Ask questions first

It’s easy to fall into the trap of building a product because you’re absolutely convinced the world must love it. How couldn’t it?

You think your idea is great. It fits with the latest web trends. It’s like Facebook meets Basecamp meets Gmail. If only everyone would use it, it would be such a great product.

Or you see that so many people need your product. You may be right, but if they don’t realize it, you can’t sell them.

In short, it’s easy to focus too much on you and what you want to sell and not enough on what your customers want to buy.

It’s trite, it’s obvious, yet we all do it; big companies and tiny companies alike.

So talk to them. Strike up conversations. Ask lots questions.

What are your biggest dreams and aspirations? What are your biggest problems? Who else shares these problems? What would you really wish were different? What blogs or sites or magazines do you read? What related products do you buy? How much would you pay for this?

It’s tempting to use yourself as a sample customer, but you have a natural bias towards your own product and the way of thinking that created it. You can use yourself for insights, but you need to verify them with the market.

There’s a really good chance that you have something unique and valuable to offer the world, but there’s an equally good chance that it’s not what you thought it was, or at least not presented the way that you were going to.

Before you build your product, ask lots of questions.

1 comment

Paul Rochelle

This is a great post. I know that all those things were said lots of time befor, but still yu should never forget about talking to your customer. Kudos! In fact, that's how I got to know about my project management tool - http://www.wrike.com. Before I never even realised I needed one. We used to track our to-dos using Excel. Oh well, I once came a post about them at FastForward. It made me realize, that I might be needing something like this to make my job easier.
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