When starting something new it is useful to invent some boundaries. Inventing boundaries around tiny spaces to create testable markets give us a better chance to find out commercial truths. Boundaries create a commercial lab of sorts within which we can test, learn and validate. We need smaller boundaries than we originally imagine. I use these:
Geography: What’s the smallest possible geography we can serve? A single street, a single gym, a single office. We need to prove the problem is worth solving in a very defined area.
Time: When do we solve it? What hour of the day or week does it get solved. We can cover the remaining hours in the day, or days in the week later.
Customer: A group of people so small there isn’t a current descriptor for them. They should certainly be smaller than a demographic or interest based group. Here’s the group I started to serve with Sneaky Surf: Surfers in Victoria, who are in relationships, who are over the age of 30 who live more than 1 hour from the beach. Sounds weird, but I can serve their needs better and expand from there. This group should also include people you don’t know – real customers from the real world.
Product: What is the single product offer that brings the above three things together. A single solution. There are usually many available, but we must choose the most pressing and the easiest to solve to make the audiences life better.
If we follow this approach our startup has a better chance of getting out of the starting phase.
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