“If you build it, they will come” right? Unfortunately, that’s far from the reality and I’m sure there will be a few heads nodding as they read this.
Imagine this as a scenario…
You’ve easily invested $50,000 into researching a new app prototype. Now you have a product that you believe is both amazing and market ready, but what if you’ve forgotten the vital step in building the app? Did you remember to talk to the market along the way? Or were you perhaps too busy building the prototype that you forgot to put your head up and test it with consumers?
Startups need to get market focused from the beginning – test ideas conceptually with consumers, understand the pain points, and solve the problems. Refine then test, over and over.
I caught up with an old MBA buddy who told me about an entrepreneur with 3 great startup ideas, 3 product launches, and 3 failures. I couldn’t believe it, that’s a tough one. But where did it all go wrong, all 3 TIMES?! At some point we have to be accountable for the results.
I’m sure he thought the products were awesome, probably brilliant – but it doesn’t matter unless the market is willing to buy into it.
For startups to survive, they need to be adaptive. If the primary focus is placed on product deadlines, then you’re setting yourself up to have very little flexibility around market testing and refinement.
For infant companies to grow they need to respond to the true reality of their market, which comes from validation, demonstration, and communication. Bringing the market into primary focus will drive strategies to achieve growth.
One of the most common themes I see in startup entrepreneurs is that they get so close to their product, it becomes an extension of their personal identity. And hence the reluctance to be vulnerable to test and explore a new idea directly with consumers. We become obsessed with our product, never perfect, and never ready to show the market.
I’ve been down this road myself! I used to think “How can I talk about my product if I haven’t built it yet?” and “What if I tell someone about my product and they criticize it?”. The real consequence is that it delays the finding out what your market is really willing to buy vs. what you THINK they want.
So you don’t need to sink $50,000 on your new app so you can research a working prototype.
Talk to people along the way. Appreciate people’s criticism and find a way to use it constructively to refine your product. Test again, and again until you’ve hit the mark. Then test again!
After all, some of the best pitched ideas started as Photoshop mock ups. Sometimes there 1st reveal doesn’t have to be a perfect masterpiece.
– Adam B.