Highlights from "Zero to Sold"

By Arvid Kahl

Cover of the book Zero to Sold

Find your niche audience. Find and validate their critical problem. Invent and validate a solution to their problem. Build a product to implement that solution. Build a business that can repeatedly sell that product to your audience.

That way of thinking often leads founders to create products that are solutions looking for a problem.

Successful businesses are built by solving critical problems for an audience that will pay for a solution to their issues.

A niche business will market to its niche and no one else.

Seth Godin wrote a book called Tribes, in which he describes a tribe as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” That sure sounds like a niche audience!

If your product is shareable, spend time on creating a referral system early in the life of your business. If it’s not shareable, defer this kind of system until you have exhausted better, more effective marketing techniques.

Determining the size of our audience is a rather work-intensive task, but absolutely required before you decide to invest your time in starting a business in a market.

If there are not enough people, widen the niche by adding adjacent groups to your audience and see if you can adjust the problem (and your solution) to serve those people, too.

You also need to validate that this is an actual problem that people need to have addressed. Sometimes, we just want to complain, but we don’t want to change our ways.

You want to build a “need-to-have” instead of a “nice-to-have.” You want to develop a painkiller instead of a vitamin. You want to be their aspirin.

Find the critical problem where solving a problem takes a long time every time the problem occurs.

Find the critical problem where people are solution-aware and have already created their own simple systems to solve the problem.

They’ll be willing to pay: if the solution saves them time if the solution saves them money if the solution makes them money

Take your tech knowledge and try applying it to other fields. Think of the fact that most people are blind to developments outside their own industrial bubble.

People who work in a specific field without ever looking outside it will develop occupational blindness. They don’t find much opportunity to take an outside perspective, leaving significant detection gaps in the spectrum of problems they perceive.

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