Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman
As we said in our last last post, launching Buddy Pegs has been an interesting experience for us to say the least. The conflicting dynamic between focusing energy on a business idea that is fueled by passion, and the need to simply earn money, has been weighing heavily.
Sure, most business experts are now pointing to “passion for the idea” as a key tenant to the likelihood of long term business success. That is of course, assuming you can sell a bunch of what ever it is. Because what you want to offer the world, better be what the world really needs or wants! The reality of cash flow is a powerful force, and entrepreneurs are advised to heed that power.
So therein lies the rub with a social entrepreneur venture like Buddy Pegs. On one hand, we want to offer parents tools to connect their kids with the fundamental building blocks of success and happiness. On the other hand, what if there aren’t enough parents who actually want those tools?
To solve for this conundrum, do we spend months on market research to better understand the wants and desires of our target audience? Or do we use that time to develop more experiences for parents (write another book, build online training tools, etc.) instead?
I’m sure the answer lies somewhere in between, and that’s where we’ve been living. Jannine and I ran a focus group session with parents to better understand their deepest desires for their kids, and themselves. We sent around a parent survey to Mom’s outside our little mountain town community. And we continue to spend time researching parent behaviors online.
But research burns up A LOT of very limited resources - primarily our time! And in the end, does it change what we want to do? No. But do we want to fail at our new business? Definitely not. A friend of mine once said,
“You can’t out crusade capitalistic forces”
No James… you can’t.
But then there’s the quote at the top of this post… and I’ll tell you what makes me come alive. Helping kids light up with self confidence and sense of accomplishment when they ride a bike. I feel like the world is a better place when I see that. Like I somehow did my part.
Since we believe the bicycle is a simple solution to our world’s most complex problems, we want to help grow the number of cyclists. Oh, and by the way, the trend is going the other way.
In this slide, the Gluskin Townley Group puts the National Sporting Goods Association annual Participation Survey into some pretty easy to understand language. In case you missed it, let me boil down the data into the one take away that matters most:
There has been a 42.9% decline in youth cycling (ages 7-17) from the year 20000 to 2013.
Yeah, that’s a 4 followed by a 2, and then a decimal point. Weird, childhood obesity doubled in the same time period. Huh.
What do we want to accomplish with Buddy Pegs? We want to reverse that trend. Let’s work together to get those 7.5 million kids back on bikes.
So there you have it. I refuse to get stuck in the mind trap of “what does the world need?”. I believe the world needs more kids on bikes, and that makes me come alive. Does it have to be more than that? Well, I do hope there’s enough of YOU out there who agree, because we also do need a paycheck ;)