If you’re devoting a meaningful portion of your life to launching a new idea, why not give yourself the best chance to succeed and do some homework first?
That requires six considerations:
- Who are your potential customers? Age, occupation, income, lifestyle, education, etc.
- What do they buy now? Current buying habits relating to your product or service, including how much they buy, their favored suppliers, most popular features and the predominant price points.
- What will they buy in the future? Ragy Thomas, founder of Sprinklr, told me, “Paint the picture of what the future can be, then work backwards. The best way to innovate is to think about the future backward, instead of the past forward. Startups often attempt to solve a problem that is occurring right now. Instead, entrepreneurs should build products and services around problems that will happen in the future and work backward to find solutions for those problems.
- Why do they buy? This is a tricky but important question because ultimately your marketing depends on this answer. For example, you might be proud of the new functionality of your product, but people really buy it because it’s a pretty color. Don’t confuse what you sell with what people really buy.
- What will make them buy from you? I encourage my clients to finish this sentence: “Only we…..” Answering that is hard work, but if you align your meaningful points of differentiation with underserved customer needs, your probability of success skyrockets.
- Is our advantage defensible? What competitors exist, and is our singular advantage significant enough to create a seam? Has there been a fracture in the status quo we can leverage?
From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark Schaefer