The just I received this sharp comment from Cassie to my Tuesday blog:
I think something that also helps is being able to clearly state the problem your target market is having and exactly how you solve it. If you don't know the exact problem to a tee, you are definitely not focused enough.
Cassie understands what serial entrepreneurs have discovered: a startup wins big when it solves a big problem that its customer is having. Here are a few examples:
- "Data storms" in the IT infrastructure mess at complex Stanford University led entrepreneurs to a solution: The "router" was invented and Cisco became the gorilla of a new market category.
- "Faster to my fishing hole" inspired Arthur Davidson and Bill Harley to put a motor on a bicycle and that led to bikes "quiet enough to not scare horses" and then on to Harley-Davidson motorcyle fame.
- "Faster (in minutes, not days) medical testing" led to a rush of bio-tech testing startups focused on aggressive infectious diseases.
Note the absence of "faster, quicker, cheaper, better". Those are words that signal your startup is lacking "the killer app," the solution to a big problem. A focused, winning solution does not use words ending in "er".
Also note the absence of "We will start small and grow large." Such wording signals the founders are not thinking big enough from day one. It is best to think big first and then focus on a specific market segment ("Ideal customer"), knock over that first bowling pin and then move on to the next two market segments.
BOTTOM LINE: Cassie is right, you need to focus on and deliver a solution that is driving your ideal customer crazy. Others put it this way: "It is better to sell pain killers than vitamins." So give your startup idea a workout right now: What is the BIG problem you solve for your targeted market? You only get to solve one problem for a startup (otherwise you are not focused). When you can do that, you'll have discovered one of the most important secrets of the winning serial entrepreneurs. It will lead you to construction of a great unfair advantage. You CAN do it!
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!