Think about the last time you were really sick. In those moments of agony, consider how much you appreciate pain-relieving medicine made to ease the torment. Most of us don’t hesitate to buy solutions that ease our pain.

Now, think about a time when everything was going your way. You may take vitamins to support a healthy lifestyle, but if you miss a day, who cares, right? Think about your medicine cabinet. For every vitamin you routinely take, how many others sit on the shelf collecting dust?

Vitamins are good, but pain relievers are great. This is an analogy we can bring into business. As you consider your product/service, are you providing something that solves the pain of a target customer, or is it a nice-to-have that may (or may not) provide clear value?

If you’re unsure, you probably have a vitamin. If people like the idea, but hesitate to buy, you probably have a vitamin. If you always find yourself explaining why someone needs what you have, you probably have a vitamin. How can such assumptions be made? Pain relievers are easy to spot. They sell as fast as the supply can keep up with demand.

Ready to mutate a vitamin into a pain reliever? Ongoing customer discovery is the best way to keep a pulse on your company and helps entrepreneurs build toward sipping from the holy grail: product-market fit. As you ease the true pain of your target customer, stories that sell (marketing) highlight how you do so. Forget the impressive jargon. Lean into the pain.

Extra Shot

Unrelated to this week’s reflection, I love local bookstores. I always spend more than I’ll ever make in sales of my own book on their shelf, but these places are just so cozy. It’d be hard to get rich, but the wealth of owning a bookstore must be endlessly rewarding.


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