The Importance of “Yes, I Get It” for Start-Ups

When talking to entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to wade through the bullishness and excitement that goes with starting a new business. Every start-up is going to conquer the world, blow away the competition and then sell itself for millions of dollars.

But if you push aside the entrepreneurial enthusiasm, a startup’s success prospects depend on a compelling idea and, as important, the ability to quickly get potential users to say “Yes, I get it”. This means being crystal clear what the service or product does, and the value propositions/benefits being delivered.

Of course, it is easier said than done to make “I get it” happen because there are lots of different things that need to happen. The product/service needs to fill a need or convince users it meets a need they didn’t know they had. Getting users on board has to be user-friendly and efficient. And the product/service has to delight. (Here’s a post I did on how startup need to focus on delighting users.)

The problem facing many startup entrepreneurs is they create something that doesn’t solve a problem or a need, it isn’t compelling enough or there’s already lots of competition, and/or it’s more of a feature than a standalone product. Mark MacLeod did a really good blog recently on just because a startup is easy to create doesn’t mean it should be created.

Another important consideration for a startup looking to achieve “I get it” is making sure the product/service isn’t too complicated or dependent on a number of things that have to happen to make it work. I worked with a startup recently with an interesting service but there were too many moving parts that made it complex as opposed to simple and delightful.

After doing some in-market research, they realized the service’s prospects weren’t good so they pivoted with a service that was simple, compelling and, hopefully, delightful. The upside is the new approach leveraged much of the work development work that had already been done.

Perhaps the best example of “I get it” is Dropbox, which has a simple value proposition that solves a straightforward need or problem that lets you save and share files online. Of course, there is a lot of technology behind the scenes but Dropbox does a great job of making it service seem accessible and user-friendly. For more on Dropbox’s success, check out this feature story in Forbes magazine.

Another good read is KissMetric’s post on nine metrics to consider to make wise decisions about your startup.

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  • Stephane Guerin

    I’d add that there are a real “I get it” and a false one. The false one is the one your mother says when you expose her your idea. I think when potential customers behave like your mom (often not to look stupid), then it’s bad.

    I have to say I improved my skill to detect those false “I get it”. I then get back to my drawing board and improve the idea until I get a real one.

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