How to identify vitamins vs pain pills for customers
Ok so, you're a founder who's currently building a product and is looking to identify their product market fit. How exactly do you do that? I recently had serial entrepreneur Andrew Gazdecki on our podcast and he said something that really resonated with me on the topic of building products and businesses.
We were talking about how it's easy for founder's to get caught up chasing features to lure in potential customers, when really, Andrew says they should be focused on figuring out "what's a vitamin and what's a pain pill for your customers."
Listen to a snippet from the podcast:
This is such good advice. Advice I wish I had back in 2014 when I started working on and building KYA, my analytics company. Had someone like Andrew told me that back then, I would have done things differently. I'll admit, when building KYA, I chased features with the hope of attracting new customers. It didn't work.
Chasing features, in my experience, can lead to some new customers but you're still facing your main hurdle: not having product market fit. And no amount of features will save you from that – well, that is, unless one of them delivers the product market fit. But just how do you identify the real pain points for customer's versus just nice to have's (vitamins)?
Identifying customer pain points
Ultimately you need to talk to your customer's and potential customer's. It sounds easy, but it's not. Often times, customer's don't want to offend you when providing feedback, or they don't really know what they want, or they'll say a feature is cool but never actually use it. It can be extremely frustrating. This is what it looks like when you don't have product market fit.
The first thing you need to examine is the questions you're asking. Are they the right ones? If you've been stuck in place for a bit, they're likely not.
Find out what drives the customer's need.
Where are they struggling? What isn't working right?
How do they feel about existing products and/or services in the space? How do they feel about the product/service they're currently using?
How valuable would a product/service that solved those problems be to their business?
These are incredibly important questions you need to be asking every customer and potential customer you speak with. The more people you speak with, the better.
Anything you build that doesn't solve one of those questions is a vitamin. Stick to pain pills!
If you're looking for more insights, I'd highly recommend subscribing to our podcast where I host conversations with super smart people like Andrew Gazdecki every week.