“Use case” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in startup-land.

All it really means is the potential situation in which a product or service would be used.

For example, the “use case” for toothpaste would be… cleaning peoples’ teeth. Pretty straightforward – just about everyone needs it.

But too many investors out there are quick to dismiss a product that doesn’t apply to them. They think, “if I wouldn’t buy this, why would anyone else?”

It’s a logical question, and I understand where they’re coming from.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are plenty of products out there with use cases that I don’t personally understand.

But that doesn’t make them bad investments. In fact, thinking only in terms of what you want can drastically restrict your portfolio’s potential.

Consider the fidget spinner – an extremely simple toy that made headlines around the world due to its explosive popularity.

The thing is little more than a ball bearing and a weighted hunk of plastic. I certainly don’t know many investors or executives who ever bought one for themselves.

But the fidget spinner, propelled by its trendiness with Gen X kids, became a multibillion-dollar cash cow nonetheless. That’s billion… with a “B.”

And that’s just my point: just because you don’t have a use case for a product or service doesn’t mean that nobody does.

My advice? Have an open mind, keep an eye on what’s trending, and put yourself in the shoes of every startup’s target customer base.

Until next time,

Neil Patel