The one secret you should absolutely know before launching your business

The cold and the snow were not the only things I was exposed to last week in Boston. I went to a Meetup called “The Reverse Startup“, where the founder, Michael Bourque, discussed a different way of creating and launching a product.

Although this seemed like a backwards way of doing things, the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s the right way of doing things. When I created, it was to relieve a pain that I had. It would have been great to know how much of that pain was shared by others; Better yet, what other pains were out there that I didn’t necessarily share.

In his book, “The wisdom of crowds“, author James Surowiecki talks about how much the collective intelligence and input of regular people, more often than not, far outweighs the input of a single, even intellectually superior person.

The meetup was very informative. We were presented with the Spark Tank (a version of ABC’s Shark Tank). One of the products that was up for investor consideration was the Re-Clock. This was a product that Michael had invented just days before the meetup. It had the basic clock functions up and running, but the majority of the claims were still in and investigative phase, which were to be completed if they had buy-in from the crowd or the investors.

This was the gist of the meetup, to get the startup to only spend time on a product or service if there was interest in it and in the specific features, and invest time in features that it might not have thought of yet, but the crowd and/or investors might want to see in the product or service.

So I’ve come up with an Anacronym (C-L-I-C-K) to help me remember

C-reate the idea and maybe a prototype
L-isten to what the crowd thinks and suggests as useful and useless
I-mplement what you get from the crowd that makes sense
C-omplete the product or service based on the suggestions
K-nock it out of the park

I was given this advice a long time a go by Steven Mednick. He said, “You have a solution and you are looking for a problem to make it fit. You will spend too much time and money chasing it.”

So an idea, while not worthless, is worth the napkin it’s written on, the rest has to be cultivated and developed to make it a product or a service that’s useful to the masses. So the one secret to launching a successful product or service is what you should have learned in Marketing 101 class:

“You are not the customer/client, so go find him/her and find out what they want and will pay for…”

That’s what will maximize the chances of success of your business, the rest will be hard work and perseverance.

(Diran Afarian is the founder and architect of, a site that gives companies, hiring managers and recruiters a way to replace the phone interview with a self administered video interview.)

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