Let me tell you a story. Kaycee had what she thought was the best idea for an app. This idea was going to disrupt the legal profession or so she thought. Let’s call this idea, Uber for Lawyers. The pathway to success was clear; Build the app, connect people and lawyers, make revenue, get funding and then exit in 5 years. (sure way to the soft life as stated in the book of life). Kaycee got her developer friend, Dotun onboard, promised him 40% equity, promised Chika, the designer 10% equity and viola, product development started. After 6 months of back and forth, the product was launched. 2 months after, no lawyer had been ‘ubered‘ on the app. She has been dorimed. Where did she go wrong?
Let’s rewind back a bit….
9 months before product launch, Kaycee was in attendance at a legaltech conference and during one of the sessions, lawyers talked about their challenges, a number of them complained about the difficulty in getting clients. Some of her tech friends also shared with her their difficulty in getting lawyers with certain kinds of transactional experience. Then, Kaycee thought to herself, I can build an app to get clients to Lawyers and vice versa. (talk about aspire to perspire to expire…)
But she forgot something….
Kaycee forgot to talk to the users (Now imagine if Henry Ford had built a faster horse instead of a car…. not so relevant here but you get the point still). She assumed that an app where lawyers could meet clients would solve the problem. 9 months later with a lot of design iterations and time wasting development; the problem was still not solved or maybe it was solved the wrong way or at the wrong time.
Who knows? Well, Kaycee could have known if only she decided to speak to her users and not go ahead to build the product based on her invalidated assumptions.
Dear LegalTech Founder, Here is why you should speak to your users;
Firstly, Your users are the ones with the problem. I know you have heard a couple of founders say that they built a product to solve a problem that they had personally experienced, that is good. However, you should know that they spoke to a lot of more that had the same problem to get a better perspective on how to solve it. Unless you want to build a product that only you will sell, buy and use, you need to understand how your customers actually perceive the problem. You need to know if its a pain point to them or just a by-the-way feeling of inconvenience.
Secondly, It gives you an idea of how your users think they want the problem to be solved. of course, this is not entirely a way of saying you cannot be innovative in building a solution, however, their responses to the solution they think they want will help give your proposed solution a better shape. So, that your users are not asking for A and you are building Z.
Thirdly, More often than not, users don’t just buy the what, they buy the WHY. Talking to your users will help you identify the exact problem you are trying to solve. You will also begin to understand how you can market your product, the value it brings to your users, the benefits of the solution. Like i said, its not the what, is the why.
Fourthly, You want to know if your users are actually doing anything to solve that problem. I know you think your idea is the next best thing to agege bread, but nah, someone else has built the factory. Knowing how your users are solving the problem gives you a perspective on your prospective competitors and how they are solving the problem, just so you don’t reinvent the wheel or maybe you do but in a more innovative way.
Finally, Talk to your users because they are the ones with the problem and will be the one to pay for it when you launch (except if its a pro-bono product and even at that, you still need a means of sustainability). Talking with users and getting their feedback on anything from your random ideas to solving an actual problem before building products will help you build better products / the right product.