Mark Blasini


The 3 needs, or why running a business is so hard


You probably don't need to knowthatstarting a successful enterprise - online or offline - can be very hard, but it does help to know why. This way you can focus more clearly on how to reduce that hardship.

The answer, I believe, lies in psychology. In social psychology, there is a concept called "interpersonal needs." The basic premise goes like this: Every person has at least 3 emotional needs they want to meet. These needs are

  1. Inclusion - or the need to be recognized, applauded, respected.
  2. Control- or the need to be in charge of things, to make important decisions, to create desired outcomes.
  3. Affection- or the need to be liked, loved, connected to others.

You could probably go on all day about the people in your life and which needs they have, but let's focus on business.

Typically, an individual has one primary need he or she wants to be met - whether inclusion, control, or affection. A business, on the other hand, needsall three needsto be met in order to be healthy (i.e. profitable and influential).

If a business doesn't stand out, if it isn't well-positioned or well-differentiated, then customers won't choose it over other businesses. Thus, it has to get its need for inclusion met.

If a business doesn't have control over its operations (products and services, income, expenses, staff, etc.), then the business will fall apart. Thus, satisfying the need for control is a huge priority.

And if a business doesn't have loyal customers, customers thatlovethe business and support it, then the business will have a very difficult time growing and thriving. Thus, the need for affection must be met.

This is, of course, no easy task, but knowing this gives entrepreneurs three important questions that they must ask themselves continually in order to build a successful business:

  1. How can we stand out to our customers?
  2. How can we gain better control over operations?
  3. How can we connect more with our customers and build loyalty?

Anything beyond the scope of these questions is superfluous.