avatarSanjay Priyadarshi

Summary

This article discusses the importance of focusing on audience problems rather than product ideas for programmers starting their businesses.

Abstract

The article starts by addressing the common trap of programmers endlessly waiting for the perfect product idea, which can lead to analysis paralysis. The author argues that successful entrepreneurs often give misleading advice about finding the perfect idea, which can result in programmers getting stuck in the analysis stage. The article then suggests that instead of focusing on product ideas, programmers should ask four key questions to identify their audience's problems and pain points. The questions are: What kind of problem does an audience need help with? What is the true pain point of the audience? What is the solution to the problem? What kind of product can be built to solve the problem? The author uses Salesforce as an example to illustrate how answering these questions can help programmers build successful products. The article ends with a ChatGPT prompt to help programmers apply this approach to their ideas.

Bullet points

  • Programmers often fall into the trap of waiting endlessly for the perfect product idea, leading to analysis paralysis.
  • Successful entrepreneurs often give misleading advice about finding the perfect idea, which can result in programmers getting stuck in the analysis stage.
  • Instead of focusing on product ideas, programmers should ask four key questions to identify their audience's problems and pain points.
  • The four questions are: What kind of problem does an audience need help with? What is the true pain point of the audience? What is the solution to the problem? What kind of product can be built to solve the problem?
  • The article uses Salesforce as an example to illustrate how answering these questions can help programmers build successful products.
  • The article ends with a ChatGPT prompt to help programmers apply this approach to their ideas.

I Wasted 100+ Hours Studying $1M Product Ideas, Earned $0.00 With My Product— Where to Focus Instead

Include a Powerful ChatGPT Prompt

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

Most programmer who want to start their business fall into this trap.

The trap of waiting endlessly to find the perfect product idea.

I’m no different. I have lost hundreds of hours in the research process. If you want to get started, you have to break this cycle of analysis paralysis.

Have you ever wasted countless hours in search of the perfect product idea?

Here you’ll discover how to break free from the analysis paralysis cycle by simply using four key questions.

1. Truth about product-obsessed mindset nobody tells

I have been listening to interviews of successful entrepreneurs for the last seven years.

After listening to their advice for the first year and a half, I had a strange belief.

I thought I knew all the secrets. I could now take the revenue of my product to the $1 million mark in just 6 months.

I am sure if you are reading this you also want your product to reach the million-dollar mark as quickly as possible. That’s why we developers spend so much time searching for the perfect product idea.

We spend hundreds of hours to find the perfect product idea to get started. We won’t start building a product until we find an idea that looks perfect to us.

But when you go on this path of building a product and launching it, you will realize that it was never about the idea.

The Nonsense advice most of us get

The most successful entrepreneurs used to give the same nonsense advice.

Wake up at 5 Am.

Go for a run.

Take breakfast. Find the perfect idea. Hire your first employee.

How to raise funds from a reputable VC. How to sell your company for $100 Million.

It is not their mistake. The problems they focus on differ from those of a programmer just starting their journey.

When I consumed this type of content, I felt like I could build a million-dollar business. I just needed to find the perfect product idea. Rest things are easy.

These interviews will make you believe it’s only about choosing the perfect idea.

The common approach programmers take

I have seen this repeatedly.

A programmer who is doing a job or who has left their job wants to build a $100k per month business.

They start to consume content related to entrepreneurship. They buy courses and books. Read blogs. By consuming this type of content, they believe they know everything about starting a business.

They have consumed so much that more content consumption starts to hurt them.

They now realize that they only need to act on what they have learned through books, blogs and interviews.

To put what they have learned into practice, they have to find the perfect idea.

Why finding the perfect product idea is a BS strategy

I have been in this position.

I tried to find a perfect product idea.

I wasted a lot of time in the analysis stage. I wasted time overthinking and researching potential product ideas.

I read about the different ideas and spent hours researching the perfect idea.

I have seen many entrepreneurs get stuck in this stage of analysis.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs will relate this to me.

When we have many product ideas available, we start to spend hundreds of hours conducting market research, analyzing our competitors’ offerings, and seeking validation of the idea from other places.

There are hundreds of challenges we have to face when building a business such as funding, marketing, or product development, and because of this analysis stage, we get stuck at the first step.

What happens when we remain stuck in the analysis stage?

Like any other programmer in the initial stage, I was also stuck in the analysis stage.

One day I will be thinking about starting a blogging platform and the other day I will looking at how to start an e-commerce business.

I got stuck in this phase due to the overabundance of information available on the internet. There is a lot of information available on the Internet on almost any topic.

Let’s forget about the entire Internet and just talk about a social network like YouTube. You will start watching videos related to blogging and you will soon be watching videos on how to make $100k in the next 3 months.

I wasted hundreds of hours in this stage.

Once you start consuming content, you start to fear making the wrong choice.

You start to worry about bad things that will happen to you once your ideas don’t work. You are worried about your wasted time, money and effort.

You know that pursuing a product idea means letting go of other ideas and opportunities.

I began to worry so much about finding the perfect idea that I started to have self-doubt. I thought I didn’t have what it takes to build a product that will appeal to a single user.

I started asking myself questions like why I even exist in this world.

Everybody is getting the perfect job and starting their business and here I am, unable to find the perfect product idea to even start building my product.

What should you do instead of starting with a product idea?

After being obsessed with the perfect product idea for over 3 months.

I built a product. It was an app that helped people buy items from their nearby local stores.

It failed. It got zero customers and as a result, made $0.

