It is hard not to notice a startup boom effect. Unfortunately still, few of these initiatives are reaching the point where the investment brings real profits. What do we do to make our startup survivor and what is more important – make it a source of satisfaction and income? Planning and planning again.
Look before you leap
The idea is only a starting point. To bring it into life and make it to take real shape, we have to answer a few questions:
- What features and functions should my product have?
- What can I do within my budget – what can I afford?
- What are the individual steps to accomplish the assumptions?
The key is to find out what your potential customers are looking for. The simplest solution is to conduct a research among friends by asking and observing what applications they currently use, what they are not satisfied with, what they would like to have. It is good to keep track of internet forums where users describe problems with using a variety of products. An excellent way to obtain valuable tips is to use expert advice. Experienced professionals often share their knowledge during meetings organized by the business support centers. This will allow us at the beginning of the process to determine the functions of our product that allow it to response to customer demand and thus – stand out in the marketplace. What's more, participating in such meetings is a great opportunity to establish contacts that can bring us the future cooperation.
Time To Market
One of the most important features of IT startup products is their short term “freshness". Unlike other sectors, IT ideas, whose core value is innovation and the use of nonstandard solutions, become obsolete literally in the blink of an eye. Therefore, it is important that time to market of the product that is ready for sale (TTM) is as short as possible. Unfortunately, blindly following this rule can cost us a lot. Too early implemented project can miss a real customer requirements, and what’s more - the emphasis on implementation speed often entails significant costs. Is this a stalemate? No worries. The best solution is to prepare a test version of the product and confront the target audience. This way we avoid unnecessary costs, and more - we gain the feedback that is necessary for further development. The information collected as a result of the introduction of the prototype version can be used both to refine the test product and to determine the direction of development of the entire startup.
Collect and analyze
Collection and information processing is extremely important both in the test phase and when the product is already placed on the market. The more data we get, the better lessons we will be able to learn. Therefore, we analyze user traffic, gather information about their satisfaction and observations. An interesting idea is, for example, to offer attractive discounts in return for feedback or filling in a survey. Let's convince the users that sharing his opinion is in their interest (the product is not supposed to serve us but them).
Sales and sales again
Remember that the source of your income is the product for which people are willing to pay. As I mentioned, not only quality matters but also the time within we will offer our solution to the customers. Unlike the classic model of product launch, which involves a number of complex, long-term and costly activities (market research, documentation, logistics, manufacturing, customer service, marketing), startup should be based on MVP (minimum viable product). What does it mean? In brief: it is a term when our product is ready enough for people to buy it. The MVP, developed on (mentioned before) prototype testing and feedback data collection, should allow us to provide essential functionality that meets our clients’ needs. Using this method can shorten the process and reduce implementation costs and also get the necessary information from customers. Why is it so important? The sooner a startup starts earning money the better chance it will have to develop and to survive.
To sum up: the introduction of a product on the market should be preceded by an analysis of its features and profitability. However, it is important to remember that in this industry very clearly marks the motto "time is money". Yes, the product is supposed to be good, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Put on MVP, open up to the feedback, and let users take a part in the process of building your startup.