The Hierarchy of Needs for new Product Ideas

Anytime you see a founder (or a product) who's really killing it remember: there are tons of layers (under the surface) that contributed to their success. Here are the factors that lead to a SaaS gaining traction in a given market. 

The foundation: evidence of demand

The product you build should be a response to genuine demand. It's even better when you notice demand is growing, or is currently unmet.

There should be evidence that people want what you're building.

Evidence looks like:

  • Folks currently buying something similar
  • Folks spending time + energy to create their own solution (Excel, etc)

The founder has unfair advantages in the category

As a founder, you'll need some "unfair advantages" in your market. Most success is about stacking your skills, network, passion together:

  • If you're incredible at SEO, do it.
  • If you have a personal brand, use it.
  • If you have rich parents, ask them for $.
  • If you're good on the phone, make some calls.
  • If you're healthy, use your energy to make stuff.

If you've been building a reputation and connections in a category, you have a competitive advantage.

The founder has ideas, a brand, or a implementation that resonates

As a new founder, you can have all the conditions for success, but ultimately your vision for the product has to resonate with the market. 

 Your product/brand needs to have attributes that make it attractive to customers in that category (and provide enough reason to switch).

The resources and skills to execute on your vision

To give your product a chance at success, you are going to need enough resources to:

  • built it
  • launch it
  • promote it 

If your financial runway is 3 months, and someone else is launching a similar product but has 3 years of cash in the bank, they have an advantage.

If you're a solo-founder, and you're going against another solo-founder who's equally skilled at building product, but better at marketing, they'll have an advantage.

This is why "stacking your advantages" in a category is important. (Especially in a crowded market).

The final test: does your product resonate with the market?

The success of your product will be the culmination of all these factors:

  • How strong was the "pull" from the market?
  • What advantages did you have going in?
  • Was your hypothesis? Did you execute on it? Were you right?
  • Did you have the resources to build + promote it?

I hope this helps you on your journey!

Justin Jackson

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Published on May 27th, 2021
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