When building your product, it’s important to get off the ground correctly by finding your first customers, gathering customer feedback and shipping your first minimum viable product. Once your product has launched and your market is enjoying what you have to offer, there is an important approach to take to ensure you’re staying relevant, satisfying your customers and enhancing your product to continue adding value. Today, I’ll run through the approach of what I refer to as the Lean Startup Loop.
Back to square one
Once you’ve launched your product, start again. Rewind to the first step. This may seem a bit odd, at first. Bear with me.
You’ve now got your product in the hands of your first customers, the folks you originally spoke with and who agreed they’d like to use your product. Now, they’re actually using your product! This is where a new kind of feedback can be found. Speak to your customers, ask a variation of the questions you asked previously. For example, instead of asking “would X satisfy your need?” you’d ask “having used X, does it satisfy your need?”.
This process helps you to continue the loop and move on to iteration.
Is the customer still the desired customer?
Now that you’ve launched, perhaps you find that your first customers actually don’t really need your product. Perhaps they say “the product is great, but my grandparents could get more value from it”. Your new customer is then the original customer’s grandparents.
Know who your customer is after each iteration.
Iterate, improve and refine
Spend some time looking at your product and examining each aspect of it. Any improvement or refinement you make is a step towards growing and scaling your product.
An example of this in practice is the Flat Rate Shipping solution we offer within WooCommerce core. This feature is really useful, yet had a somewhat bulky interface for creating a flat rate shipping fee. We simplified the interface to ensure any store owner (new or experienced) can make effective use of flat rate shipping without too much (if any) technical knowledge.
Set success criteria
Now that your refinements are in place, set some criteria and questions to ask for your next loop phase. This is a crucial aspect of shipping your loop, to ensure you’re constantly learning and gathering feedback.
It’s time to ship your updated product. Launch your update and begin the next loop.
As can be seen by the looping nature of this process, the “customer feedback” phase is actually the learning phase from the previous loop. This ensures your customer remains your central focus and is an integral part of maintaining a successful and growing product.