Note: This article is from one of our 12 Key Business Plan Filters For Success” free report we give to our clients. You can get it or any other one on our Free Whitepapers page.
There is one question you must answer clearly if you want to have business success.
Is there really a need in the marketplace for your product or service?
Or an even better question:
What pain are you solving?
Business Success is Finding The Pain
Consider a couple of things that are important to health: Vitamins and Morphine.
Morphine: If you are in an extreme amount of pain, or hooked on it, you’ll want Morphine so badly you’ll pay almost anything for it. Morphine is solving a pain for its customers. Big time.
Vitamins: If you’re health conscious, you’ll take vitamins. But what if you skip a day or two? How badly will it affect you? Not much. Vitamins provide some important long-term benefits, but they don’t really solve an extreme pain.
Can you develop a product that resolves an extreme pain in your client’s life? Something deep and specific?
A Lesson from Peanuts
In “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, Charlie can’t figure out what’s wrong. He goes to see Lucy, his psychiatrist. She asks him a bunch of questions that reveal some pain, but not what is really deep. Until she asks him does he have “Pantophobia”. He responds, “That’s it!” so emphatically she tumbles at the force of Charlie’s realization!
(you can watch the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NJGRiV8jGM).
If you can do that, and articulate what that pain is so well that your client says, “That’s it!”, your marketing efforts will be simple. And THAT’S business success!
Now a related question that is also important: How do you know it is a need or pain?
This is where there must be some market research.
The market research needs to be in two different categories:
- Internal research
- External research
Internal research is done through books, web research, using sources like Gartner research, etc.
External research is getting feedback from customers. Specifically, if you already had what you’re proposing, would people buy it? Or would they donate to your cause if you are thinking non-profit?
Now with this last part, you must be careful how you ask potential customers.
Asking if someone would buy it
I recently did a very cool iPhone app called “Great Husband Now” which helps guys to become better husbands. I was showing the app to one of my neighbors the other day and he said “That’s really cool”. But I followed up with, “OK, it is ready now. It costs $1.99. Will you buy it?” Then the hesitation came in – he had to see if it was worth giving up half of a Starbucks coffee, or half of a gallon of gas.
You only have a business success when people are willing to part with their hard-earned money. If they are willing to do that, you know you’ve identified a need and have communicated to the potential customer the transformation that your product/service can provide. Of course, it can be a communication problem in that you haven’t framed the pain followed by the benefit properly. (I’m working on another white paper on that subject).
You can always test your ideas by driving traffic to it and seeing if people are willing to respond positively. One way, other than money, is to capture email addresses and figure on a certain percentage of them becoming customers. But it is better to ask those people who’ve given their email addresses to you if they would buy. You could also drive them to a “checkout” page where they hit a BUY button and you respond with you’re out of stock. That way you know for sure if someone would buy or not.
But if you do ask whether or not they’d buy, you must ask in a specific way. In your question, you must give them the choice to NOT purchase your product. For example, here is a bad and good question in this regard:
Bad: “Will you pay $19 or $29?” The only choice they have is purchase price. So you will get false indications of willingness to buy.
Good: “Will you pay $19 or just forego this opportunity?” Here they have a choice not to buy. Of course, they may be willing to pay $9 but I hope you’ve done your research and set the price at a reasonable price point (you can always do different tests for this).
Other related questions to the Need filter may have been answered in the Unique Selling/Value Proposition filter (another white paper of ours, you may want to get on our Free Whitepapers page), but if not, address them here:
- What exists out there in our area that we could do better?
- What improved value do I offer our potential clients over others?
- What assets do I bring to this community of clients?
- Do I save them time, money, energy, or drastically improve a key component of their life?
So do yourself a favor: Find the pain. And enjoy business success.