In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much.

– Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

Sometimes we have so much confidence in the capabilities of our product or solution, its benefits, its immense value, and why it is the best thing since sliced bread, that we end up sounding like a greatest hits album without anything to differentiate us from the original masterpieces.

It could also be that we are so complex, or so involved, that we throw the entire kitchen sink at our audience, and they get lost and are unable to really distill our value and what it means for them.

So similar to approaching like a beginner, or playing the Yes, and game to accept new creative ideas, we may need to let go to grow.

This doesn’t mean starting a new solution, but rather see if we can focus our value by looking from the other end and defining what we are NOT.

Can we differentiate ourselves from others but listing all the things we DON’T provide, the audiences we do NOT cater to, the value our users should NOT expect from us, and in short…what our startup is NOT?

In the beginning, it’s easy to list all the things we don’t provide, yet as we dig some more, we end up with a slimmer value proposition that is much more refined. In this aspect, less is much more, as it provides us and our audience focus.

It could be that we would lose many eyeballs, or we shrink our audience size, but that focus helps us better approach our ideal users much better, with clearer messaging, and a much finer value proposition.