If you’re building a product, you don’t really have to make the most outstanding product in the world or something that completely shifts our brains and turns our world inside out and upside down. Instead, identify where the existing products don’t serve a subset of their audience. Build where they’re dissatisfied. Build where they know something is missing.
The people who already use your competitors’ products know precisely what they want, and they know exactly what they’re not getting. If you can find their wishlist, hit the points that matter to them, and do it effectively and efficiently. That’s where you can win.
Take almost any product, and I’ll show you that there’s an alternative that provides for the people who aren’t entirely satisfied– seriously.
For every Beatles, there is always a Rolling Stones. For every Apple, an Android. For every Mac, a Windows. For every Carlton Draught, a Fat Yak (that last one is an Aussie beer reference, for the record).
People will become advocates for anything.
Here’s something that I believe: People can become passionate advocates of almost anything, as long as there is an opposing view for them to advocate against.
That happens with every platform I can think of right now. People who love Instagram Stories, for example, don’t just love Instagram Stories. They often also hate Snapchat.
People who love Dominos Pizza don’t just love their pies. They actively dislike Pizza Hut. And then, regardless of whose product is better, they will actively choose to buy one brand over another.
Ever heard someone call themselves a Woolworth’s person or a Walmart person? It happens. People take sides, quite passionately, about their supermarket.
So if you give them a product that matches up with why they don’t want your competitors’ product, they’ll become more than just customers. They’ll become your fans.
This is where successful businesses are born.
You don’t have to start the next Apple to build a successful phone company. That’s not the case at all. We all know someone who’s bought a top-of-the-line, cutting-edge phone and then returned it in two weeks because they hate it. And we also all know someone who’s been using their reliable, faithful old phone for years and loves it because of one single unpopular feature.
You have to work out what the dissatisfied want, even if that market is comparatively small, and give it to them.
You don’t have to start the next Nike to build a successful sportswear company. You have to work out why people don’t like the sportswear they have, even if that market is a small one, and then give it to them, and that’s where you find success.
When you get those people, you have to be on their side and keep what they want pretty clearly in mind. If you want to grow a business, find people who aren’t satisfied.
People’s desires are what drive innovation. And it is their dissatisfaction with the status quo that will fuel your company’s growth. When you know where they’re dissatisfied and what they want, you can create products that fill those needs.
Remember: it’s about solving problems for people who want a better solution at the end of the day. It’s not about making products just because they sound cool on paper or because there’s competition.
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