A recent article on Disrupt tells of Jesse Burrell’s heroics in the real estate industry. How he managed to flip 1,000 homes before turning 30 appears to be a puzzle for many enthusiasts and readers. However, a more in-depth explanation can be found in an efficient school of thought that Matthias Mazur likes to practice. It is very straightforward. Do what works.
From selling videogames on eBay in the year 2000 to helping businesses grow through the internet in the year 2020, Matthias Mazur has racked up no less than two decades of business intelligence, which he shares with us in this article. Also, the fact that we live in a world where most budding entrepreneurs try to follow too many unwritten rules and procedures such as renting a glamorous office space, creating a big shiny website, and all that, it is refreshing to hear conflicting yet actionable advice.
“There are a thousand and one rules out there that business owners can follow, but you must keep in mind that not all of them apply to you” began the seasoned entrepreneur. “For instance, there is no rule which says ‘all entrepreneurs must have a big shiny office at the major city in their country’ and even if there were any such rule, it sure will not make sense to every entrepreneur.”
It is easy to agree with him on that one. To take this one step further, it is arguable that entrepreneurs should experiment with their business idea on a small scale before rushing to register a company with the government, and even before drafting a business plan. Beyond registration with the government of your country, there are several other aspects of a new business that does not require too much attention or resources, especially when the business owner is bootstrapping. Two such examples are branding and specialization. Matthias Mazur makes an even bigger argument when he talks about branding for new businesses.
Branding Versus Profits: Which Should be Priority for a New Business?
When we talk about branding, names like Apple, Coca Cola, Microsoft and Tesla quickly come to mind. Other than the impressive quality of their products, these names literally spin out money by sheer credibility and popularity among consumers. For example, while iPhones may be great and all that, people buy often buy them for the sake of the prestige that comes with using them. Now wouldn’t every entrepreneur or startup founder want to build a powerful brand? Sure. Should they focus on building this brand the moment their businesses launch?
Experts are split on this. A good number of them believe new business should channel their energy and resources into building a trustworthy brand. At the same time, another school of thought postulates that massive branding is not a priority. Matthias Mazur is clear on this one. In his words “At the earliest days of a business, profit matters more than branding, and perhaps anything else. Branding is important as we live in a highly visual society, thanks to social media. But before investing in branding, the business has to make enough profit to take care of itself”.
He went on to add, “New businesses cannot afford to be out of money in the competitive economic climate of today. They must keep sales coming in at all costs and this goes without saying that client prospecting, advertising, lead generation, customer acquisition, payment of worker(s) salary, and similar activities should take the bulk of the budget. As revenue grows, they will naturally have more money to invest in branding which will, in turn, increase their revenue.”
The Bottom Line
Knowing the protocol is fine, knowing when it does not work is wisdom. This somewhat summarizes the content of this piece. There are a million and one books, blogs, vlogs, courses and podcasts out there from which anyone can learn entrepreneurship. But as any savvy individual will quickly realize, they are mostly a condensation of rules, ideologies, recommendations, and patterns which entrepreneurs are expected to follow. This goes without saying that thought leaders write, speak about, and recommend what works for them or has been shown to work in many cases.
As good as may seem, you must realize that every rule in the book will not always work for you. So feel free to do what works when the rules don’t. After all, entrepreneurship is also about taking strategic risks and carrying out innovative experiments. Connect with Matthias Mazur on LinkedIn or follow him on Instagram to learn more from his experience.