At one point or another, we’ve all had that moment when we’ve thought, “Wow, that would be a great product! I should figure out how to make that.”
For most of us, that’s as far as it goes. But a few of us crazy people actually try to build the thing.
Launching a startup isn’t an easy path, but it can lead to success. We’ve seen (and helped) it happen many times.
To help you over some of the obstacles you might encounter, here are 10 product development tips you can use to help launch your startup successfully.
1. Use a Sounding Board
An idea may seem perfect to you, but we’re often blind to the flaws in our own logic. Before starting down the product development path, run your idea by a few trusted friends.
If it’s not a product they would invest in, take a step back and determine why. You may need to make slight (or not-so-slight) adjustments to your idea before you invest more time and money into it.
2. Avoid the Startup Pitfalls
Between 80-90% of startups fail, depending on which statistics and reports you look at. And 20% fail within their first year.
Knowing why they fail is crucial to note while developing your startup plan.
Networking with other professionals in the field can help you identify and avoid startup pitfalls. Feedback obtained from those who’ve walked the path will help you identify the flaws in your product plan and help fix them.
3. Find a Mentor
A mentor is a person who can help you find the way forward when your startup path gets obscured.
As you refine your product idea according to the feedback you receive, you may get overwhelmed. Find a mentor you can rely on for knowledgeable advice, and they’ll keep you on track.
The right mentor will have experience in your business sector and a willingness to guide you.
When you find one, keep the lines of communication open with them as you proceed with product development. They’ve been in the business a long time and know many of the twists and turns you’ll encounter. Keeping them in the loop during every phase of your startup product development can help you avoid critical missteps.
4. Build an MVP
Building a minimum viable product (MVP) is one of the best ways to test the demand for your product idea.
An MVP is a product with enough features to attract early adopters. They, in turn, provide feedback on your product toward the beginning of the product development cycle, when it’s easier and less expensive to make course changes.
Your MVP will give you evidence to either support or show the flaws in your assumptions about the product. Correcting errors at this stage will cost you far less than discovering them after the product launches. You’ll save funding and effort not only on development, but also on marketing and promotion.
5. Delegate the Work
The media likes to put faces to startups and make it seem like one or two people did all the work. It makes for a good story.
But in truth, a whole team of people built, tested, refined, and supported every successful product launch.
Trying to do everything by yourself is a recipe for stress and burnout, and the mistakes they lead to. Not only that, but it will also take you longer to get the product to market.
Hiring a skilled, experienced product team helps alleviate these challenges and exposes you to alternate methods and points of view that may improve your product development process. The work goes faster, with fewer errors and delays. And while they build the product, you can focus on building the business.
6. Analyze the Market
Market analysis involves researching and analyzing market share, size, and demand. But it’s more than just monitoring consumer trends and expectations.
A critical piece of market analysis is knowing your competitors and predecessors. What customer pain points are they failing to meet? What criticism do they get for features and functionality? These can point you toward opportunities for product improvement or new features.
Look at how the competition launched their product, as well. It might help you improve your launch strategy. What backlash did they get, if any? What threats did they encounter, and how did they deal with them?
This kind of data can give you a leg up on potential threats you might encounter when you take your product to market, so you’re ready to meet them head-on.
7. Secure Your Data
It almost goes without saying that you need to incorporate strong data security measures into your software product.
Data breaches continue to climb, and criminals aren’t slowing down. They’ve attacked companies of all sizes and cost businesses millions in damages.
Even during startup product development, you should use strong data protection measures. A data breach or virus hitting your team could wipe out months of progress.
Don’t skimp on data security. ‘Nuff said.
8. Keep Your Eye on the Ball
As Ferris Bueller said, life comes at you fast; blink, and you might miss it. This is true for startup product development in two ways.
One, never stop analyzing market trends, customer needs, and what your competitors are doing. Trends rise and fall rapidly, needs and desires change, and competitors introduce new features and products. Make sure your product isn’t already outdated by the time you get to market.
Two, keep up with technology trends. They change just as fast and may give you a better way of realizing your product vision. For example, AI is currently exploding right now. Are your competitors incorporating it into their products? Will your customers expect it to be in your product? Again, you don’t want your product to seem outdated when you launch it.
9. Listen to Your Customers
As mentioned above, your MVP is an opportunity to gather customer feedback. Some of it will be positive, but some of it is guaranteed to be negative.
While praise is nice, unhappy customers give you the most valuable feedback. They’re telling you what to improve and what features and functionality they want in your product.
If you hear the same complaints again and again, pay attention. Don’t get mad or disheartened; use their feedback to improve your product. Analyze their complaints. At first glance, it may seem like they want different things, but if you dig deeper, you might find their issues all have a common root cause or need.
Solve that problem, and you can turn the haters into fans.
10. Accentuate the Positive
Even with all of the above—a wise mentor, a talented team, great feedback, and so on—startup product development can be stressful. Even the most stalwart entrepreneurs can get ground down.
It may seem easier said than done, but focus on the positive things in your business and your life. Make a list. Don’t let a few (or several) small (or large) bumps in the road knock you off course.
Don’t neglect your health, both physical and mental. Get regular sleep, hit the gym, spend time in nature, and talk to a therapist if you feel overwhelmed. Express gratitude more; science shows it’s good for you.
There are many tricks and tips to help you find the sunny side of the street. Find a few that work for you and make them a part of your daily routine.
Finally, remember that we work to live; we don’t live to work. Startup product development shouldn’t be a 24/7 job. We talk a lot about finding a healthy work-life balance, but it can be hard to clock out when you have a blue metric ton of tasks you need to get done.
Clock out anyway.
You’ll be much more productive tomorrow if you give yourself time to relax, breathe, and enjoy friends and family.
Bonus Tip: Call in Reinforcements
If you don’t have the time, team, or talent to build your product with the quality your customers demand, consider outsourcing some or all of the work.
Taazaa has high-performing remote teams for every kind of startup software development project. We’ve helped startups achieve success across a wide range of industries.
When you outsource software development to us, you get custom-built, reliable software that will wow your customers. Contact Taazaa today!