The last question in”The First Seven Questions Any Product Plan Should Answer” is What Are You Replacing?
Every Product Has Competition
But after careful experimentation we learned that most entrepreneurs would instinctively cast themselves in the role of the early bird who gets the worm and say “Nothing. We are brand new!” So we re-phrased it this way:
Q7 How has the customer done without this product/service so far?
- Are you eliminating or reducing an existing cost stream?
- Have they tried to solve this problem on their own? Have they spent time or money on a partial solution?
- Are they currently spending cycle time or non-value add people time to work around it?
- Can you reduce errors, error rates, or iteration counts?
- Do you enable them to access new markets or opportunities currently unavailable to them?
- What are you specifically obsoleting or replacing?
It’s Called The Status Quo
There is always a status quo. The prospect has to stop spending time and money on some other activity or product to fit yours into the schedule and the budget. Always understand how they are solving the problem or meeting their need today before you tell them how good tomorrow will be.
Other names you often hear for competition
- best practice
- muddling through
Another risk is that you may be addressing a real need but one that is not as urgent or important as other challenges they are facing. That’s why it’s important to quantify the costs and risks and delays inherent in the status quo so that you can make informed commitments of the improvements or benefits that your product will deliver.