Having the best product doesn’t entitle you to success.

I’m not even putting it to the litmus test of whether or not it is ‘the best’.

This is what your business journey looks like (Pic Credit)

It hurts when you see businesses with inferior products as compared to yours raking in millions of dollars worth of funding, doesn’t it? It hurts more if you are struggling to keep the lights on in your tiny studio apartment, which is doubling as the office for your dream business. I have come across countless entrepreneurs and Quora questions that have been lamenting about this very issue. A startup founder I knew even waged a cyber war against a funded competitor, because the competitors had copied the pivotal product feature of his business. Nothing of substance came out of the cyber war, other than highlighting the immaturity of the entrepreneur in how he handled the whole scenario. Any chances of funding that he may have had evaporated that day.

First things first. “My product is better than everyone else’s” — is quite a subjective thing. Who are the people who have endorsed this claim? What was the question you asked them? How do you know their responses are genuine? Or is it just you and your mom who are quite proud of the product you have built, and/or the business you are building?

The claim of being the best, though made often, doesn’t have a leg to stand on most of the times. But even if it wouldn’t have been so, let us look at the other issues with this claim:

  1. You can’t help being a little bit biased about the product. If you are the ‘first’, then you launched a product to solve a particular pain-point you can see in the market. And you have launched a product that YOU think solves that pain point. For the sake of brevity, let us ignore a number of questions here. Questions like — Is this pain-point a real issue for a critical mass of users?

But let us ignore all of that and start with the title of this story. We would work with the assumption that you DO have the best product. It still doesn’t entitle you to success.

WHY NOT?

There is a lot more that goes into making a concept a business than just having a product. The cyber war incident I mentioned — the entrepreneur who picked up the fight had an app with 1,000+ installs; the competitor who had allegedly copied the feature had more than a million installs on playstore alone. The competitor had spent time, energy and money in building an engaged community, and now was adding a feature for its users. Whether that feature was copied or not is (1) not that much critical, (2) something we can’t say with certainty. (Because no one can be arrogant enough to think they are the only ones who came up with an idea. Even at the time of the electricity race going on between Tesla and Edison, they were far from being the only two people trying to achieve the unthinkable at the time.)

And marketing is not the only thing that matters. There are countless such factors, but let me talk about a couple more.

The team behind the business (not just the product)

There is a reason why investors value the founding team so much. They are the ones who are leading the business. They are the ones with the grand vision, and even if that vision is short-sighted and evolves with time, it would be their responsibility to shape that new vision and overcome the challenges that will come along the way into pivoting to the new business.

And then there is the fact that the founders won’t be able to build the business all by their lone selves. They would need a team of amazingly competent lieutenants and those lieutenants would in turn need a team of great foot soldiers to make sure the vision comes to fruition. All of them contribute into making a concept a reality, a business. But it all starts trickling down from the founding team.

How you handle your successes and failures

They are both important. You may hit the sweet spot with your users today, but if you get competent with that, your business won’t grow. So, more than obstacles and failures, successes would be challenging you into growing your business fast. Why? Because you want to leverage the current momentum to get some more headway.

And then there are the failures; and there would be plenty of those two. What happens when you face these adversities? Do you give up, retrace your steps and start back again from the last known comfort zone? Or, are you able to salvage part of the effort that went into the experiment that didn’t work? Both those approaches are right and acceptable; but the correct course of action varies a lot, and it would vary from case to case. Myntra did a lot of experiments with private labels before hitting the mother lode with Roadster, and you can attribute a lot of its successes to the CEO, Mukesh Bansal, in how he took the company from one checkpoint to the next.

We need to stop looking at products as the business they represent. Products are just a small part of it — a very crucial part, sure, but a part nonetheless. A lot more goes into making a business worthy of a success story than just having a good product. After all, you can always improve your product if you have a strong base of loyal engaged users with you, but if you don’t have the users, then no matter how amazing your product is, it would not be able to save your business.

Helping businesses grow 10x faster, and scale efficiently. Top Writer — Quora, Medium. Drop in a line if you’d like help with yours. mail@abyshake.com