I’d like some secret sauce on that…
If your product is going to sell, it needs to stand out amongst the competition. If your company is going to thrive, it needs to make a lot of sales. What is different, unique, and compelling about your product?
What is unique about my solution?
The answer to this question will be important to share with people you recruit into your company, as well as with investors and potential customers. The details on how to make it work, however, (the actual ingredients in your “secret sauce”) you should consider keeping as a trade secret or filing a patent (if possible). The value of patents will be discussed in the next chapter.
The importance of uniqueness can be most easily seen by looking at the market for sweetened carbonated water. No startup can enter that market if their product is simply flavored with cola or lemon-lime. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are too dominant to compete with directly. However, many startup soda companies do try, by creating a unique product. “Dry” soda. Juniper-berry soda. Homemade soda. Fair-trade soda.
Bird Watch—[Uniqueness]: The core technology is an extremely low-power radio, developed at the University of Washington’s Wireless Sensing Lab. This radio allows the Bird Watch tags to be tiny and lightweight, and to be powered for weeks using an equally tiny battery. As part of their “secret sauce,” the Bird Watch team has built upon this radio to create a “mesh network” to share data between tags, in addition to data uploaded to base stations. Plus, Bird Watch has added sensors to the tags, which allow a variety of data to be captured such as temperature and barometric pressure.
Concrete Battery—[Uniqueness]: In its current form, Concrete Battery has no “secret sauce.” As the product is brought to market, the “secret sauce” will encompass the specific methods and techniques used to produce low-tech, low-cost flywheels.
Close to Home—[Uniqueness]: The key difference for Close to Home is the simple, online marketplace. The marketplace will include a broad selection of emergency shelters and temporary homes at a wide selection of reasonable prices, all available within days or weeks of ordering, delivered directly to the site of your old home.
Ensibuuko—[Uniqueness]: As stated in Step 13, there are no other software-based solutions for SACCOs in Uganda today. The high-tech, cloud-based, mobile-integrated service is thus unique. The challenge for Ensibuuko is to keep innovating within that framework as new competition copies what they have launched today.
Once you have documented the unique aspects of your solution, go back to your competition and do the same for their solution. If they have been in the market for years, there are no doubt features in your competition’s product that are missing in your MVP. How important are these features to your customers? How long will it take you to catch up with any necessary features?
For Information on Patents
United States: http://uspto.gov