Forget Ideas; Study A Market
It is quite easy to sit down in your comfy chair and come up startup ideas. It feels like fun and it seems like you are doing great work coming up with such fantastic ideas.
You quickly draw up sketches on your notepad or whiteboard. You do your calculations and you might even run some projections of your expected monthly recurring revenue on MS Excel or Google Sheets (yeah, I’ve done that too ).
You are excited about the potential thousands and millions of users that would signup on your offer within a month after launch.
You already seeing yourself posing on the front cover of Forbes Magazine.
“This is so fantastic! I’m such a genius” you say as you smile and pat yourself on the back as the brilliant CEO / Co-founder of the next unicorn in your industry.
Now if you are a web developer like me, you start thinking of a cool domain name for your startup, designing the database structures, sketching the UI and building them out.
You work with so much speed and zeal that you finish the MVP in record time.
Then you share what you’ve built with your buddies and they all cheer you up — they don’t want to hurt your feelings or risk being haters.
You gleefully announce the launch date on say ProductHunt or HackerNews.
Launch day comes around and you get nothing but silence… cold hard silence.
No serious traction to your big startup idea at all. There maybe a few signups but after the first week, it’s just zero growth rate.
Your morale is flattened. You have burnt time, money and energy pursuing this fantastic ‘nonsense’ ( that’s what it turns to by now ) and this is what you get.
No! This thing has to work. You muster some enthusiasm and do some more marketing to see if the product picks up.
After a while of struggling and no significant growth, you finally dump the idea and shut down the app for good.
This is how most people go about generating ideas and keep failing. I’ve gone through this same cycle a few times. I managed to make a little money before I shut them down.
A couple of years back I subscribed to Amy Hoy’s newsletter where she talked about making products people would love and pay for.
To me, she’s the Queen of bootstrapping. I scanned through her newsletters once in a while but I was still full of my own ideas so it didn’t make sense to me until recently.
She doesn’t believe in ideas, rather she says you need to study a market. I went on to read more of her newsletters seriously and then her book, Just Fucking Ship.
It was then I understood why she strongly believed in studying a market.
When you study a market, you spend lots of time hanging out where they hang out and listening for what pain points or complaints they have that you have the resources to solve well.
You learn how they speak about the pains, what product(s) they use to solve those pains and how effective the solutions are towards solving their problems.
All these information you now possess makes it easier for you to come up with possible solutions that your target market can pay for.
Your chances of success are now much higher.
This is my new way of coming up with profitable ideas as I’ve ditched my old ways of generating ideas.
I now prefer to discover ideas from my target market.
Thank you for reading and please don’t forget to clap and share.