Many products and services are offered these days … but very few actually sell and become a success. So, the question is: how to come up with a product idea that is not a waste of time and money? How to come up with something that the market wants and is willing to pay for? That is what this article is all about.
Let me share a story with you:
You may know 37Signals, the guys that created Basecamp.com.
In their book “Getting Real” they´ve described how they came up with their ideas. They call it “Scratch Your Own Itch” and it basically means: make software that solves your problem, and, if many others have the same problem and may need this software – sell it!
Here is how they describe their concept:
And for all of you, who´d like to get the entire book, here it is for free, I highly recommend it:
Ok, but here is the tricky part: What if you DON`T have an itch, or if the market would be to small?
The answer is actually simple: Scratch someone else’s itch, or, to be more precise:
– Find people who have an itch (your market)
– Team up with some of them and
– Work together to scratch the itch the best possible way!
(And of course, you want to make sure that there is a market – that there are solutions out there that poeple are paying for).
Ideally you want to team up with people who are willing to share and contribute, and who are influencers. Because influencers, who have the authority and the followers, can help you sell your product later on.
Where do you find them?
Well, there are many forums and Facebook groups where likeminded professionals gather to help each other and exchange information.
Join them and start adding value (that is providing help) and make friends. Then reach out to them and tell them that you´re thinking about making a piece of software for them and you´d like to know:
– Which product/service/software they are already using to solve a specific problem and
– What could be done better or added, to make the product/service/software even more valuable to them
You could also ask them, what manual tasks they are performing that they´d like to automate with a software solution.
Maybe they are spending too much time on LinkedIn to identify potential leads and to connect; maybe you could make a piece of software that automates this task?
The important thing is to have them onboard and stay in touch with them during the development of the product, constantly introducing your latest work and asking them for feedback to make sure that you´ll really end up with the product that they need and want!
I call this approach “Crowd-Creating”, since a product or is created by close cooperation and communication between the product creator and representatives of the target market.
Now, if you´ve asked several people and it turns out that they are perfectly happy with their current software or they don´t want automation – just move on to another market!
I´d also recommend you offer them to use this software for free – so that they are more motivated to contribute in the product creations process.
Also, you may want to ask them if they´d be willing to provide a testimonial, which will help you sell the product.
We hope that you like this article, and if, feel free to share it; email it (to the folks that could benefit from it) and share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
To your success,