Anthony Corletti
Published on

The Sweet Spot


A little while ago, I wrote about what it means to build products that are unique and truly valuable, with inspiration from Guy Kawasaki.

Now, even if you are building a product that is unique and truly valuable; how do you take that to market? Who should you take it to?

We sometimes tend to think, well, since the product is so great, it should sell itself!

Yeah, right.

People will need to believe it before they see it.

Recognizing when you're talking to the right kinds of people and potential customers is necessary for identifying the best kinds of customers for you and your place in the market.

Let's consider the following grid:

The industry giants want tonnage. Undifferentiated, commodity-priced, regularly delivered, consistent work for hire. Yuck. Well, actually, I take that back. That might be what you want.

Know that they’re not going out of their way for products that are bespoke, artisanal or even "better". They simply want to meet spec at the best price. They can keep you very busy, and they might even pay on time. These players love to compete in on price. Where does that fit in unique-and-valuable grid? In the bottom right corner; price competition.

There are a few rare birds, large potential clients that want products that will give them something unique and hard to replicate. They know that what they want is scarce, and pay appropriately. There is not many of them out there, so if you find one, treasure them. This is a part of the top right corner of the grid.

By far the most common kind of customer is the waste of time customer. These small businesses want to be (or pretend to be) industrial giants, but simply want commodity pricing, in small volume and with lots of last-minute changes. Obviously, the smart person avoids these folks, no matter how well-meaning they are. This maps up to the bottom left and top left corners of the unique-and-valuable grid.

This leaves us with the sweet spot. The client who wants you, with all your uniqueness, pricing, and magic. The customer who pays a lot and gets way more than they paid for. After all people only pay for something if they value it more than the price. This is also a part of the top right corner of the grid.

So, some advice for catching the rare birds and finding the sweet spots?

Don't strive to be just some percentage point better. Jump to the next curve.

Don't just "fix" things, don't just be 2x bigger, 2x faster, 2x cheaper, blah blah blah.

Change the game, and if you don't think there's a next curve to jump to, that's your cue to make one.