I was reading Running Lean by Ash Maurya while sitting in a coffee shop in SoHo in NYC when I realised that I that I was falling into a trap that catches out a lot of startups and I was starting down a path that was increasing my chances of failure.
Mauraya recommends identifying the greatest risks in the business and reducing the riskiest first. The book forced me to look at the business idea from a difference angle. The biggest risk in the majority of startups lies in developing an offering that nobody wants and this is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of startups.
I instantaneously recognised that I have been focusing too much attention on the solution and not enough time on the problem I am looking to solve. This is a sure-fire way to develop an offering that nobody wants.
I can attest from personal experience that this is a very easy trap to fall into. It is far too easy to get carried away once you realise that you can build a solution to a problem that you have identified, especially when a few people have validated the idea. This is not enough. With enough time, money and effort most things can be built. The question is no longer can it be built but rather should we build it, and can we build a sustainable business around the offering.
I can also see why many founders resist getting out and speaking to potential customers as that will inevitably result in many of the assumptions being challenged that will impact the solution and this isn’t always an easy thing to accept
While I was annoyed at myself for falling into a very obvious trap I am very glad that I recognised it early on as it allows me to take action.
Over the next week or two I will outline the business idea in more detail and the Customer Development process I plan on following and I welcome all your input, feedback and comments.