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Business How to Start a Business Product Market Fit Testing Our Assumptions

Joel Buzzanco
Joel Buzzanco
Courses Plus Student 2,738 Points

What if customers don't know what they want/ know how your product can improve what they have?

What if customers don't know what they want or know how your product can improve what they have? It all sounds great to make sure everything is tested to be wanted by potential future customers. But what if the customers don't provide a right answer or something bc they just can't really grasp yet what is being offered.

For example, Henry Ford said something like "if I asked my customers what they wanted, they would've said a faster horse." But he went around and built the first affordable cars.

I guess it might be to provide a minimum viable product, your product that has the bare minimum requirements to be tested by customers.

But how would Henry Ford really have done that with a car. I would imagine that just about everyone with a forward thinking mind wanted a car back then, but couldn't afford one. So he could have built a car by hand or something, but it wouldn't be affordable then, and it would be just like all the other carmakers. It was Ford changing the business model for key activities to be the assembly line that drove the cost down and production up.

I guess what I am saying is, asking what customers want may not always work, bc they may not know what they want yet.

If anyone has any thoughts about this I'd be open to hear from you, as this is something I have been thinking about beforehand for when I will start my business.

2 Answers

Most businesses start on the principal of fulfilling a need. Henry Ford made a funny comment, but the reality of the situation is that people were looking for faster modes of transportation, think about when it used to take months to travel by ship somewhere, now we have planes that can cross the United States in 5 or 6 hours.

Customers don't always know what they want, mainly because there's so many options, that's pretty much the whole reason marketing exists. Great marketing is what sells us on a product we didn't even know we needed. It's why we buy orange juice, chips, clothes, it's why we go see movies, it's why we buy phones and computers and books and on and on.

Some funny advice I learned in business school was "If everyone thinks you have a good idea, you're too late".

And you're right, asking potential customers may not always work, which is why a lot of people argue that you shouldn't do focus groups, because you aren't going to get the information you are looking for all the time.

I Agree

You are right. Customers can not tells what they want. And asking customer what would they like is not a good idea, because you will receive a headache answers.

But, they can definitely can tell us what they don't like about their current state. Or you can discover it by observation (just observe people what they do, and make an assumption, what is wrong and how it could be better)