No, I am not talking about whether your moose nostril hair trimmer will fly, I am talking generally about the 9 Things Your Product Cannot Be in terms of what will survive in an increasingly competitive market and survive as a startup.
Are you ready?
Your Product Cannot Be…
- For everyone
Seth Godin says “a product for everyone is a product for no one” and it’s true. You need to know who your fine little wedge in the market is and speak to them directly, tailor your offering and work it around that consumer.
- Under a bed, waiting to happen
If you have a fantastic idea but you just aren’t doing it yet, you don’t have a product or a startup, you simply have an idea. What changes that is doing some work in your spare time. So read this and go start!
3. Without Customers
There is no such thing as inventing a product without customers. You can’t afford to sit in isolation and speak only with friends, peers and investors. Get out there and talk to customers and hire people who like your product and believe in it, and build on that constantly. Products need customers. If you focus on anything else, what’s the point?
- Ahead of its Time
Bill Tai summed it up best with his wave catching analogy- if you are playing catch up or ahead of your time, it just won’t work. You need to be right on the crest of that wave, on top and ready to ride it in. Timing is oh so important with a startup or product.
- Nice to Have
There is a big fat difference between products customers love to products that are nice to have. Products people love get shared, garner loyalty and are purchased via word of mouth. Nice to haves lack impact, don’t generate the same feelings and therefore don’t get talked about much. Nice to have is paired with “but can go without.” Don’t be the product your customers can go without.
- Without Revenue
Revenue is sustainability. Revenue means being able to pay your staff, market yourself and build on what you do. Revenue is freedom from debt, investors and bills. Designing without an idea of where revenue will come from is for fools. Everything in life needs some kind of return.
- Security Orientated
If you aren’t prepared to risk, make mistakes and put your bum in the wind don’t be a startup person and definitely don’t invent new products. If you are too scared to fail you’re too scared to succeed. Yep, it really is that simple.
- Unsure of Itself
Make sure you know the story behind your startup and can communicate it to people. If you don’t have that story down pat, customers, investors and the press will be confused and probably file you in the too hard basket. Know why you exist, what you are best at and what you are trying to improve and communicate this well.
Take a razor to the inside lingo and allow people to attach to your startup by creating a conversation that the everyday person can understand. The reality is if people can’t understand what you are saying, you have absolutely no chance in hell of turning them into customers.
By avoiding what your product can’t possibly be you are in better stead for startup success and finding product champions.
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