Can my startup recover first fail?
It can seem inescapable to avoid your business model being compared unfavourably to Spotify and Netflix. They have become the unofficial benchmarks against which all software companies are judged.
And no wonder. Netflix and Spotify are market leaders: highly successful and with global brand recognition. In business and software development conferences, these companies are heralded as examples of how your business should look and act.
In this paper, we will explore the forgotten parts of the business development journey. We will cover how to start your product development, what architecture to choose and how to ensure steady feature flow to your product.
Rolling out new software products to market
Let’s assume that we already have a product idea and have successfully convinced investors to invest into our project. Foundation of the project is critical to later success, as it will define how fast we can:
- Complete MVP version
- React and adapt to changes
- Grow your team
- Ensure security
The most important thing to the leaders of new companies is business model validation. These are the fundamentals that will determine if your business will grow and survive. Is there a demand for your product? Is your product model sufficient to attract enough customers to support your company’s growth?
These questions are usually answered in the following ways:
- Market research – the process of gathering and evaluating information about customer’s behaviour, competitors and other market trends to predict and adjust your product and marketing strategy.
- Product roll out – is an opportunity to get actual feedback and user behaviour about your product.
While market research is important – and should not be skipped – accurate data is gathered from real customers’ feedback. What customers say in real life does not always tally with what we expected based on market research results. Prioritise real time feedback from customers so you can verify you are on the right track, and adjust if necessary.
As we established, it is vital to get feedback as soon as possible. To get feedback we cannot implement everything at once.
For example, it is not recommended to build a car factory which could produce SUVs, Pickups, Hatchbacks, Coupes etc. and only then start selling cars. MVP must be central to your approach. You should build one, simple car to begin, with minimal features. You might build a Hatchback with only one basic model specification, and from that pursue vital feedback. Once you know your customer’s opinions, you can use that information to adjust and seek out more and informative feedback from your clients.
With feedback, we can learn that our product does not have a good place in a market as it is now and realise we need to pivot. For example, we may discover we should change our model from B2C to B2B, this might mean transforming your existing MVP to cars adapted to deliveries or public transport.
If we don’t invest all our resources in an initial MVP product, we have the flexibility to change and adapt to our customer reviews. This is critical to start-up, as the first setback will not signal the end of your business.