While you may think coming up with a product based on a gap in the industry is all that it takes to taste success, you need to factor in a lot more details to have a profitable enterprise.
Being a part of the startup ecosystem, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, and hear out their experiences and stories. Some were happy, some stressed out, and some nervous. It was a great learning experience for me as it helped me figure out why people succeed, and why they struggle or fail in their entrepreneurial journeys.
In one such closed group meetings, I came across a technologist who had started his own tech firm two years ago after spending more than 20 years with one of the industry’s biggest players. He mentioned that while working on a particular project in his previous organisation, he figured out a gap in the offering that no one cared about. He then reached out to his clients and asked them if they will be happy to get this gap filled in. On receiving a positive response, he decided to call it quits one day and with a couple of other like-minded people (technologists again), started his own firm.
It took the team close to six months to come up with the product. And when he approached the same set of clients, they were happy to see the gap filled in, just that there was one issue – no one was ready to pay for it. On further interaction, clients shared that while they were happy with the solution offered, they didn’t feel the need to spend extra money on the same. They were happy to consider it if it was offered free of cost to them (as an add-on to the existing product).
At that time, the gentleman realised he missed out on one of the most important aspects of doing business – the product saleability. And that prompted me to wonder what came first: the product, or thorough market research.
As an entrepreneur, we constantly think of challenges that we face in our daily lives, or in our working environment, and try to figure out a solution that can be offered to the consumer. We choose a solution, depending on how we feel the big the gap is. For example, some people feel there is a lot that can be done on social media, and hence focus on that, and some feel they can help consumers in selecting certain products better, and therein lies their focus.
As far as my interaction with different entrepreneurs is concerned, the idea usually stems from the mind of an individual (typically, the founder), and he or she leads it to next steps. I figured out in most of the cases it was an individual’s ability to sniff out =a gap that helped result in a product.
So what’s wrong with that? Nothing; just that most of the times, these individuals refuse to validate their thinking with reality. They are so sure and confident of their idea that they don’t feel the need to cross-check if it will be accepted well in the market. Personal egos and rigidity sometimes take over practical thinking and that’s where the most important step before launching a product is missed out - doing thorough market research before turning one’s dream product into reality. This was what had happened with the gentleman I mentioned earlier.
And that’s why I strongly feel that the first step to kickstart any idea is to get it validated and be assured that one is moving in the right direction. Here are a few steps that a budding entrepreneur must take in order to ensure he/she is moving in the right direction:
So, before you start working on your product, tick off all the above points to ensure you have got it right. Trust me, these are very difficult steps but are critical to ensure you don’t face any difficulties once you are into it. While there would be lots of learnings in the journey that may result in a certain change in strategies too, the rock-solid base created by you will keep you afloat in the long run.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)