Find the void in the market and develop a novel solution to address that void.
A startup usually begins by solving a problem. If you want to be successful, you have to find the void in the market and develop a novel solution to address that void. It starts with finding an idea that only you can provide.
Startups grow by finding a market niche that isn’t being served well by existing players. Such markets are called ‘voids.’ The key to beating incumbents is to solve problems better, faster or cheaper — or some combination thereof. These are the factors that will make your offering more value to customers, which gives you more pricing power.
“What problem are you trying to solve?” is a common question in job interviews. And yet, would you believe that most companies don’t understand the importance of having a problem? They start with an idea for a product or service — in fact, they’re usually trying to improve on something that already exists — and then they build their company around that. Of course, growth is hard if you’re solving no one’s problems.
Modern market research is easy. All the tools are available online to help you. Then all you have to do is look around and be more observant than everyone else. There will always be problems that people wish were solved. A need that they agree on but no one is satisfying. That void is your opportunity to leap into action before anyone else does.
Businesses are about filling a need. An ideal business is one that provides something so compelling that people are willing to pay for it. This is true for people who start businesses, and it’s also true for the businesses themselves.
And then, as now, the central question for founders was, “What problem are you solving?” The best answers were clear and practical yet ambitious. They focused on providing real utility to real people — not just making money or advancing technology.
You’re better off focusing on the market rather than on clever technology. What most startups focus on is technology and not the market. As a result, lots of companies with cool technology fail.
In situations where something is generally the case, people will have a hard time seeing how it could be different. For example, if there’s a generally agreed upon way to get from point A to point B, lots of people will get stuck because there seems to be no other option. But if someone points out a novel way to get from A to B, that person will open up space for solutions that were previously unthinkable.
Novelty for its own sake is not enough. It has to solve a real problem. It has to be something people want. And you have to build something better than what’s come before.
- Where is it?
- What are they missing?
- Who are the people paying the price for this inefficiency?
This is what you can use to develop a solution, to fill in the gap.
That way you will not be competing necessarily but would have created a new market niche with your solution. What the absence of competition essentially allows you to do is to create a market that did not previously exist. Well, maybe not for too long before that is not true if barriers to entry is nonexistent.
The real key to growing your business is authenticity. People innately distrust those who are not genuine, those who try to be something they aren’t. The more people can relate to you as a human being, the easier it will be for them to connect with you.