Product founders taking that first step of identifying a pain point and confirming there is a business opportunity by solving it is the most important part of the entire startup process. Too often product founders are excited to jump into the build out and neglect the stages needed to do product planning and business planning to ensure all of the effort and money about to be spent will result in an actual business opportunity and actually solves a real customer pain point.
If you are ready to do a product startup, as part of our product launch playbook here is a check list of activities you want to tackle to really go from product idea to product beta successfully so that you are ready for launch.
- Find your product idea. Product ideas are everywhere because pain points are experienced constantly all over. Listen to your friends complaints about their day. Your family complaints. Read the news. Look around your neighborhood. Read online forums or communities. The world is filled with problems that need to be solved. You just need to look and be receptive to it.
- Pick a problem your passionate about. As I mentioned, there are a ton of problems to be solved, pick one you actually care about solving to ensure you stick with your product startup through the tough times.
- Validate your solution before you start any development. You or someone you know experienced a pain point and you have an idea for a solution. Great, now confirm other people experience the same point. Even better confirm they would pay for the solution.
- Look at alternative solutions. Has someone already really nailed the solution to the pain point? Look at potential competitors that exist. How are you going to be different? Why would someone choose your solution over the existing options?
- Who are all the potential users of your product? A big part of identifying your business opportunity is knowing your market size. To do that, you need to define your user personas and the size of each to see the potential user base of your product is.
- What would someone pay for your solution? Ask potential users in the market segment what your solution would be worth to them. Look at what competitors charge. Build out a model that assumes you acquire users and they pay you an average revenue amount to project out 5 years your business revenue growth.
- What will it cost to build and maintain this product? Do you need to hire marketing, support, sales and development resources to make this happen? How much is that all going to cost to launch and build out your product? Build out an expense model to show your planned expense for your next 5 years.
- What does the business look like? Overlap your revenue model and your expense model, what does the story tell you about your opportunity? Is there a real business here if you execute on your product idea to turn it into a startup business that can get profitable at some point?
- Design your product iteratively. Create mockups of your product. Show those mockups to potential users. Build out the product based on the mockups and again show them to people in your market segment. Do this over and over to keep getting feedback about what you are building as you build it and roll the feedback into your process.
- Ask for beta testers early and often. As soon as you start on your product startup look for potential users, ask them to help you with beta when you get there. Keep in touch with them and once you are ready get them access to your product (ideally in person) and work their feedback into your product as quickly as possible.
As a product founder if you decide to make a run at a new startup, spend the time upfront to ensure there is a potential reward for all of your hard work. Don’t think if you build it, they will come as that really won’t happen and you will have lost a lot of time and money on the way.
Make sure before you go all in you spend the time with your product planning to ensure:
- There is a full understanding of the pain points your customers experience and that your solution solves them
- There is a real business opportunity for your product to be successful with user adoption and also that you have a path to profitability.
- Loop customer feedback in early and often into every step in the process. Customer in this stage is anyone who is a potential user, expert in the space you plan to support or advisor with knowledge of the space.
Check back to read up on our tips and guide on how to now take your product from beta to having a successful launch that helps set you up for success which will be covered in our next post!