Startup CEOs: Ask yourself what the customer really wants

A startup trying too hard to invent a genius new product could overlook practical paths to success. Writing for Fortune, Erin Griffith pinpointed an essential tenet of finding an audience: If a company tries too hard to "go its own way," there might be no one willing to follow.

Griffith refers to information from CB Insights, which recently found that among 101 failed startup companies, more than 40 percent didn't work out because there was a "lack of a market need for their product." According to her, there are too many trying to be novel instead of listening to what customers want and serving their needs. 

"If no one wants your product, your company isn't going to succeed," she writes. "But many startups build things people don't want with the irrational hope that they'll convince them otherwise." Later, she adds that "for every $19 billion company like Uber, the private transportation service, there are all manner of frivolous products that never evolve past the phase."

What's the better response? The right CEO needs to balance a passion for the company's mission with a clear, practical view for how to capture the public's attention and give them something it really wants.

Not focusing on the customer enough or offering features it doesn't want is more often than not a bad idea, even if the product is innovative. One of the companies CB Insights looked at, Calexda, reportedly failed because it put its energy into tech that customers weren't ready for.

Up-and-coming businesses need leadership that will steer them toward recognition and viability. By using a management recruitment firm, these businesses will select the CEO with the right combination of vision and practicality.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

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