Search

If you want your business to keep growing, stop focusing on your product.


Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

When you spend time and energy on something you develop an emotional bond with it. Whether you like it or not, your mind assumes you like it and forms an emotional connection.

This is why people prefer certain brands and talk good about them all the time, even if the brand does something stupid, they take their sides.

This is the case when consumers are attached to your product.

What do you think happens when you’ve created a product?

You’re not just having an emotional connection with it, you’re in love with it like a mother is to a child. Even if the child is mischievous she takes her side. Even if the child is irritating her she tolerates it.

When you’ve created a product, your ego is associated with it. If someone ever says something bad about it, you’re hurt.

There is nothing wrong with loving your product. The problem is when you’re so attached to it that you won’t be flexible with it.

Your love for your product blinds your eyes so badly that it takes you down the path towards failure.

 

Staying too rigid about your product is an invitation to failure.

Kodak

When digital cameras were invented back in 1975, Sony and Canon adapted to the new era and drove into manufacturing and marketing these cameras.

Kodak didn’t.

Kodak was the leader in the market share for cameras, they had the new edge technology of digital cameras but they didn’t promote it. They thought if they promoted the digital camera their sales of films would decline. Hence they stuck themselves with the good old traditional cameras. And, by the time they realized they were late, they were too late.

Netflix

In 2000, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, Founders of Netflix flew to Dallas. Reed proposed a partnership with Blockbuster’s CEO, John Antioco.

He proposed, Netflix would run Blockbuster’s brand online and they would promote Netflix in their stores. They were laughed out of the room. As of now, Netflix is worth $30.48 Billion. And, Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010.

Antioco thought the niche for Netflix was very small, and they were pretty confident (and rigid) about their business. Like Kodak generated maximum profit through the sales of films, major revenue of Blockbuster came from the late fees on the rentals. Anyway, the point is both of these were confident about their products.

Yet, they failed.


Successful businesses understand the market

Ryan Holiday, in his book Growth Hacker Marketing, starts with the importance of product-market fit. He writes, the worst possible marketing decision you can make is to start with a product nobody wants.

The key to a successful product is understanding the problems and solving them. No brainer.

Airbnb

When Airbnb was started back in 2007, it was meant for founders to turn the living room of their apartment into a little bed and breakfast.

They put out air mattresses on their floor and offered free homemade breakfast to the guests. This is why they named it Airbedandbreakfast.

They later pivoted the idea towards the travelers who didn’t like crashing on hotels. This idea did a lot better. They went from a good idea to a freaking great idea, which is now valued at $100 Billion.

This is because they understood what the market needed and changed their product to that.

Slack

The founders of the instant messaging platform for the workplace, Slack, did not intend to create it.

In fact, they were working on a role-playing video game. They made slack as a quick tool for internal communications.

The team was wise to realize there were enough video games and nothing like slack. They pivoted towards slack. As of now, there are more than 10 million slack users.

Final Thoughts

Throwing away or drifting away from the original idea of your product is intimidating.

Stephen King has this idea about writing where he says, “Kill your darlings”. The same applies to products.

There are advances each day, new ideas are born and some old ideas have to die. It is your customers who decide if they want to use your product or not.

The secret of businesses who make it well is they focus on what the market needs, not on what their product does.

So, Please understand what your market needs as of now and be flexible with your product and upgrade it with what the market demands.