Question from a reader:
how important is having a business license and a business plan to running a successful website that makes money?
Is it more important then having a business idea and a product.
Business plan: 1/10, maybe 2/10
Business license: 1/10 if it's not required, just another general admin step if it is required in your jurisdiction or industry
Then I thought some more.
A business idea: 4/10
Understanding market needs/demand: 10/10
An offer that strongly appeals to those needs/that demand: 10/10
Definitely, the administrative side of starting a business isn't very important for starting a very early stage something. Okay, do it if it's required, but just move quickly through it. It sucks up your time and doesn't throw off revenues.
A plan could be useful, maybe, but it'd be a better use of time to go out and talk to people about their needs, sell a little bit, and try to understand their buying patterns rather than abstract planning.
A product that isn't built around real market needs is actually a dangerous thing - it's a trap you fall into. A product that's exceptional, best-in-class, and fully in sync with people's needs and desires would be a 10/10... but the odds of magically accidentally building a product like that without first understanding the needs is virtually nil. Okay, Steve Jobs could do it somewhat, but there was only one Steve Jobs.
Distribution is underrated. How are you going to get your product out into the world?
I'd ask in this order -
1. What do people want?
2. Okay, if I offer to sell exactly that, will they give me money for it?
3. How will I get this offer out to lots of relevant people?
4. Then, build or buy the product.
5. Then, maybe write up plans of what you've found if there's a good reason to.