Find a Need and Fill it?

We all know this as a standard business motto – Find a Need and Fill it.  Inventing a wheel or growing wheat to make bread would be examples of filling a need.  So is “filling a need” the most profitable way to grow a business? 

Remember all the tennis shoes that have been created to give you sure footing – perhaps even wider at the base for steady walking?  Now Masai Barefoot Technology is promoting their $245 sneakers that mimic being barefoot.  The shoes are narrow and rounded on the bottom – making you unsteady but building great gluteus maximus (nice butt) because you are unsteady on your feet.   Reebok is playing catch up with their Reebok EasyTones.  Uh – did anybody think about just going barefoot rather than spending $245?

Why do we pay big bucks for haircuts that make us look like we just crawled out of bed?  Or very expensive jeans that look like they got run over by a train?   Basic motorcycle sales are down, suffering from the economic sluggishness.  Jesse James, maker of custom motorcycles starting at $150,000, has a four-year waiting list. 

Sources tell us Madonna spends $10,000 each month for drinking water that has been blessed by Kabbalah rabbis.  And if you don’t have that privilege you can at least buy the Bling H2O that has made appearances at the MTV Music Video and Emmy awards.  The frosted glass bottles have Swarovski crystals spelling out “bling” on the outside.  The water actually comes from Dandridge, Tennessee – probably out of some farmer’s back yard –but they are labeled “Limited Edition Spring Water” and are sealed with a cork.  They don’t promote health or quality — rather, they promote being the world’s most expensive water.  You and I may not be celebrities but even as mere mortals we can get our own Bling H2O for only $441 per case of 12 bottles or $36.75 for one bottle.

If you fill a “need” you can make a living.  If you fill a “want” you can get rich.

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12 Responses to “Find a Need and Fill it?”

  1. Theresa Lode Says:

    Dan- I had a glimpse of this world the past few weeks. I took advantage of a “free” haircut by an interning stylist at an upscale salon in town. It was fun being fussed over but I just didn’t get it. “Keep the varmint hunters away from me,” I told Jay when I returned home. It looked liked something was hiding in my tresses. JUST a haircut there will set you back $70.

    I went off to my favorite beauty school the other day; the haircut was less that the tip I gave the girl, and it was a darn good cut that I could live with.

    I know I’m just too doggone practical to ever be in the business of selling silly shoes, fluffy hair do’s or ersatz holy water.

    Hey with that shoe company, perhaps they should have the “naked” clothing line, (made with a very special cloth visible only to those with the highest couture tastes,) for those looking to embrace the benefits of being au natural. They could call it, “The Emperor Line.”

    Oh, the narcissism of the day we live in!

  2. Rob Says:

    I heard about the shoes the other day on the radio and just shook my head. If you can create a sensation you can certainly get rich. All of the things you mentioned have one thing in common – status. People pay through the nose for status. Doesn’t matter what the quality of the product is, if Ashton Kutcher was seen wearing it, it MUST be awesome!

    I guess this is why I find myself feeling behind the times more and more. Give me some quality coffee, my PC (not Mac), and some Levi’s and I’ll be just fine 😉

  3. Jordi Casinos Says:

    Years ago I got a degree in Market Research. We didn’t learn how to “find a need and fill it”, the aim was to “create a need that doesn’t exist and fill it.” For me, that was tantamount to selling to fools. I changed career (and still on it) but at least I can sleep at night.
    Ever since, I have been interested in retail psychology and how they trick us into buying more. Read Paco Underghill’s “Why We Buy” and the next time you go to the mall it will look like you took the red pill.

  4. Joanne Miller Says:

    Wow………..sometimes I really can understand why Jared loves living in Africa. The arrogance and extravagance in America is truly appalling. Yet, we have to create our own values (we sure can’t learn them from watching the general public!) and learn to live with them the best we can while ignoring the stupidity of those who spend foolishly………..(boy would I love to have that excess money that people DO spend foolishly to help fund organizations like KEZA and people like the ones I run into every day who need to pay the rent, the electricity, etc………….)

  5. Marla Martenson Says:

    Great article, so true. And even if people don’t need something, they will think that they do. Like the pet rock, who needed that? I guess just about everyone.

  6. Jason Garey Says:

    Hmmm. Because someone is willing to spend foolishly on something, does that mean we should exploit that? I know that’s not what you mean Dan. Those charletons are the folks Jesus chased out of the temple. How then can we reach these folks for Christ, which, as believers, is our main objective? I don’t run with that crowd at all, nor do I desire to, but those who follow the Lord who do have a very difficult mission. Paul reasoned with those who didn’t think they needed God by approaching them on their turf.

    I think if the Oprah Winfreys and Madonnas of the world were to change course and follow Jesus, of course they could do a tremendous work with the money they have, but as happened to Paul, they would lose all respect from their peers. They’d have to be willing to lose everything. Guess that’s why Jesus said something about a camel and the eye of a needle.

  7. John Farrar Says:

    True. But you have to fill the want in the window of when people want it. Another thing I have been working on in my business is creating a durable want solution. How do we not just obtain a bigger market but client sustainability is another way to build residual income.

  8. Doreen Says:

    Amazing! I totally agree with Joanne its just beyond me to see people like Modonna spend $10000 per month on bottled water! I live in the heart of Africa (ZAMBIA) where the majority of people live on less than a dollar a day.Piped or tap water is a luxuary, mostly women and young girls have to wake up before dawn walk long distances to for drinking water from boreholes,wells rivers community tapes which is carried in large containers on their head. 0utbreaks of preventable waterborne diseases during the rainy season such as cholera mainly spread due to drinking contaminated water are common. Wonders will never cease.

  9. Doreen Says:

    Amazing! I totally agree with Joanne its just beyond me to see people like Modonna spend $10000 per month on bottled water! I live in the heart of Africa (ZAMBIA) where the majority of people live on less than a dollar a day.Piped or tap water is a luxuary, mostly women and young girls have to wake up before dawn walk long distances to look for drinking water from boreholes,wells rivers community taps which is carried in large containers on their head. 0utbreaks of preventable waterborne diseases during the rainy season such as cholera mainly spread due to drinking contaminated water are common. Wonders will never cease.

  10. Jorge Casinos Says:

    I remember what Michael Gerber wrote on E-Myth:

    “The famous dictum that says, ‘Find a need and fill it,’ is innacurate. It should say, ‘Find a perceived need and fill it.’

  11. A new twist on “Find a need and fill it!” - Friday's Financial News! - Love More. Live Better. A Southern Couple's Guide to Successful Living Says:

    […] Couple’s Guide, Dan Miller, author of 48 Days To The Work You Love.  The post is titled Find a Need and Fill it?, an old business motto that has been helping people find ways to become entrepreneurs and make […]

  12. ALRADY Says:

    I linked to my article and I was researching the topic to see if I could edit it, when I ran across your GEM of an article or blog post. IT IS AWESOME. I am not sure I totally agree because the lady that invented white out and the guy that invented the cell phone holder are probably richer than anything and those were needs.

    I would love to buy some of those “barefoot” shoes but agree with you about price. That said my feet feel claustrophobic in tennis shoes – so is it a need or a want.

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