You’ve launched your product. Customers are purchasing and everything is going really well. You’ve reached the point where your product contains all of the features you feel are necessary in the core offering, yet you want to expand. Today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how to expand once having reached this perceived plateau.
You’ve found a customer segment who really needs your product, developed a minimum viable version of your product and have launched to your market. Your customers are purchasing your product with roars of cheer and glee. What you do next is what you’ll be doing for the foreseeable future of your business; maintaining your product. While extremely important, maintenance of a single product can sometimes become repetitive. It can be great to switch gears from time to time.
Today, I’ll run through a few ideas on how to avoid the repetition as much as possible.
Many folks, when asked what they like, proclaim to know. Using movies as an example, many would say “I like action movies” or “I like a good comedy”. I don’t believe this is the most accurate response. Today, I’d like to unpack why I believe this.
I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the role perception plays in how we respond to life and how we receive the various inputs the world has to offer. One particular thought has been around the role confidence plays in shaping our perception.
In many perceptions, structure is synonymous with “boundaries”, “limitations”, and “restrictions”. This is often the perception of the creative thinker. “Don’t box me in” is an often used phrase. As a product person, I feel the role of a product person within a software team is to bridge the gap between how creatives and how analytical thinkers perceive structure. I see structure as fuel.
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.
The term “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) is often seen as a buzz word. I read a great post by Scott Riley about why he hates shipping MVPs which helped me to re-think the wording of this phrase to “Smallest Viable Product” (SVP). For the sake of common understanding, I’ll refer to MVP and SVP interchangeably here.
An MVP is the smallest possible product, requiring the smallest amount of initial effort, in order to satisfy the needs of your proposed customer. I often view an MVP as a pretty storefront, with a herd of hamsters frantically spinning their wheels in the back room. Your MVP is largely about showcasing the potential of your product and the need it meets for your customer. Ultimately, your customer doesn’t really mind how you achieve the result, as long as you achieve it to an acceptable standard to meet their need.
Today, I’d like to dive a little bit deeper into the mindset behind crafting your MVP.
One area of business building and product development is predicting the success of the product, before launch. This is one area everyone tries to get as accurate as possible, in search of the one unifying metric to unite all and predict accurate success trends. Methodologies such as the lean startup approach aim to ensure as accurate a product success rating as possible, by approaching the project from a customer-centric point of view (if you build what they want, they will come). Now that we’ve discussed how to get customer feedback, lets discuss how we make use of this feedback in our approach to product planning.
One of the most complex (and sometimes cumbersome) tasks within scaling a lean startup is to get feedback from your customers. During the early stages when customers are few and far between, this process is easier. Down the line, as you scale, the process can become tricky to manage.
Today, I’d like to run through a few different methods for gathering meaningful customer feedback.
Building a new product or business is a really exciting process. There is no feeling quite like the feeling of seeing an idea through to it’s final product. What many founders forget to consider is the day after launch day. The business needs to sustain itself, at the very least to cover the upfront setup and production costs.
We’re all well aware that customers pay for products or services, which generates income for the business and assists with growing and sustaining the business. Therefore, if no customers purchase products or services from the business, there is no growth and the business will rapidly crumble. Today, we’ll discuss how to find your first customers, creating a solid foundation for business growth.