Every Product Manager wants to build great products. But most products are, at best, average. And don’t drive the expected business results.
After talking to 60+ Product Managers, I realized that there is one, by far, the most common mistake.
No strategic focus.
Many companies try to compete with everyone everywhere. This is often caused by sales attempting to grasp every possible opportunity.
A never-ending stream of “one more feature needed by a key account.” And benchmarking against the competitors.
When you try to do everything, you are not the best at anything.
And the ROI scrubs the bottom.
Fortunately, you can fix that. Once in a while, go back to the basics and ask yourself:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What are their essential, underserved needs/jobs?
- How can you solve their problems way better than anyone else?
- What’s unique about it?
- Will customers say, “I’d be delighted to pay more. This is special”?
- How can you make your strategy difficult to copy?
- What assumptions make you think it might work?
- How can you test them with minimal effort?
I get it. Having a strategy is difficult. It requires tradeoffs. Defining what you do and, more importantly, what you don’t. Saying no to many opportunities.
But having the right strategic focus is essential to achieve long-term goals.
So instead of trying to grasp every possible opportunity, define your market, value proposition, and what makes your strategy unique.
Experiment to test your assumptions.
And align your product, sales, and marketing to work in harmony.
Many customers will be delighted. Others might be disappointed.
But that’s a good thing.
Because the best way to win is winning by being unique.
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