May 22, 2019 | 05:57 AM

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23.09.2013Do One Thing, Do it Well And You Will Make Money

Happy customers get you more customers.

Liza Deyrmenjian, Forbes.com

I learned this the hard way. In 2008 I built a social network that connected the fashion world on a global scale. It was, in essence, a “Facebook for Fashion.” It connected designers to retailers, contractors, and factories, as well as consumers to their favorite brands and stores. We addressed key B2B and B2C issues and generated great buzz, yet the business failed shortly after launch.


Were we not addressing enough issues in the marketplace? I rebuilt the site with even more features.  It flopped. Again. What was the problem? I took a step back to really assess the situation. All of our features seemed to be of equal importance. We spent an arm and a leg on marketing, but what did we really want to promote? It was a classic jack of all trades scenario, and the lack of focus on one key function was our demise.

So what was the one thing I wanted to accomplish? I wanted designers to sell their wears more easily.  I built ShopToko, a B2B marketplace that let independent retailers discover brands from around the world immediately and with no minimums. The site had great press and sales (!) from week one.  We were doing one thing and doing it very well.  Unfortunately, I pivoted too late and our monies ran out before I raised the VC funds.  What a lesson I learned.

How to find your One Thing:

#1/ What problem are you trying to solve? You need to do your market research to know what problem to solve. Before ShopToko launched, I knew all brands craved greater sales. I knew retailers struggled with cash flow for months at a time due to high order minimums and far-off delivery dates. What I didn’t know was how to make retailers choose my platform as their go-to buying tool.  Get out from behind the computer and talk to your customer.  Find out exactly what he needs and build that.

#2/ Competition and Comparables.  There will be ideas and innovations similar to yours. Competition means there is a market, and you have the opportunity to address what’s missing, or find a weakness and do it better.

#3/ What do you really care about?  A billionaire CEO asked me once, “what keeps you up at night?”  When you answer that question, you will face a buffet of options on how to deliver that.  You need to then distill the business model that best delivers your talents to your user.

Successful Examples:

Google is the greatest search engine on the planet.  Tell the world what is on your mind in 140 characters or less with Twitter.  Pinterest is a global online pin board.  When you do one thing and do it well, your energy is concentrated solely on customer acquisition and service. Happy customers get you more customers.


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