Every business needs to understand its market before it builds its products. Startups must provide a solution that no one else is providing, to ease a pain point that is real and relevant. Ideally the solution is so meaningful that customers fall all over themselves to pay for it. In an April 2014 Inc.com article, digital product strategist Neil Cabage named this the number one criterion that every new startup must consider.

But how? This is where professional market research comes in to help you figure out if there is a real market need for your product or service. And while access to research information may not come cheap, there are other ways to get a pulse on your audience, such as conducting informal surveys and polls.

The alternative is failure. If a business doesn't have a market, or doesn't know who it will be marketing to, it will flounder trying to find an audience. If they find one in time, luck is on their side. If not, they will likely close their doors.

Answering the Need for an Efficient Collaboration Tool

Let's take the example of our own company.

When Wrike started out as a small side project of CEO Andrew Filev's, it had a built-in market already: itself. From a recent profile article on Forbes:

"We started as a collaboration and project-management vendor and then as we were working on managing our clients’ projects, we realized the need for something bigger. We needed a tool to help us collaborate better. So we created Wrike to solve our own problem,” says Filev.

The great thing was, the need for a more efficient collaboration platform wasn't just specific to Wrike and its initial customers. It was, and still is, a common enough problem among fast-moving companies, so much so that customers actually raise their hands to get onboard.

Again, from the Forbes article:

Most of Wrike’s customers come through word-of-mouth and online. They don’t have to cold-call businesses.  And while they have a tiered subscription model to fit any budget, most of Wrike’s customers come straight to their Professional or Enterprise Plans because they already have experienced the pain that comes with project management and are ready to try new tools to make them more effective and efficient.

If your startup identifies a market need, and can provide a solution that solves that problem, you're one step closer to success. The only thing missing is: get that product out ASAP!

Read the full Forbes article here: Andrew Filev's Wrike Wants to Bring Project Management and Collaboration to the Masses

Image credits: "Customer" by 10ch on Flickr.