“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse.”
What I love about this quote is that it highlights a few things:
- Entrepreneurship requires vision.
- Customers don’t always know what they want.
- Entrepreneurs can exceed expectations.
- Success is often obtained by thinking outside of the box.
- Things don’t have to stay the way they are.
Obviously, Henry Ford revolutionized the way automobiles were manufactured, but he also broke the mold of current (at that time) thought. People only had one mode of transportation on their mind: horse and carriage.
Entrepreneur Quote Insights
People may think they know what they want, but an entrepreneur doesn’t have to stop there! Why not reinvent your customers expectations? Think outside of the box and figure out how you can do it better.
Sure, Henry Ford could have done what many other people did: breed horses for strength, stamina, and speed, but instead he decided to reinvent transportation.
You can go with the flow, but if you want to change the world, you have to do things differently.
Entrepreneurship Quote & Customer Feedback
This isn’t to say you should disregard customer feedback, but instead of taking their request at face value, dig deeper. Henry Ford’s customers wanted a better horse, but did they truly want a better horse? What his customers were looking for was:
- Faster Transportation.
- More reliable transportation.
- Low maintenance transportation.
His customers could only speak in terms they understood. Customers won’t come out and tell you that they want a car when cars weren’t widely known about, but they can still tell you what their needs are.
Your job is to determine what your customers actually want. Could all of those things be embodied in a better horse? Of course! But in reality his customers didn’t care if it was a horse specifically.
Read into the needs of your customers. They might say they need a better horse, but what do they actually need? This might help you to think outside of the box.
Entrepreneurship Quote & Bravery
Stretching a bit, we can also see a hint of bravery in this. I believe nearly all entrepreneurs have a level of bravery within them that allows them to go against the grain. Most entrepreneurs that come to mind have taken enormous risks that went against popular opinion. They’ve also had plenty of people tell them they are crazy and will never succeed.
It takes a lot of bravery to overcome such criticism, and it takes a huge amount of bravery to take the needs of your customers and design something they’ve never seen before, and hope that they will like it. Entrepreneurship is often about thinking outside of the box, and doing what your gut tells you is right.
I’m not saying to throw caution to the wind, but I’d be lying if I said that entrepreneurship wouldn’t require uncomfortable decisions that many say is wrong.