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From Impossible To Inevitable by Jason Lemkin, Aaron Ross

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Chapter 2Signs of Slogging

If growing is harder than slogging through mud, it's probably because of one these reasons.

Are You a Nice-to-Have?

Do you believe your intended buyers need what you're offering? Or are you a nice-to-have? One clear sign that you're a nice-to-have: Everyone you show your product to say “cool!” but no one buys.

Consumers don't buy what they need; they buy what they want. How much do consumers spend on Porsches and ice cream compared to broccoli and psychotherapy?

But businesses don't buy “nice-to-haves.” For example:

  • Marketers want a beautiful website—but they need a website that converts visitors to outcomes such as leads or purchases.
  • CEOs want “happy employees”—but they need people to show up and do their jobs, for products to be released on time, or for cash flow to be improved.
  • A VP of Sales wants “increased sales productivity”—but they need and buy what contributes to it, such as leads, accurate reporting tools, and training.
  • Venture capitalists want to invest in honorable founders—but they need to generate above-average returns, which may or may not come from companies with honorable founders.

It takes a lot of energy to buy and use something new, so if you're a nice-to-have, it won't stick. Nice-to-haves fall to the bottom of the “must do” list.

If the buyer doesn't need your solution, they won't be motivated to go through all the work to convince their people, justify the purchase, roll it out, and get people to use it.

  • What problem is ...

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