Do you really believe in your product?
You wanted to get rich with this revolutionary new idea, but after a lot of effort discovered that nobody is interested (although everyone told you, they would buy it once its ready). Ok, that’s not so great. But it seems to happen again and again until you loose interest in your great ideas (or just get broke).
But maybe there is another way. Maybe we could learn from our past mistakes
The (costly) problem
It normally starts with you just thinking about a great idea that will make you (or your company) rich. Although you’re sure it’s going to be great (because you’re quite smart man/woman), there is this annoying little question that pops into your mind:
But would people buy it?
You want to be sure so you ask your friends, colleagues and family members and the response is mostly or always yes.
Great, now you know people will want it. Now lets spend some time working on it and in few months you’ll be rich.
The problem is that after using big effort and resources implementing the thing you’ll find that actually nobody wants your product.
There might be multiple reasons for that:
- they just wanted be nice to you (which very often translates into — don’t criticize his absurd idea)
- they actually thought they would pay for it, but once they had to part with their money it became hard and not worth it anymore
- they just wanted to see you fail
- you actually never asked (them or yourself) what’s wrong with this idea/product and why would you not want it
Also the problem might be on your side as well, as you actually wanted this idea/product to be great (which isn’t bad at all), but this forced you to not look and ask for its flaws.
The problem seems to come from the lack of critical honesty on both sides (your’s and the reviewer’s) as it was too cheap to be ignorant.
And although it was too cheap to ignore the missing appeal of the invented idea/product, it became quite expensive once (or your company) already used resources to get it going.
But can we fix it?
The lack of critical honesty is actually a motivational problem. Dishonesty at this stage is cheap and provides you (and the other side) the pleasure of not being negative - the opposite is the emotionally harder way. So you just decide to go with it.
This is what we should understand: its a motivational problem.
To fix this we must first motivate both sides to be critically honest
(or to make it more appealing constructive).
There seems to be two standard approaches to motivation: motivation by reward and motivation by punishment. Both have their advantages and both have their disadvantages (I’m sure you can find many materials about it).
But I was thinking about a different approach:
Carefully select a person that you think might be your target audience and give him these offer:
Offer him 50% of the products price and give him these 3 options:
a) he can return the money to you
b) he can add the remaining 50% of your price and buy your product (which means half price discount)
c) he can keep the money, but must tell you sufficient explanation why he is not interested and honestly answer your questions (related to the product)
If you currently have no real product or it’s just a prototype suggest some way how to safe-keep the money until certain time and if you won’t deliver what you promised by then they can keep it all.
This approach provides some benefits:
The people that will select option a) are the ones that like you but not the product, but otherwise would not be honest to you(luckily no harm was done).
If there are people in the group b) than congratulation, you’ve found your audience (or your mom).
And the people from the group c) are the ones that will actually provide you real critical inside. They are in this group because (they hate you — please get rid of them) you misjudged your audience or you missed some flaw in your reasoning about product’s appeal, use or design. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions to find as many insides about their decision as possible (don’t worry they are paid for it). Also if you’ll find some flaws which make it a no-no for them, try to suggest (of ask them for) a solution and then ask if they would reconsider their choice if you’ll fix it? Have a discussion.
As the reviewers can now gain or loose something there is much more involvement from their side into being critically honest.
But it can also improve your approach as well. As you can gain if you do it right, but also loose if you won’t be thoughtful/careful enough the pressure will make sure you’ll:
- more carefully evaluate who is your potential paying audience (not just somebody who thinks it is cool but actually will never pay for it)
- think if you’re actually able to sell/market it to people — if not, could somebody help you with it?
- evaluate if it’s worth asking a person who is not your target audience? will his “estimated” view be good enough to make up for the cost?
- think why would they not just keep the money instead of paying discounted price? is your product good enough? is there already something similar you’re not able to compete with? is it because you’re not able to gain their trust (via your future promises)? or is it because it actually isn’t that appealing? if you think that you found the reason then just ask “why?”
Also maybe don’t address multiple people at the same time but after each lose try to figure out what caused it and first find out what needs to change — the product? your audience? your marketing/explanation? In comparison to creating a product that nobody wants this way you’ll gain valuable lessons much sooner for a fracture of the money that you would lose in case of failure or help you to create a more appealing/successful product.