 ways to enter a niche or a relationship

Guillebeau lists three strategies to find your business idea and eventually escape 9 to 5 corporate life. In other words, to be a highly successful owner of a business of your passion. First they might appear to be basic and simplistic, but highlight the three essential steps.

First strategy is to dig deeper into customer expectations to uncover hidden needs. It can also mean fulfilling and exceeding customer needs that are inadequately served.  Often that’s about solving problems which big players in the market are too stiff to address. If you don’t catch all the eyes of the room like Brad Pitt, one can find a target person that does not even expect him to appear.

Second strategy is to make your customer a hero. By being a small business owner you have the flexibility and capability to offer dedicated services and product offerings to serve specific needs of a selected customer group. Again, these needs rarely appear into the radar of large corporations.

Finally, third strategy is to sell what people buy. And what is that people really want and buy? Our desires and consumption are more and more directed into two categories. Table below demonstrates what elements entrepreneur can offer to an under served market.

Love Stress
Money Conflict
Acceptance Hassle
Free-time Uncertainty

The table lists the same fundamentals what man and woman need from each other and what relationships build on. They are the elements why men and women fundamentally seek long-term relationships. Looking from the viewpoint of business, this blog pursues to provide more love and less stress and conflict at home. By applying the learnings at workplace one can perhaps boost career and score a larger paycheck.

Passion as a starting point

Like start-ups also relationships often begin on shared passion to common hobbies and interests. First relationships contain excitement and thrill. Same way an entrepreneur jumps into the challenges of business full of enthusiasm.

Initially the fulfillment concentrates on the “More” side of the table. In the beginning some of the elements on the “Less” side might remain as excitement covers the negatives.

Later relationships transform and serve to reduce stress, hassle and uncertainty in life. Don’t expect the conflicts to completely disappear though. As it goes in relationships and business, and as we will see later, smooth resolution of conflicts is just a great way to strengthen the partnership.

Another common aspect between relationships and small entrepreneurial businesses is that in the very beginning of the relationship the actions and required investments are usually relatively small. Usually it’s enough to open your mouth in a correct place. Later, a shoulder massage will yield good atmosphere for several days.

The key is that small steps and actions matter the most. The main component of success is to get started and grab yourself for action. That goes for both businesses and relationships.

(photo courtesy of amenic181 /