Student asked whether he should have an Amazon business or Shopify business. What do you think my answer was?
— Paulo Perdu (@PerduPaulo) May 14, 2018
A student asked whether he should start an Amazon or Shopify business.
So I setup a Twitter Poll asking followers what they think my answer is.
Well, the results are in…
It’s a split between “Amazon” and “Shopify“. And 24% saying “Other“.
In this case, my answer is… “Other”
Amazon and Shopify are just platforms. They’re not businesses.
Let me explain: This student’s question is like asking, “Should I have a WordPress website or Squarespace website?”
When starting, these are the wrong questions to ask. Why? Because these are just platforms. They are not businesses. They are just one place to store your solution (aka product).
Think about it. When you setup an Amazon listing or a Shopify site, what exactly do you need? You need a solution (aka a product to sell). But before you can figure out what to sell you need to know what the problem is!
So even if you decided to choose Amazon or Shopify… this still presents a lot of unanswered questions… Like what are you going to sell? What problems are you solving that others are not? How are you going to attract customers? You need to be asking these fundamental questions first.
This is why focusing on the tools and platforms is worthless.
To Recap So Far:
- You need to find a problem
- You need to create a solution for that problem
- Then you can choose what platform is best for delivering that solution (aka attracting customers)
Finding Problems (aka Business Idea Generation)
So you might be asking… how do you find problems?
This is the first question you should be asking to generate business ideas. Because businesses get rewarded for solving problems.
Now, there are a lot of ways to do this.
One example is going to Amazon. Because Amazon attracts a lot of traffic and the visitors are buyers.
So, at Amazon, you’ll see a large variety of departments of best selling items. And if you dive into the reviews you may see opportunities where these products (aka solutions) are not delivering the solution in the best way.
For example, reviews with complaints may reveal that the product materials break easy. So this might be a good opportunity for you to create a better version of the product with more durable material.
Again, the point is to look for ways to improve upon already proven ideas. In this example, we already know this product sells, but there’s room for improvement (aka a new problem for you to solve).
This is where it gets sad.
A lot of newbie entrepreneurs think they can just source a product from Alibaba and wham bam thank you ma’am they’re rolling in the dough.
The harsh reality is that the “creating solution” stage is not easy and not as clear as you may think.
There is no step-by-step process. I don’t care what the guru products tell you.
To be clear: Yes, there may be “best practices”… but it’s highly likely your process will be way different than everyone else’s process.
Everyone is solving a different problem.
Everyone is going to encounter different obstacles.
So everyone is going to follow different processes.
And everyone will get different results.
So the only legitimate advice in the creating solution stage is to focus on the problem in front of you… solve it… move on to the next problem… solve it… and repeat that until the solution gets in the hands of the customer.
If you finished the past two stages then you should have done two things:
- Identified a problem
- Created a solution for that problem
Now, it’s time to get it in the hands of the customer.
This is the time where you should consider questions like: Hmm should I use Amazon or Shopify?
Choosing your delivery platform will depend highly on where your customers hang out (the people with the problem you can solve) and how you can attract them.
For example, if we did happen to find a problem on Amazon then it’s likely you’re probably going to use Amazon to deliver your new solution. After all, you first discovered the problem from Amazon buyers.
Now, let’s say you found the problem on a Facebook Group… in this case, you’re probably going to use Facebook Ads (aka Paid Advertising). Now, if your ideal customer clicks your ad then it’ll probably redirect to your Shopify landing page.
Your tools and delivery platform will depend highly on where you can find the people with the problem you can solve… and the best way to deliver that solution to them.
Now, do you see why my answer was “Other” in the Twitter Poll? It made no sense to ask that question first.
You need to ask the fundamental questions first: What problem are you solving? Where do people with this problem hang out? What’s the best way to deliver the solution to them?
There is no “one size fits all” answer.
The entire process will be different for everyone.
Remember, as entrepreneurs, we’re solving problems the majority does not want to. That’s why the majority ends up paying us for those efforts.
And remember, the majority are the type that wants everything mapped out for them at their convenience. Entrepreneurs face the unknown, there’s no map, we must create that convenience.
Shameless plug: I created a new Pay Per Click Advertising Course. I cover how to attract customers using the Amazon PPC, Pinterest Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads, and Facebook Ads. So if you see yourself using these delivery platforms this course may be a good fit for you.