Twice a month I have a mastermind group with a several of other business owners.
In our most recent call I asked for some honest feedback about a product I’m working on. I ended up getting some very poignant thoughts from the group that helped me get clarity on where I should take the product.
It was one of those times where someone tells you something you already knew, but it finally sunk in. It was Pippin who gave me some great insight, I’ll paraphrase it for you here.
What makes your product different? What are you specifically doing that no one else in your market is doing well?
The reason Easy Digital Downloads was successful is because it focused on something that none of the products at the time did well, namely digital downloads. If I had released just another eCommerce plugin I think it would have failed.
Do something different. Duh, right?
A unique selling proposition, a competitive difference, a reason to buy your product instead of someone else’s. This is business 101, and something I’ve heard a hundred times. For some reason hearing it at that moment spoke to my specific situation.
I knew I needed to change my marketing and the product direction, and upon further discussion we nailed that competitive difference even further.
I learned 2 things from this exchange:
1) If you are bringing a product to market, what makes it different?
I know this is obvious, but take a good hard look at your unique difference.
You can look at your competitors and see what they are not doing well, or what flaws their product has. Capitalize on those flaws and make those your main selling point.
Easy Digital Downloads saw that no one else was doing digital products well, so they made that their main selling point.
Not all differences are marketable. If your product is easy to use that’s great, but you can’t sell that. Everyone says their product is easy to use. That will help you retain customers and create evangelists, but it won’t convince a cold prospect to purchase.
You need a difference that hooks someone in when you tell them about it. If I launched AppPresser as a mobile app builder, it would have been lost in the noise. Mobile Apps for WordPress engages my target audience by speaking directly to them.
2) Outside perspectives are incredibly valuable.
If you work remotely, or are a solo founder, you need an outside perspective on a regular basis.
A mastermind group is one way to do this, but not the only way. You can get a business coach, go to local meetups, or just ask a friend to lunch. This is more important than you realize.
I get a lot out of talking to people I don’t see daily. This has been a source of new ideas, and probably more importantly personal motivation for me. Even if it’s something you already knew, it’s amazing the difference it can make to hear it from someone else.
You can only get so far by yourself, reading articles and books. An outside perspective can be that little nudge you need to get out of a rut, or to get your business to the next level.