It's easy to get lost in the details, finances or prospects of an online project and overlook the time-tested trick to building a successful business: creating value for the end user. This post is to serve as a reminder (for myself more than anyone else) on this simple and obvious concept.

Does Your Product Create Value?

Value is the draw behind your product, the reason it will sell or attract users. It can help to periodically reflect on these questions:

  • Does your product address a specific need, be it yours or someone else's?
  • Does your product satisfy the end user?
  • Is your product something worth the time, money and/or attention of the end user?
  • Is your product something you can be proud of?

The last question on that list is a bit more personal than logical, but I think a positive answer can help create the psychological devotion to your project that you need to get through more challenging times. The logic in creating value should apply to projects big and small, from something you do for yourself to building a scalable business that benefits others.

The key reminder to take away, at least for me, is to focus on that specific need and build a product centered around it. It's easy to get lost in adding unnecessary features or attempting to do too much - find out what creates value for your users and home in on that. You can only create value for the user if they actually end up finding and using your solution, so follow-through is equally important.

Making An Impact

By providing a product or service to your end users, you are having an impact on their lives in one way or another. Making sure that the impact you have is both positive and significant can also go a long way in creating value. The greater the positive impact on the user, the more likely their lifetime value increases.

Value Creates Organic Growth

We humans are social animals, so sharing things we value is in our nature. If your product can have that significant, positive impact on your end user, they are much more likely to not only share it with friends, but convert them into paying customers.

Final Thoughts

These concepts are dead simple and fairly obvious but they can go a lot further than a business plan or an MBA if put to use. It's essentially the same mantra followed by Y-Combinator and one that many others have preached and practiced: Make something people want.