At the end of the day, everything other than your product is noise. It might be important (and don’t get me wrong, many non-product things are VERY important), but it’s not the main focus. Your main focus is your product. Let me elaborate.
Distinguishing Noise from Product
Starting a new company, there are a LOT of things to do. You need to get a lawyer, incorporate and do share issuance, set up corporate structure, engage and accountant for yearend corporate tax returns and potential review requests/audits, you need to build an online presence, which means registering a URL, getting an email set up, you need to work on your brand, which means potentially ordering business cards (if you are B2B). developing a logo, and naming your product.
However, none of the above things will help you in the most important category: developing the actual product. At the end of the day, the above means nothing if you can’t back it up with a killer product.
So, what do I mean when I say ‘everything else’? I mean (in no particular order):
- marketing (where it is not directly attached to product, i.e. the branding)
All of the above are very important business practices, but they are not the important business practice (unless of course one of them is your product, i.e. you are a lawyer). You can be great at all the above and have a mediocre product, and you are destined to failure. You can have a great product, and be mediocre all the above, and you may do fine (assuming you don’t do anything illegal as a result).
When people engage with your company, your business or your brand, they are engaging with the product – and nothing else. People don’t use Facebook because of their stellar accounting methods or ingenious corporate structure – they engage with Facebook because they love the product. The same goes for anything. P&G doesn’t own category killers because of their complex supply chain (although that might help as it relates to making the product available), they own category killers because of their amazing products.
What does it mean to you?
Product should be your main focus. No matter if you’re running a business, a client, a sub-group or are an entry level employee. All that you will be rewarded for by the market is the actual product. The market doesn’t care about the meetings that were required to put the resources in place, the reading you had to do to understand the market, the insights you had along the way – all the market cares about (and all the market can consume) is the end product.
So when you are working today, ask yourself this: how much time am I putting into the ‘noise’ and how much time am I putting into developing the product? Are you happy with that ratio? Although we all work on different things, everyone has a product that they are trying to sell – and remember, the product is all anyone can buy.