In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the mall in Washington DC. The speech lasted about 17 minutes. For 11 of those minutes, Dr. King described in detail the awful effects of racial discrimination on African Americans and the country in general. In essence, he was laying out the problems that needed to be overcome if America was to fulfill its promise for all people. In the last 6 minutes of his speech he talked about his dream for the future and it was those 6 minutes (only a third of his speech!) that changed the course of history and set us on the path toward racial justice. In 1964, LBJ with help from Republican legislators passed the Civil Rights Act. Set against the compelling need for equality for all, Dr. King’s vision for a new day became the most powerful and memorable part of his speech. As a nation, we were sold on his ideas. He very eloquently articulated an enduring customer need and laid out a vision to fill it. Interestingly, entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley use this very technique everyday to secure funding for their projects.
The lesson business creators can draw from the structure of his speech is to make sure you really understand the needs and desires of your potential customers before developing your product/solution (a notable exception might be Steve Jobs who was brilliant at anticipating what we now can’t do without). And certainly, having a passion for your idea is absolutely required because multiple failures are inevitable. If the market is sold on your idea (which is the hard part), running the business can be just a matter of finding a skilled team. This is what Clearwater Business Advisers is all about.