24 Apr Avoid building a mediocre startup
Time and again in customer conversations, I am reminded of why I’m building my current startup, (Startup Mzansi). Daily, I hear “That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for”, or “Where were you when I started x years ago?”
If you are talking to potential customers and not hearing those phrases, then you have a problem. A big one.
They (customers) might not care about your solution to their problem. Or perhaps you don’t really understand their problems, or they just don’t think you do.
Either way, you are now (and apologies for the dialect) “pushing s#!t uphill”, as we say down-under. Every ‘conversion’ is a battle, every conversation is a firefight, every sale is an Everest. But it shouldn’t be.
If “Minimum Viable Product”, is a flawed propositon for you (as it is for many startups, such as for those by experienced professionals), why not start with a “Minimum Desirable Product”?
Why not build something that not only solves the customers’ problems, but that they care about enough to actually want to put down their hard-earned-pennies for? Why not meet their needs the first time round, instead of taking 6 or 10 iteratons to get there, and alienating many of your early potential customers in the process?
I could describe in detail the difficulities of finding, & the very high cost of acquisition, for obtaining early leads. But its a simple fact; if your market loves your products 12 months sooner, that’s 12 months of ‘extra’ conversions, referrals, revenue, repeat business, PR etc. Its probably the difference between you running out of ‘runway’ (personal or business capacity) and making it your next milestone. In short, the difference between success & failure.
So, before you build your ‘product’, let me ask you this. Would you hire a housing builder to build your dream home using an MVP, and then ‘test & iterate’ or would you want it done in a more desirable way?
Perhaps its time for a whole new way of thinking for building a digital startup. Perhaps its time to think about how to imagine the endgame & then reverse engineer the process, so that you start with a solid foundation.
Or perhaps we should just change the way that we build houses?