Straight in, let’s go…
It’s very easy to fall in love with your idea from the get-go. An app for this, the Uber for that…lalala. But if your product/service doesn’t genuinely solve a pain felt by a market, it will fail.
This of course means a few things. To begin with we have to recognise that our idea doesn’t always have to serve an existing market, we may be such an insightful genius that we create a whole new fresh shiny market that no-one ever knew existed; The pain was always felt, just never understood, addressed and solved (Technology consistently performs this task when innovation shines a light on brighter worlds. Think robotics, AI, AR currently)
Getting back on topic, focus! So, we focus on existing markets that need to be served better; Better service, improved products, advances in tech…they’re underserved in some way, and it’s now your job to step in and make something magic for this tribe.
Alternatively, we focus on a problem that is recognised, perhaps understood, but the solution to all or part hasn’t been devised and distributed yet. This is a harder task, but arguably the gains are greater. This is a deeper subject around first-mover-advantage and market share etc etc. But, the sales and BD mountain will be steeper and more slippy!
The Starting Mindset Position
Make solutions for the market, not a market for your solution ideas. Let’s not make life hard.
There is no need to explain this with any more depth. Serve a market. Start from a position of curiosity. Ask. Ask why the market buys the “inferior” solution. WHY?
What characterises the market you’re keen to serve? What pain is felt by them? Do they relieve that pain? How do they currently relieve that pain?
Before you dive straight into your genius idea, ask your newly found collective how they would solve their pain? If they don’t know, pick it apart, solve the components, then put it back together.
“If you could have any meal, your tastiest lunch, what would it be?” Then when they tell you they want a darn Chicken pie with all the trimmings, make them the best Chicken pie with all the trimmings (and the rest they couldn’t remember)!
Some, probably everyone at some-point-or-another have called failure “Pivot”. However, this is a crucial skill and tactic that needs to be developed along the journey.
Whilst it’s preferable to understand a market before we build a solution and then enter, it’s not always reality. And, we have to be honest, we will often indulge ourselves with market data that we manipulate to support the launch of our business baby.
On this point, you may be months or years into your business and in need of this pivot dance move. Well don’t think that it’s too late. Go into your market, re-align and serve again!
Either way, the pivot, a small change in direction, is a luxury we have. There are no rules, do it as often as you need. Just be agile, constantly understand where you and your solution are in the market. Are you still solving the market problem? Has the market shifted whilst you were sleeping? The pivot is your friend.
Your market will answer your questions. They’re on your side so ask them questions. How can we serve you better? Bring them in, be curious, then make magic for them.
A few more things to consider
Does the market have a future? Or, are you good enough to get in, serve the market, and get out before it disappears?
Is the market big enough to scale in line with your plans?
Is the market dynamic enough to scale at the pace you require?
Do you have the resources to build the desired solution and then carry on?
Are you bold and brave enough to lean in and hear the market feedback and then react in a positive progressive way?
These and an infinite number of follow-on questions exist…but the take away has to one of positivity and ambition.
Go, ask a market why they act the way they do. How they’re being treated currently. What they’d change. Keep asking.
Then build a lean solution. Ask for feedback. Keep it Simple. Make it better. Make it magic.
Want to dig deeper?