Candy, Vitamins, or Painkillers for Startups

This is a picture i took for the Candy article.
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At a Flashpoint event several weeks ago one of the startups was giving their pitch. After the pitch was done there was two minutes for questions. Not quite understanding what they did I asked a simple question: is your product like candy, vitamins, or pain-killers for your market?

After a long pause with no response, I volunteered a quick definition of each:

  • Candy – a nice-to-have that people enjoy and can be wildly successful if it becomes a fad (like Beanie Babies)
  • Vitamins – used to help augment and improve things but sometimes harder to quantify
  • Pain-killers – critical problems that need to be alleviated

Startups need to think through this question early on and incorporate thoughts around it in their strategy and marketing.

What else? What do you think of the candy, vitamins, or pain-killers analogy for startups? Read Stephen Flemming’s post on painkillers from four years ago.

17 thoughts on “Candy, Vitamins, or Painkillers for Startups

  1. I haven’t been asked this question by an investor or potential investor before and I find it very interesting. I had the opportunity to pitch an idea to you and the other partners at Shotput awhile back and if I was asked then, I probably would have said that we were Flinstone’s Vitamins. Solving a problem but wrapping it in a fun, game-like solution. Since our recent pivot, I’d definitely say we’re a pure vitamin. Really interesting post that got me thinking.

  2. I think recently I always (by accident) made candy businesses and recently vitamins. Making painkillers is hard but always trying to evolve into one.

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