by Yann Girard — Get free updates of new posts hereTweet
A blind person can’t read books. A deaf person can’t listen to music. Someone that’s sitting in a wheelchair can’t run a marathon. If you feel that all of these things are pretty obvious, you’re totally right.
Nevertheless, when I take a look at some of the ideas or startups that crossed my path during these last years, I had the feeling that people tend to forget some of the most obvious things. There’s no one to blame, because that happens to anyone. It also happened to me multiple times.
And there is this one thing that I see over and over again. It might even be a pattern. I don’t know…
Living in a world where revenues tend to decrease instead of increase (at least for most established players) and competition getting tougher and tougher, people will always look for ways and solutions to sustain their business and generate more revenues.
Actually, the only purpose of the entire startup thing is to fight the trend of decreasing revenues of established companies that struggle to sustain their revenue levels. Because they are usually the ones to buy startups to sustain their position.
But that’s a whole other story and not the point right here.
What I’m talking about are solutions that people build because they realized that everyone’s revenues are decreasing. So they offer cool new technologies or services that allow you to make even more money and outpace your competition.
But the thing is that there’s usually a not so obvious reason why people have decreasing revenues or why their sales decrease. And it’s usually not because they don’t have enough features, technology and so on.
The reason why their sales decrease is very often that they simply suck at it and they don’t know how to acquire customers and how to close deals.
So giving them just another tool, service or technology they don’t know how to handle that allows them to have a competitive advantage won’t usually do it.
They will still suck at sales even with the greatest technology out there. They will still be facing the same problems they had before. Technology didn't solve their problems.
It all just got way too complicated and everything seems to be moving too fast. While people are still trying to understand the last big thing, the next big thing is already knocking at their doors.
It’s like giving a struggling Indian farmer a highly complex software solution that allows him to optimize his processes to get more output with less input, but he still doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer.
It just simply will never ever work out.
So if you’re building a solution that enables people to have a competitive edge and allows them to generate more revenues or get more out of less ask yourself the following questions first:
- Why do their revenues really decrease? What is the real problem here?
- Will a new solution really improve their lack of skills and generate more revenues for them?
- Do I put my product in the hands of someone who might need some education before using and implementing it?
These are really crucial questions you need to ask yourself before you start selling your product.
Selling a product to someone that will be able to generate more revenues by using your service or technology isn’t that big of a deal (even though it’s still hard). After all you're telling them that they will make more money using your service. And who doesn't want to make more money?
The hardest thing is to actually keep these customers and to generate satisfying results.
Don't just throw your technology at people and then leave...
The moment your customers won’t be able to generate more sales with your solution, you’ll be the one to blame. It doesn’t matter whether or not your customer doesn't know how to properly promote, advertise or sell the new feaure to his customers.
If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the one to blame.
And if you’re the one to blame you’re going to lose all your customers in the long run.
So instead of simply pushing your solution out there, trying to optimize things with new features or technology and hoping that your customers will take care of the rest, try to understand them first.
Try to put yourself in their shoes and reflect about why they might really be suffering from that problem (e.g. decreasing revenues). In almost every case the problem has a much deeper cause, such as people just don’t know how to sell things (or how to use a computer).
If you want them to successfully use your product to generate more revenues, you need to identify the real problem first and then teach them how to get better at it (e.g. teach them how to better promote their competitive advantage).
Simply giving them your solution and believing that it will magically solve their problems and generate more revenues for them will never work. You need to educate them first to enable them to successfully use, promote and sell your technology or product to their customers.
That’s the only way to go. Everything else will just backfire at one point or the other.
Just like you would never give a blind person a book to read. You would teach him how to read the braille alphabet first, won’t you?