That’s what I thought about a new startup I recently met with. They had an idea that was quite a unique offering than what was out on the market. The competition was basically established big brands who hadn’t innovated on their products for 20 years. The big brands only used traditional distribution channels at the likes of supermarkets and pharmacies.
They’re value proposition and target segments weren’t defined and they hadn’t gained any traction yet, but these were challenges that they could address easily and quickly. There are those ideas that sound crazy and will never take off … then there are those ideas that sound crazy and have a good chance. This was one of those startups in the latter category.
Unfortunately unless they adjust their radar to hone in our what their potential customers want, I think they will have a tough time gaining any traction. They’re running out of cash quickly and are hoping on the kindness of strangers to keep them afloat … i.e. thinking a Kickstarter campaign will come to the rescue and keep them going.
The bottom line is that if your startup has been around for 6-12 months, then you should have put some type or version of your product or service in front of enough customers to see if it is actually gaining traction. If 500+ customers have tested your product and no one wants to buy it or use it, even when it’s free, then you need to go back and adjust your idea to something people actually want. If people use your product and don’t come back as repeat customers then your product isn’t solving their problem.
Address these issues head on.
I get it … for startups and small businesses your ideas are like your babies. I know that it’s not nice to call anyone’s baby ugly but that doesn’t change the fact that people think some babies are ugly (not me of course). As for your idea, target market or business plan, it’s perfectly fine to call them ugly and move on. Unlike babies you aren’t morally and legally obligated to raise and support your idea for the next 18 years.
So a bit of advice to any startups or other businesses out there. When you hear something from a customer, friend or advisor don’t look at it as wrong just because you don’t agree. Ask yourself “how can I use this feedback to help my business be successful and what parts of it could be true.”
And lastly if someone who has seen a lot of businesses succeed and fail in your sector gives you sound advice on how to adjust and gain traction … don’t be too proud of your idea and TAKE IT!