One of the main reasons many become entrepreneurs in the first place is because they feel they have that “one solution” they want to build to serve the world with every optimism that it needs. In most cases, however, such stubborn optimism leads founders to build what they love rather than what the market needs.
The biggest mistake you can make as a startup founder is to be so much in love with your product that you forget to listen to the needs of the target users. No business can afford the cost of such recklessness.
Don’t build what you care about, you will lose money that way. Build what the market cares about and you will make money. Customers don’t want your product or what it does; they just want to make their lives better. And if you don’t give them that, you will lose out. Hence, all the solutions in a business should be parts that work together to deliver value to the customer.
According to CB Insights, 42% of startups owing to a lack of market need–because the entrepreneurs behind them are too fixated on their idea instead of solving the customer’s problems. It, therefore, pays to first understand clearly the progress that the customer wants to make, then build your solution as a bridge and nothing else.
As John Wooden put it, “You must be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.”
To be safe on the profitable side of the market, here are a few points to note…
Don’t be a blockbuster, be a Netflix
Blockbuster once had the opportunity in 2000 to acquire Netflix for $50 million, but the board refused because they were too in love with their idea and didn’t see how a CD mailing business could possibly be what the market wants.
Today, the blockbuster is gone while Netflix has over 100 million streaming subscribers worldwide and is worth billions.
The lesson for you here as a startup is not to be so emotionally attached to your idea that you forget to see the not so obvious instructions of the market. Be more in love with the buyers more than you are with your product. This allows you to spot opportunities and accelerate easier and faster.
Recreate value by first caring
Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care about your idea, it cares about its progress. And any value proposition that misses this will miss out from relevance and profit. So the question should be: does the market think that this product is valuable?
This goes to mean that every entrepreneur who wants to succeed would have to accept the market as a harsh, but fair judge of what we should create and what to avoid, even if not always, but most of the time.
Carry the users along
A good point of reference here is Paystack. When Shola and Ezra found a need to create a payment solution for the Nigerian market, they didn’t just get to it and hit the market with their idea; they tested and carried the supposed users along.
They spoke with others who have been in the space long enough to advise them. They even went above that to create an online test list to see if the market was really interested in what they were building.
The company has gone ahead to do extremely well with most of the users championing the advert and promotion of the company to new users. This is why it is extremely important to identify the audience and keep their perspective in mind throughout the product development process.
Love your business, love what you are doing — but don’t put the cart before the Horse. If you do, you might lose both the Cart and the Horse!
To your #moneysense.
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