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?