As is often the case with entrepreneurs, marketers, and business owners, we’re all too close to our products and services to know what we should do next to improve it.
That’s the trouble with solving someone else’s problem rather than your own problem, which something you can personally understand.
If you build a marketing app for restaurants, as I did, you’re only taking educated guesses at best as to whether or not the market really needs what your offering. Or, even if you know they need it, do you have a strong base for deciding what benefits you should add or subtract?
As the co-founder responsible for marketing strategy on BlueSkyLocal.com I was unable to truly understand what restaurants needed in our product. Though I had worked in a restaurant, I was unable to do anything other than take a customer’s feedback at face-value without truly understanding whether the value was there or not.
That’s why, with PetoVera, I decided we would go about the process differently. We would start with our own interests and needs and build a business foundation about that. Why? Because it’simpler and it’s easier (it’s also more fun to solve your own problems and get paid for it).
After all, the logic is sound that if you have a problem, chances are there others who also have that problem.
The problem I recognized was that in my own hobbies as well as for professional purposes, the creative process most of us go through is extremely ad hoc, fragmented, inefficient, non-transparent and above all, slow.
For instance, I can’t tell you how many hands I would need to count the number of personal projects (websites, apps, paintings, novels, etc.) I’ve had abandon or let die due to the creative process taking too long, or due a change in priorities or scope.
Why can’t we have those visions we hold in our heads made real but faster?
So the origin of PetoVera’s mission — to automate and accelerate creativity — has been a completely personal, as well as selfish one. Like lots of entrepreneurs, I have a ton ideas that I am constantly putting on the back burner. But someday soon, I want to be able to compromise on that less and have the power to create more.
That’s what we’re working towards.
Having this personal comprehension of the problem you’re solving leads to a stronger base for making decisions about how to improve your offering. Instead of having to survey and do lots of user tests (which you should do anyway), you have a litmus test to give a sample size of just one. Ask yourself: this is what I want, does adding or subtracting this help me get what I want faster?
Once you’ve decided and implemented the change, you can use your own product or service to verify whether it is infact a value-add or not.
How satisfying is that? You’ll be pleasing customers who have this problem as well as meeting your own need.
What’s your take on this? Have you had difficulties in developing products or services for a market that you can’t empathize with? And how about vise versa for those of you who are creating products or services to first solve your own problems?