Yesterday I was speaking with a gaggle of early stage tech entrepreneurs about Lean Startup at Google Campus in London.
They were eager to learn more about about hypothesis testing. Newbies wanting to learn about the Lean Startup approach.
Yet they were falling prey to what I call the “solutionizing bias”. They only wanted to talk and think about solutions. And making sales. It’s so tempting, easy and natural for founders to fall for that trap.
As entrepreneurs, we’re naturally optimistic go-getters. We have a solution for every problem. We want to help out.
Yet when you’re building a new product, you don’t know whether your solution is important for your customer. If you don’t prove that first, then brace yourself for a long uphill battle.
Your solution solves a problem your customer has. The customer cares about their problem, not your solution. Before you think about solutions, you need to know whether the problem your solution solves is important. In your customer’s eyes.
That’s why validating your product idea is so important. First ensure that the problem you’re addressing affects a large percentage of your target market.
If you focus on your solution only, you won’t know which problem is worth addressing. It’s blinding.
Imagine you’re reading a market research report about the biggest problems of your target market. In that report, there is a pie chart.
Let’s say your prospects have 4 different problems: A, B, C, D. 40% consider A their main concern, 30% B, 20% C, and 10% D.
Yet, you’ve already built a solution. You realize it addresses problem D.
For the same amount of marketing effort, you’ll get 4 times less results than another founder who addresses problem A.
In my experience with building products, I’ve managed to build products that addressed problem E.
In other words, it was a problem I thought the market should have, but actually didn’t. I was dead in the water. I write about an example like that, and how to prevent it from happening to you, in Launch Tomorrow.
While it’s critical to think in terms of sales you’re going to make when you start a business, first check if you are addressing a meaningful problem first. One that a big chunk of your market thinks they have. And that they’re willing to pay for a solution. Then you set yourself up for hockey-stick growth.
Only then do you build a money-making machine.
Otherwise, you might as well be a missionary.
If you follow the one-day launch sequence in Launch Tomorrow, you’ll get a decent blueprint to do exactly that. Build what your customers want.