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September 23, 2018

Best advice I ever received

In July 2016, I had a brilliant idea. Or so I thought!

I wanted to create a course for Radiographers (my profession at the time).

Here’s the short version:

When you have an x-ray, the Radiographer tries to get you in a position that will produce a good image.

In challenging cases—when patients are in pain, throwing up, or had a few too many cans of Strongbow—the Radiographer might need to take multiple repeat X-rays.

This can take a long time, and in an A&E setting, it has the knock-on effect of increasing the waiting time for everybody else. Patients start to get frustrated. Doctors get twitchy and short tempered. The admission staff gets sweaty at the thought of a hefty fine for missing waiting time targets.

Basically, it’s pretty damn stressful for everybody involved.

Which got me thinking — why does it take so long to do repeat x-rays, and how could the process be sped up?

The brutal but honest truth is that most Radiographers aren’t good enough at taking repeat x-rays.

So I had this bright idea…

Why don’t I create a course or book to help Radiographers do that?

There was one textbook on the subject, but no other courses and it wasn’t part of the standard 3-year training.

Sounds good, right?

Nope.

Eventually, I realised that I’d be selling mainly to students.

Of course, students have no money. And most would prefer to spend their student loan on Jaeger Bombs than education.

Naturally, I started having doubts about the viability of the business. Problem was, I’d already done months of research, built an email list of over 400 subscribers, and even created the first version of the product.

That’s when I got some brutal but much-needed advice from a mentor.

“Your business is doomed. It’s just a matter of time. You are being very honest by acknowledging this (lots of people try to avoid the signs and “power through”). If you want to create a hobby, feel free. But a business necessitates having a base of people who are willing to pay!”

As a brand spanking newbie, that hit me hard. But it’s the best advice I’ve ever received.

Here’s what I learnt:

  • Having a market that is able and willing to pay is the most important part of a business
  • Find a profitable market BEFORE develop a product or service (this is opposite to what most people assume)
  • Time is our most valuable asset. I could have kept trying — I’d have learnt a lot. But I learnt a lot more by moving on and serving a better market.

Bottom line?

It seems to me that finding a target market who are able and willing to pay is the non-negotiable starting point for any successful business.

Until next time,

Callum.

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