The startups of the world seems to be on a constant strive for world domination – this is in fact the startup mantra. You have to disrupt an entire industry and force a change in the status quo. Anything less is unacceptable.
We see examples of this all over the place. Airbnb is revolutionising travel accommodation, Uber is turning the taxi world on its head and Instagram has created a new photographic phase of food consumption. It’s difficult not to spot the game changers and aim your new business at similar lofty heights.
There’s a huge problem here and Rob Fitzpatrick sums it up nicely in his book The Mom Test:
In the early days Google helped PhD students find obscure bits of code. Paypal helped collectors buy and sell Pez dispensers and Beanie Babies efficiently. Evernote helped moms save and share recipes.
Having a plan is essential, and being a company who completely changes an industry is a healthy goal. The issue is trying to run before you can walk.
Every good entrepreneur can see a way that their product could satisfy many customers. After all, increased markets means more money. Adding extra users to your service means that you’ll be making the big bucks in no time.
The problem here is that when you’re starting out targeting a wide range of users will get you nowhere. While a product is being developed it needs focus to make it the best it can possibly be.
Good products take time – they come from great teams making the right decisions based on what they’ve learned about their customers.
If your customer base is too broad then you’ll learn nothing. One person will tell you one thing while the next will tell you something completely different. How do you use this information to get the first iteration out the door? You don’t.
This approach leads to a product that doesn’t meet anyone’s goals because it tried to solve too many problems.
Find a niche
The answer? Segment your audience and concentrate on one niche in your market. The expansion and scaling will come later. Right now you need to get one set of early adopters on board and work hard to solve their problems as best you can.
These people will give you money because you’re solving their unique problems and are making their lives that little bit easier. Once you’ve conquered this challenge it’s time to start thinking about adapting your offering for a different type of customer, or move onto related problems in the same niche.
World domination, of course!