Must-Have Product Required for Startup Success

After hearing hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, I still can’t tell if the idea is a must-have or nice-to-have (see 5 Questions to Determine a Must-Have Product). In fact, I’ll never know as I’m not a domain expert in all the different markets and the best insight comes directly from customers. What I have figured out is that not having a must-have product is one of the top reasons for startup failure. No matter how great the team, and no matter how great the product, if the market doesn’t care about it, the startup won’t be a success.

Investors love to invest in great teams knowing that it’s hard to find a must-have product and most initial ideas are nice-to-have. The belief is that great teams have a stronger chance of pivoting the idea to a product that is a must-have. Ideally, the great team has selected a great market, and the opportunity to find a must-have product is high.

Think about the last three entrepreneurs you know that have failed. Now, think about their products. Were any of the products must-haves? Were the customers passionate about it? Was the value it created abundantly clear? Is using the product 10x better than going without the product? Chances are that all three of the entrepreneurs that failed had nice-to-have products.

Startup success is predicated on a must-have product. Choose the market wisely, and ensure the product is needed.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that a must-have product is required for startup success and most startups have a nice-to-have product?

One thought on “Must-Have Product Required for Startup Success

  1. Very well said. I like the addage of the 3 P’s (Product , People, Process). I think of these as the 3 foundational “pillars” that are necessary to build a business. If the product is just a “nice to have” and not a “must have” it puts more pressure on the other pillars (people and process) in order to really be successful. Sometimes, however, if the product pillar isn’t strong enough (example – the product is a nice to have, yet is not fully developed to warrant a PO), then regardless of how strong the people or process are, the building will not be able to be supported by just 2 strong pillars .

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