When programmers invest so much time and create a product that fails, it hurts. I have been there. I can feel the pain right now as I write this.

If, like me, you are a product-obsessed person, I will not suggest you start with a product-first approach.

Instead of jumping right into a product, you should first answer these four questions.

  • What kind of problem does an audience need help with?
  • What is the true pain point of the audience?
  • What is the solution to the problem?
  • What kind of product I can build to solve the problem?

Several times you will find that you don’t need to build a SaaS for a problem.

Some of the problems could easily be solved with an e-book, or by consulting people and only for certain situations is it necessary to create a SaaS.

I wish someone had passed me these four questions when I started. I created a product with an unvalidated need for people who would have never paid me money to solve the problem.

If you are thinking about searching for the perfect product idea, I can tell you it doesn’t exist. Instead, try to find an audience in a particular niche that has real pain points.

To solve these pain points, they should be willing to take out their money and give it to you.

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An example

When Marc Benioff started Salesforce in 1999.

In his book, he has not mentioned any of these questions. But I am sure he must have indirectly thought about these questions.

Marc had worked at Oracle with Tom Siebel.

Tom Siebel the founder of Siebel System, built a customer relationship management company and it went public.

Marc was familiar with a sales force automation product as he had built it for Oracle. He tried to build Salesforce as a CRM company.

Let’s analyze his idea.

What kind of problem does the audience need help with?

The audience, primarily consisting of different kinds of companies, faced challenges in managing their customer relationships properly.

All the traditional CRM systems were expensive and required significant IT infrastructure to implement and maintain.

Most companies were struggling with inefficient sales processes and fragmented customer data.

What was the true pain point of the audience?

The true pain point of the companies was the lack of a unified platform to manage customer interactions, sales processes, and marketing efforts efficiently.

Traditional CRM solutions were difficult to manage and required extensive training and customisation.

There was a need for a user-friendly, cloud-based CRM solution.

What was the solution to the problem?

The traditional CD-ROM software delivery was not easily manageable and for companies to update their software they have to do things manually.

The solution to their problem was to develop a CRM platform that could be managed simply over the Internet.

This CRM platform should help companies manage their sales team, and help perform marketing, customer service, and analytics in just a single environment.

What kind of product can be built to solve the problem?

The product that Salesforce built was a cloud-based CRM platform that revolutionised how businesses manage their customer relationship.

With the help of the cloud, Salesforce could help companies by building software that could be accessed anytime and anywhere simply with the help of an internet connection.

The product they created had features like contact management, lead management, workflow automation, and reporting.

Salesforce also introduced a subscription-based pricing model, making its CRM accessible to companies of all sizes.

ChatGPT prompt to do this for your idea

Many programmers start a company in the wrong way.

They first start with a product and then they look for customers who want to buy it.

With this approach, they fail because they solved a problem for which nobody was willing to pay for.

The right approach is to do the audience research, find their true pain points and then build a product to solve that problem.

To do this a programmer has to answer four questions before building the product.

What kind of problem does an audience need help with?

What is the true pain point of the audience?

What is the solution to the problem?

What kind of product I can build to solve the problem?

Let me give you an example to show you how it worked with Salesforce company when they got started. I am giving answers to all the questions.

What kind of problem does the audience need help with? The audience, primarily consisting of different kinds of companies, faced challenges in managing their customer relationships properly.

What was the true pain point of the audience? The true pain point of the companies was the lack of a unified platform to manage customer interactions, sales processes and marketing efforts efficiently.

What was the solution to the problem? The solution to their problem was to develop a CRM platform that could be managed just using the internet.

What kind of product can be built to solve the problem? The product Salesforce built was a cloud-based CRM platform that revolutionised how businesses manage their customer relationship.

Now you have to analyse the audience who has {FILL THIS} problem.

You have to use all the four questions to analyze the audience. You should go for multiple pain points

I wrote this prompt for you to clarify your thinking process.

You don’t have to rely solely on this prompt, but you can use it for brainstorming.

If you want, you can add more examples to the prompt for ChatGPT to give you a more accurate answer.

Let me show you an example of how I will use this prompt to analyze an audience. I won’t include the entire prompt, I’ll just change things in one place.

Now you have to analyse the audience who wants

1. To buy stuff online but doesn’t have the exact amount of money to buy items and the discount which is being offered by the platform is not sufficient. They know the price of the item could go down in future.

You have to use all the four questions to analyze the audience. You should go for multiple pain points

Here is ChatGPT’s answer.

A screenshot from ChatGPT

I wanted to include the text version of the ChatGPT’s answer.

But I don’t want to make this post longer. That’s why I am not including it here in the text format.

Small experiments

You can also do a lot of small experiments.

The more specific you get with the audience in the prompt, the more helpful ChatGPT will be for you.

If you are only providing basic information, such as people who want to buy things online, this prompt will provide broad answers. But you can use those broad answers to narrow down follow-up questions.

You can get started with a broad topic and go in-depth into a particular niche if you want.

Summary

If you are thinking about building a business as a programmer. First, you should try to find an audience that has real problems.

Simply starting with a product idea is not the right choice.

Further reading on my newsletter:

  1. I Spent 17 Days Studying Two Programmers Who Built a $1 Billion Company — Here’re Their Rules To Build a Startup
  2. Meet a Programmer Who Rejected a $10,000,000,000 Acquisition Offer From Microsoft
  3. I Spent 30 Days Studying a Programmer Who Built a $230Bn Company Quitting 9–5 Job — Here’s My Learning on How To Start a $1 M SaaS

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