What is Business?

by Vijay Peduru on September 28, 2009

global network of helpThere are a lot of definitions for business. But I am interested in just the simple and fundamental way that we can define a business.

So, what is a business?. Fundamentally, business isproviding good help’.

Think about it. Every human being needs help. Otherwise he or she cannot survive.

Some of you may disagree.

Before you say anything, let us look around in our life. Notice the help we are receiving almost everyday. The jobs we have, the house we live in, the mail we get are all provided by someone else. As human beings, we need help.

The best way to get help is to give help. We work for someone to provide our services and they help us back by giving us money.  When we need help, we typically look for the best help that we can possibly afford.

Over time the market in which we provide “help” keeps getting bigger and bigger with each new radical innovation. When cars became mass produced, people could travel long distances to get the help they needed. This changed the way people used the marketplace. If they wanted a job in another part of town, they could take it, since they had a car to drive to that part of town. If they wanted to buy something which was available in another town, they could drive and get it. When Airplanes were introduced, people could travel around the world to provide their “help” or get the “help” they needed.

In the very old days, a person with a skill could provide help to others living in the same village, for example a blacksmith could provide his service to people in his village. As the tools of transportation and communication evolved, many more people were able to use his services like those in the neighboring villages. Today, with the advent of the internet and the economy changing from an industrial to information age, a guitar maker ( in crude terms, a modern day blacksmith ) in any part of the world can sell his handmade guitars to anyone in the world. Rick Toone does this. I am sure without the Internet, he would not have a large enough audience for his “help”.

Even when we play online games or want to watch a movie, we are looking for the best game or best movie, Since we cannot personally make a game or movie, we are looking for help to be highly entertained. There are free games and free movies but ultimately they exist because both the provider and the consumer get benefited in some way. When you visit Disneyland , you want the best entertainment (help) and Disney can provide that in return for the money (help) you pay to enter.

So, as entrepreneurs, what can we do?

The bottom line is this: As long as we can provide good help, we have a high chance of succeeding as people are always looking for better help.  With the world as our market, there is a high probability that we can find a large enough market that needs our help.

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Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.

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