An idea is always the first step. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a first-timer, an idea is what it takes to kickstart the process of product development. You can have the basic outline or perhaps you’ve given it quite a bit of thought and have a way more developed plan, but which factors should you consider when moving forward with it?
It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to know just how often founders skip this one. Everybody wants to be the next unicorn, but how will your company grow if you don’t keep your finances under control?
Building your product is clearly the first step - whether you’re following the traditional MVP route or prefer to take the plunge and kick things off with a full-fledged product. You must define a budget for this, but also taking into consideration other factors that will require an investment too. You can have a fantastic product that will change the world, but how will people know about it if you don’t have a marketing strategy in place? A strategy that will, clearly, require you to set aside funds to carry it out.
Start by setting a budget for all the expenses you’ve already identified: product development, maintenance, marketing, even salaries if you foresee immediate growth. Will you try to obtain funding from potential investors, or perhaps your own savings? Will this be a six-month plan? a yearly plan? Do you foresee the company becoming financially viable in the near future?
Once you have a financial plan in place, it’s time to start the process of building your product. Perhaps you’re a technical founder and you’ve got it all under control by yourself but, unless that’s your case, you will most likely require some expert help for that purpose, and with that comes the need to find a suitable engineering partner.
There are many companies out there that could help you, but before you even reach out to any of them, make sure you’ve defined the scope of your project. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What will the first version contain?
- What will you leave out for further iterations?
- What platform(s) will you start with?
- Do you have a monetization strategy in place?
- How will your product differ from others already available in the market?
This last question is probably the one that will make or break your product: what is the key difference between your idea and all the other similar ones already available? Why should users consider switching to your product? You’ll surely be on the right track once you’ve figured that one out.
You’ve got a product, and now you need to get it out there: this where your marketing efforts come in. This often plays a much bigger role than founders think as, again, you may have the ultimate idea that will change the world as we know it, but that won’t happen until it reaches people’s ears.
Make sure you define a marketing strategy as you build your product, or even before then if possible. Start by drawing the curiosity of the crowd: build a landing page to announce the launch of a new product that will change the game as we know it. Let people enter their email addresses to stay updated. Generate some excitement in social media. In a not very long period of time you should have a list of people eagerly awaiting to hear from you.
Once you’ve got their attention, it’s time to kick things off!
Launching your product is the first step in the process of validating an idea and/or business model. The feedback you’ll get from users will define the future of the company: will you continue down the same path, or will you pivot along the way?
Failure is something that you have probably experienced at some point in your life, and lessons can always be learnt from it. If your business doesn’t take off as expected, think of what you could have done differently and keep it in mind for the next time!
The world of entrepreneurship is tough, and startups are not exempt from hardships either. You’ve surely heard the discouraging statistics, but don’t let that put you off before you even start your journey!