Five Guidelines for Product Development Success for Start-up Founders
Change is the only constant – these words can never be more valid when spoken in the context of the start-up world. The business environment thrives on the fundamental idea of creating and improving the present conditions – which means start-ups must continuously ideate and ameliorate their position by developing new products and entering new markets.
Product development is a core business process that starts as nothing more than an idea and results in a full-fledged product ready to be utilised by the end user. Between ideation and commercialisation, product development consists of several critical stages (such as prototyping, testing, and marketing), which need to be continuously monitored and controlled to avoid any failure in designing the ideal product for the ideal consumer.
The following guidelines outline five critical ways in which one can ensure success in product development.
1. Conduct a thorough Market Research
Market Research is collecting, collating, and analysing information about the existing market conditions influencing the product. The thorough market research presents a start-up with multiple benefits:
- Research helps understand the customer. With a better understanding of the customers, wants, needs, likes, and dislikes, the start-up can focus on delivering the required value to the end users.
- Research helps identify market gaps. A gap is considered an opportunity for a business aiming to thrive in a competitive market. Start-ups must convert this opportunity into a competitive advantage that sets them apart from other companies.
- Research points out all external threats, which the company needs to focus on overcoming while taking advantage of opportunities.
2. Analyse your start-up's internal environment
While an external environment analysis helps the firm understand (and possibly predict) the unpredictable and analyze the threats and opportunities, a scan of the internal environment provides information about the organisation’s strengths and weaknesses. A fair internal assessment should appraise one of the company’s resources, technical capabilities, and overall skill level, along with other essential information.
This information helps understand the core competencies and strengths of the organisation. The organisational strengths are then harnessed while creating the product so that the outcome has a competitive edge over the market in terms of quality and utility.
3. Decide your consumer Segment, Target and Product Position.
Once thorough research has been conducted concerning the firm’s internal and external environment, the start-up needs to decide its target consumers and the product’s positioning in the market.
Segment, target, and positioning (or STP) analysis has become increasingly prominent within the start-up scenario. The segmentation of consumers and targeting of a particular customer profile allows the company to enter a niche where it can establish its presence with few competitors.
Positioning is a crucial step before building the product. Positioning allows the start-up to decide how it would like to describe itself in the industry (or how it wishes its customers to perceive it). The positioning dictates what the product’s function and critical features should be.
4. Design a Minimum Viable Product
As the market becomes more saturated with competitors, the emphasis on releasing the right product at the right time becomes critical. To circumvent the risk of producing a fully developed product at once and facing a possible rejection in the market, agile and lean manufacturing principles introduce the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Like a prototype, an MVP is a version of the product with minimal features – so it has just enough attributes to be deemed functional. The MVP is first released to the market so that customers can experience the product for no more than its utility/ or chief purpose and can provide feedback on the same. This feedback is incorporated into the development of the final product, which is expected to face a higher chance of success in the market.
5. Stress on learning-based organisational culture
The modern-day workplace demands a healthy organizational culture. This is essential for a start-up – since a small group of employees working in close proximity (in terms of space and nature of work) yields the opportunity to create a robust organizational culture where employees can motivate and guide each other. A clan or adhocratic culture can instill a sense of teamwork and innovation within employees.
The founders of a start-up can utilize the strength of the organizational culture to instill core values that help overall productivity. Emphasizing a culture of continuous learning and growth within the team of employees is vital in a dynamic business environment – and increases the possibility of staying ahead of change. We at Manras can help you with Expert advice. Get in touch with us.