Thinking Out Loud

Sell the problem you solve. Not the Product.

People do not want to spend money on another product. They don’t even want to download another piece of software.

They want a solution to their immediate problem.

Often, startups concentrate so much on thinking through their product, adding features, and convincing themselves that this is the best (insert product category here) that’s ever been seen. It ticks all the boxes against their competitive analysis. So, where’s the billion dollar payoff?

Yes, the customer problems will probably be solved by your list of features and engineering brilliance, but you’ve got something like 8 seconds to educate, influence, delight, and convert people to realising you have a solution to their problems.


Half the time, they don’t really know it, they’ve just got a niggle in the back of their mind.
In the business software area, people are ready to buy – because they know that their current business problem/roadblock will cost them money, time or competitive advantage if they don’t address it.

So you have to start with reminding them that they actually have that unresolved something. Then give it a name. Identify and let the resonate… “Hey, Yes, you mailed it! I do want this, or I’m missing that, desirable feeling. And boy, I’d pay money for something that fixed this, now that you mention it”.


So, how come I’m mentioning this?

It sounds like sales & marketing, which is definitely NOT my sphere of expertise.

The point is that if you start with this view, then you can whittle down what you build, focus your MVP, and reduce the number of unknowns. If the only to-do items are those that address real unmet customer needs, then your project is going to run smoother, be tighter, consume less effort, and get to (test) market a lot quicker. In the end, you’ll know exactly what your product/service is, which immediate pains it removes, and what specific dollops of happiness that any paying customer will receive in return for their cash.

If you attempt to deliver a solution rather than a product, you will also be better placed to measure progress, define deliverables for subcontractors, explain the concept to investors, and keep everyone moving in the same direction.


Focus. Simplify. Deliver value.

Rinse, Repeat.





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