Which Should Come First... Building a Business or Building a List?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by A8ch, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. A8ch

    A8ch Gold Member

    We are familiar with the age-old question that has been asked about the chicken and the egg regarding which came first, and we may never know with absolute certainty which answer is correct.

    A similar question can be asked about starting an online enterprise. Which aspect should you start on first, the business itself or the list?

    There are any number of courses that teach one approach over the other, as well as both together. What's your take on this?


    RICH4NURICHE New Member

    I am currently building a list first and then incorporating those into building my businesses. I would think that in order to build a business, the act of involving people would come from a list of some sort. Even if it was one person at a time. Essentially, a business is made up of people, don't you think?
  3. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    I think that's a trick question Hermas.
    A list can be a "to do" list or contacts, both of which are needed to start a business.
    Even a bricks and mortar store has to have lists of inventory and suppliers.
    Our lives are built on contacts so the lists help create our businesses.
    Friends, family, co-workers, and everything fit in a list somewhere.
    Mental or on paper, the list comes first.
    Using lists properly is another subject.
  4. A8ch

    A8ch Gold Member

    Just2EZ: I think that's a trick question Hermas.
    It wasn't intended to be. [​IMG]

    Just2EZ: A list can be a "to do" list or contacts... lists of inventory and suppliers... friends, family, co-workers...
    Very true, and your post made me re-examine my question and realize that it was very broadly stated. I was actually thinking of a prospective customer list when I framed the question.

    Just2EZ: Mental or on paper, the list comes first.
    For many people that's probably the intuitive order in which the process unfolds. Yet you can find Internet Marketing "gurus" who teach 3 different approaches to starting an online business:

    1. First research a prospetive market niche (The Business)... and then go from there.
    2. First build a list of prospects in a probable market (The List) ... and then go from there.
    3. First pick the market niche you want to operate in and simultaneously set up a system for building a prospect list (The Business & The List)... and then go from there.

    In my opinion there's no wrong answer as such, just a preference in method of approach.

    Just2EZ: Using lists properly is another subject.
    That it is indeed! And using lists properly is the defining difference that separates the successful businesses from the failures.

  5. happywife

    happywife Gold Member

    Good question, Hermas. I have to agree that there really isn't a right or wrong answer on that one.

    For me, when I started delving into the "online business" world, I heard a lot about the importance of building a list, etc., but I couldn't quite see why anyone would want to be on "my list" when I hadn't done anything or provided any value to them already. It seemed rather presumptuous of me, not to mention the fact that I had no real idea of the intricacies involved in setting up the whole process to begin with. [​IMG]

    Then I came across the approach of beginning an online business by creating a niche website around something that you know about or are passionate about first, and then creating a list from there.

    I decided to take that approach and started my chocolate website. I didn't start developing my list until after I had offered a decent amount of content and then began list building.

    I probably only have around 3000 on my list for that niche at the moment, but that's my fault for not pursuing it in a more focused manner. I know for a fact that I don't use my various lists "properly" and would probably do much better if I took the time to develop that skill.

    Maybe that can be one of my new years resolutions. [​IMG] I see you have info on it in your sig. I'll have to check it out since I do value your knowledge.

  6. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    I think it depends on the business you are in. For example, one of my friends has bought a franchisee for stem cell storage. You cannot build this business without building a list. Of course, you can straightaway do advertising, but building a list first, with an effort to presell prospects with related info would work great and is recommended.

    Let's take an online business like mine., where there is no product involved. Now it's not easy to build a list first without building my forum first. Once the forum picks up, only then can I expect to build the list.
  7. Anders J

    Anders J Member

    Building a list is essiential for following up with your leads and building the relationship with them.

    You will be able to to monetize them and making them more educated while you get those who are right for your opportunity sorted out.

    To your success,
    Anders J??rgensen
  8. FreeCashMan

    FreeCashMan Well-Known Member

    Either way you go, build a list. Follow up makes for prosperity. Far too many not building a list at all, and then wondering why they are not having success.
  9. shaishavsood

    shaishavsood New Member

    Build a trust with your list to build your business... You can not build your business from your list without trust factor ... so build a list with trust before building a business ...
  10. Gen1

    Gen1 New Member

    Hello, Everyone
    Thank you for your wise thoughts. One thing I've noted about this forum, is that the information here is "real" and valuable. That's great as then we're all on the same page and not wasting time.

    I've come to liken online businesses with off-line, because in any business, you need to firstly have a product or service that someone wants and then you have to deliver it with honesty and provide value. The customer has to be wooed and courted firstly before they'll part with their money.

    It's the same whether you have a neighbourhood grocery store or an ebay store; whether you're a business consultant or a web master. First of all you must have the skill or product and it has to be put "out there" in a manner that customers perceive value.

    It's when customers or potential customers start coming back or signing up for something, whether on line or off line, that you're able to build a list.

    Thank you, Hermas for making me think through the question. I favour the "Build business first" and give value.

    Angie, I'm with you on wondering, what on earth would you give people if you don't have good stuff on the site. That's really confirmed my thinking - we need to build the business first, give great value first.

    Hermas, I'm looking forward to having a look at your site on how to build a list.

  11. damasco9

    damasco9 New Member

    Well for sure you should be more focused on building a list..is vital to have a potentialy targeted clients list to be able to start running a business
  12. aaronempowered

    aaronempowered New Member

    A list is a business, so I'd say they are both done at the same time. Every publicly successful internet businessperson has mentioned the importance of a list, or how they regret not starting one sooner.

    You can build a business without a list, simply promoting offers and depend solely on people buying on their first visit without the opportunity to subscribe and continue to receive updates from you, or you can build a list without selling anything, or you can combine the two.
  13. WahIdeas

    WahIdeas New Member

    I agree with Vishal. In the online world I think that building a solid, trustworthy business and presence online would lead naturally to being able to build a quality list of prospects who trust you for your hard work and expertise. Produce-wise in the "real world" building your list first is probably the way to go...
  14. KB24

    KB24 Active Member

    Building a list... always.. its good to have a big list but are you building a relationship with them? Do you have a responsive list? Doesn't matter how big your list is as the relationship you have with that list is much more important. People buy from people they trust.

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