Over the past few weeks, my accelerator, Founder Institute, has pushed me not to commit to a final business idea too soon. Despite thinking I knew what I wanted to build, I was required to think of at least 2 variations to that idea—whether it was addressing a slightly different problem, addressing the problem in a slightly different way, or addressing the same problem for a slightly different customer.
One of our mentors—who spent 5 years at a prestigious VC firm and has personally invested in 150+ startups—said something I thought was really interesting: in his experience, one of the main reasons startups fail is not thinking about and planning for, these kinds of variations.
And guess what: I'm not moving forward with my original idea. I'm moving forward with one of the variations I tested.
I thought I was building this solutions with lawyers as my customers—until I tested a variation where I built the solution for legal tech companies. And I never would've realized how important that difference was if I hadn't thought about slightly different approaches.
The same mentor I referenced above said something a few weeks ago that stuck with me like glue: it doesn't matter if your business solves a problem people care about if they don't care enough. If your customers aren't screaming about the problem you're trying to solve, it's not a big enough problem.
Don't get me wrong, the lawyers I spoke with all resonated with the issues they face with tech adoption, and most of them really loved the idea of something that made using new technology easier. But they weren't screaming about it—and the legal tech companies were.
So, gone are the days of my multi-solution website. I'm making my chosen customer-base official.