Start ups – Be Market focused, not ‘Product’ or ‘Technology’

I have been a ‘Start up Entrepreneur’ for about 9 years now and have had a journey with some great lessons. For the ambit of this article, I’d like to focus on one key aspect which I think is very important for an entrepreneur about to launch a tech startup.

To set the context, a high percentage of Technology Start ups are founded by Techies who don’t have any or have limited market exposure. They come up with an Idea (mostly to solve a business/consumer need leveraging technology), make their own assumptions and move ahead with the product development , only to realize that there are no customers willing to validate the product or even interested to sign up for “Beta”!

What I’d recommend every start up entrepreneur is to be more market focused during the first 90 days and less product/tech focused.  If you want to know what the exact market and customer needs are, “ Be on the Road” and  “Speak to prospective customers”.  If your idea is in the B2C space, speak to at least 1000 people or if your product is for mom and pop stores, go and meet at least 200 of them in your vicinity. Sounds simple right? 95% of the start-ups don’t speak to prospective customers/users before they set out to build their product and this gives the sounding reason on “Why 90% Start ups fail!”

Now, how to go about it? When you speak, please don’t sell anything. Just ask them how business is going, what challenges they have been facing to run/grow their business and listen carefully. Don’t rush to pitch your idea, customers care when someone listens to their problems, not the other way around.

When you speak to the Initial audience and analyze the feedback in detail, you would find a common thread/pain point; this pain point might be best solved using Technology or in some other way. Either way, it will set you in the right path and help you make the right choices to proceed with your idea or not. I personally have seen the most of the initial assumptions about the idea/market go bust when I spoke to prospective customers.

One final recommendation would be:  “Don’t Assume, Check Reality”. As a fellow entrepreneur, I hope that no start up would fail and wish good luck to one and all!

About the author:
Satya Ganni is a Fellow Entrepreneur who bootstrapped all the six start ups he founded and is now onto his next venture,As Active Angel and Adviser to few start ups, Satya is very passionate about Technology, Entrepreneurship and is comfortable with Hardware, Software and anything else as relate to start ups, his twitter handle is @gannisk