To build a great product that satisfies users and generates money is a lot of work, nerves, and patience. As an entrepreneur, you may want to create something that is yours. Having the idea in mind, most likely you will go with the flow of excitement and start the process before you even think about the real business plan. It is the most common mistake that this article will help to explain. Below you will find 10 points that you need to be aware of while building a product.
Is there a need for what you came up with?
See what is the size of the market and current trends. Is there a need for something that your product has? Monitoring the market includes data collection, analysis, and planning. Carefully search through the statistics and information on the web looking for an area that has potential. You can put the gathered data in an excel sheet and fill it every three months to then make an analysis. After getting insight into the data you should be able to state which branch of the industry is expanding and which is at risk of decline.
Next, you should create a competitive analysis.
There are tools which can help you with that such as Hoovers. You can also search the internet and write down companies that can be a possible threat to your business. Another way would be to attend events connected to technology, for example, the technology fairs where a lot of brands present themselves and meet with investors. After creating the list categorize the companies into 3 groups:
- sells exactly the same or similar things to the same target
- sells products related to your company to a completely different target
- offers related products but can be a good partner in the future
Of course, you should know each competitor’s location, marketing strategy, mission statement, website, social media, customers, and their position on the market.
Lastly, there is a question, how to check if there is a need for a product? Here, you can create questionnaires and perform a field study asking people if they would use your product or not. Also, using Google Keywords Planner you can monitor the internet looking for phrases that people often type when they search for a solution to a particular problem. Another way is to try online forums where you can also ask other users about their needs.
Identify your target group
There has to be a certain group of people who will be interested in buying your product. To find them you need to make a demographic study and analyze customers’ shopping habits. To identify the target group is to take a sample of people and assigned them to certain parameters such as age, educational level, favorite brands, interests, daily situations they experience, social media and apps they use on a daily basis, etc. In order to achieve this level of understanding of your potential audience, you should devote some time to think about your users. This process can start from the problems which you resolve or needs which the potential user of your product has.
You can also analyse target groups of your competitors
If you feel that your product’s audience can be similar to any other app – try to make a characteristic of the ordinary user if that app. Based on this characteristic, you can make a simple test. Prepare a landing page with a registration panel for your product. Then set up ads that would generate entries on that page and direct users to sign in. You can check the effectiveness of your advertisements using Google Analytics. With that tool, you will be able to get a lot of data of the users who visited your landing page and registered. Then you can start to iterate your strategy to find out who would be interested in your product.
Making another version of the already existing idea is just pointless. If you want to copy something, do it better. Make sure your product stands out from the crowd. When you look at the technology used by your competitors, think what can be improved to provide customers with a better experience. In the end, remember that it is the audience, so the community around your product, patented technology or an algorithm, or all of it connected and put into a good software that is a value. Also, an ability to change a weak product into a good one while building a large community is a key to success. That’s exactly what Apple did when they came across a small startup called Siri.
Know your competition
If there is a technological field on which you want to establish your project, the competition is probably small. It is because everyone knows that there is no chance of fighting with giants like Facebook or Google. Knowing that the competitors are rather your size, consider the two most common situations. At the niche level, when we build our product the competition is just rising and expanding but it’s still small. When it comes to much more advanced products, like hardware products the competition may offer a solution based on the previous generation of the particular technology. That’s why a mid-size company with an innovative approach can become a business shark. Another thing you should remember is that there are certain ideas which just won’t work. For instance, projects like Tinder for dentists. You shouldn’t be afraid of such daredevils on the market and certainly, never try to create them.
Remember about the copyright
One thing of which you need to take care of is to reserve the name of your product. Make sure your online identity is secured and that includes the domain name and all the details in your marketing strategy. You don’t want to be involved in cases of plagiarism or any violation of the law during your first steps with the product. What is more important, is to research if the patent for the technology that you want to use is not in the possession of someone else. In such cases, you won’t be able to include it in your project. Remember that after all you can always change the name or make some modifications, but when it comes to license things aren’t that easy. Obtaining access to the patent can last and costs sometimes a lot of money. That’s why it’s good to be familiar with the technology that is currently studied at the universities. That knowledge might be helpful in the future providing you with the solution.
Here is where the fun begins. Creating your promotion plan you need to pay attention to the market trends to see which marketing channels are the cheapest. Even more important is to look for channels that are yet not discovered. When you find a platform on which you can inform users about your product and it is not the obvious choice, it will translate into the success.
Boutique as an inspiration
An example can be Google Products which serves as the AdWords campaign for local clothes shops. The strategy that isn’t well known across small local boutiques in mid-size towns. You can read about it here. Another thing, of which tech industry often forgets, is combining outdoor campaigns with the internet. In fact, connecting billboard campaigns with online marketing can generate great results. Research from 2017 showed that people who have seen an outdoor campaign are 17% more likely to follow up and engage with the brand on their smartphone. When people notice the product on both platforms it creates an impression of a solid project which helps them to remember the company and the message of the campaign.
In general, in the IT sector as well as in the technology world, marketing is a place where those unconventional and non-technological solutions are most effective. It is because there is a small group of people that pay attention to such ideas. On the other hand, in non-technological sectors, it is the technology and IT innovations that raise the company because it is something that they didn’t have access to.
Ask for the reviews
Another step is to gain as much feedback as possible. Create a beta version of your product and make it available to users. Giving them a pre-release version you can get a lot of suggestions and opinions on what to improve. Apart from that, take a look at the registration panel, login process and subscribing to the newsletter. Those are the small details which don’t require a lot of work but their visual aspects can portray an app, software or a product as much more effective, innovative and just better.
Make a solid business plan
You, as a CEO, have to make a smart and reliable plan that includes the basic version of your product and more or less predicts what to do next. That’s why you need to have a backup plan for the time when your product will gain popularity and for a period when it won’t be on the top. Determine the return on investment (ROI) and evaluate your competition. It’s important to analyze possible functionalities that you may later add when it comes to the profitability. Also, keep thinking about steps to take so that your product gains a lot in the eyes of users. In other words, how to develop your product so it would stay in the spotlight for long. Because if the product is more effective, people will eventually share it with each other and sooner or later it will become popular.
Don’t forget about your story
Think, who you want to be in the eyes of people watching you. Be sure what you want to say to the media, what is the story behind the product. This is your 5 minutes and you need to present yourself and your company best as you can. To achieve that, make sure that the whole look, website, all advertising materials and even a discount code (if you have one), represent your brand. All of them should harmonize and in an esthetic way displaying the purpose of your product and what it does.
You can spend every penny on marketing, design or PR. But there is one thing which combines MVP projects – they don’t have too many funds. That’s why people creating them should make sure that every second spent with the product or advertisements be rather esthetic, clear and easy to understand.
Start building a community
Now it’s time to build a community inside as well as outside of your product. It’s about people who want to develop your project as much as they want to use it. Keep an eye on your team. See if those people introduce something special to the project and if they are willing to identify themselves with your brand. Very often programmers or designers come up with innovative ideas which let the company succeed.
It’s hard not to notice that as a CEO you must meet the task of finding a trusted team of specialists that are ready to engage in the project. Apart from that, there is a lot of patience and rethinking the plan to make sure you are not going too fast. In general, people who succeed in their projects are those who survived failures and gained a lot of experience. So learn from your mistakes and you will be already one step ahead of others.