…or rather with Customer?
I have heard many times: “Develop a killer product – that’s the most important for your business.” It seems to be especially common among wannabe entrepreneurs in technology sector.
I heard it from a startup in quite a traditional segment, too. “Have you tested your idea and concept with a potential customer?” – was my question… “No” – was the answer.
Well, if you can’t sell your great product (have no customers), there is little sense in such business, isn’t it? The business I speak about went bust after having burnt money for about a year.
Unfortunately, this happens to many startups – tech and non-tech alike. The basic laws of business are universal and apply to any sector.
“The purpose of any business is to create a customer.” #PeterDrucker.
Here are 3 simple suggestions that I hope will help you (and your investors) avoid costly mistakes:
1. Talk to your customer early. You are obsessed about your product (even if it is at an idea stage only), you have very good reasons to believe it is great. That means you probably can guess who would share your opinion. Talk to them, put your enthusiasm to a test. And if they “don’t get it” you probably need to change either your concept, or audience (market) – talk to adjacent group (age, occupation, sex, income level, activity, habits, etc.)
2. Gather feedback, never stop. And go beyond asking ‘how can I make this product better?’ Ask ‘how/where do you see such product/service used?‘ You may be amazed by the insights you get. This may lead you to a different market segment or application.
3. Sell it. Yes, even when it’s just a prototype, try selling it. In fact, try selling a similar product before or while developing yours. First, this will show if it is going to fly at all. Second, you can gauge the price/value for your future business. Third, you will learn a whole lot about your customers – what’s really important to them and what’s not. Finally, if you’re selling, you already have customer base and sales channel – you have a business.
So, in the end, it all does start with sales.