As an entrepreneur it is very easy to be enthralled by your product at the expense of everything else. But it is critical to remember that “evidence” is key to success and making proper traction. By evidence, I mean something that forms the basis of long-term sustainable advantage. This isn’t necessarily just revenues or users, although it may be. It is likely to be:
- Customers / users who state that they value your product over the long-term
- Customers value your product enough for you to make an acceptable profit margin
- Your product has a positive and long-term impact on revenues
- Your product has a positive impact on costs
- Your product has a positive and measurable impact on behaviour or health or the environment
Too many companies have good ideas, and sometimes good sales, but limited proof that the product has something more sustainable in play. This leaves them very vulnerable to a new product or service that has evidence that it does something better.
Healthtech is a great example of this. Without randomised controlled trials, it is very easy for the medical establishment to ignore what you are offering or argue that they shouldn’t have to pay for it.
The issue is that getting this sustainable evidence is often unaffordable for early stage companies. So it’s a good idea to make a plan to do this early in your product’s life. Take the pain early. In B2B situations, find a partner and co-develop your product, giving them free access or free learnings in return for a case study with a “proper” customer. In B2C scenarios, get some users and see if they will genuinely pay to use your product as opposed to just trial it for free.
Metrics are key but most businesses don’t institutionalise them. Don’t be one of them.