Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Why start-ups should be market-driven and not technology-driven

By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2015

In his recent blog post, start-up investor and consultant Martin Zwilling urges entrepreneurs to promote their product not as an advanced technology but as a tangible solution to a customer problem.

“Technologies are perceived by most customers as causing more pain than the problems they eliminate,” Zwilling writes. “I chastise these start-ups to highlight the solution created by the technology, rather than highlighting the technology.”

Here are a few simple steps toward selling a solution, not a high-tech obstacle.

  1. Get real customer input. Are there real customers who find your product enticing? The key is starting from market needs and going from there to match your technology to those needs — not the other way around.
  2. Quantify the pain points. It’s crucial to identify whether or not the problem your product aims to solve is a real, painful problem among your customers. As Zwilling puts it, “Users with no pain who say ‘nice to have’ will not likely pay money or endure change for your product.
  3. Keep it simple and easy to use. Your product should solve your customers’ problems in the simplest possible way with the fewest possible features. Don’t throw in features just because your technology can deliver them.

The key point is to start from the market drivers and build a technology from there, rather than building a technology you think is great and then trying to find a market for it. That’s the difference between a market-driven company and a technology-driven one. You should always strive to be the former.

“Start by quantifying a customer problem and show how you are using technology innovatively to solve this problem,” Zwilling concludes. “Every investor and customer will want a piece of that action.”

Source: Startup Professionals Musings

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