Ever wonder what’s like working at a startup? Well, this March I hope to shed some light on the issues that the startup that I work at faces either in day-to-day operations or in our long term company plan. I’ll extrapolate to speak in broader context because most startups go through the same growing pains and problems that I see. But the interesting part is that each startup answers these questions or solves these problems differently given their product and market fit.
Crashing and Burning Quickly (and Often)
Having an idea for a startup is one thing, but understanding how your idea fits into the market can be a whole other animal. The process of molding your idea into a profitable offering to your market takes trial and error, no matter how precise you’ve defined your market opportunity. And that “molding” takes money and resources.
Now, how an organization goes about building and altering their offering to best suit the target market is what separates great companies/products from good companies/products. Addressing shortcomings and altering your product any time you get feedback from clients or prospects will lead to a bundled mess of a product that is hard to support and maintain. Remember, most times the prospect or client usually gives feedback about your product from deep down their own rabbit hole. In other words, you know what the product should be better than your target market.
Now you’ve got all of this feedback and critique of your product from what you suspect are potential customers; this is when organization and prioritization are vital. That’s why I think every quarter, you need to take this list and align resources accordingly. Have your team focus on building the most critical feature from this list. Take these 90 days to build, test, and launch these features. Discipline is important in every facet of life, and it’s equally as important when building the features that are mission critical for your idea’s success. Whether those features are more robust internal messaging, tool kits or documentation to better triage issues, or if those features are addressing common pitfalls in your product; your team needs focus and clear product road maps.
The two takeaways are: 1.) your prospects aren’t right 100% of the time (don’t let them cloud your vision) and 2.) build, test, and implement features in tight time frames; then improve if they’re successful.
I’m not saying the company I work at didn’t follow this for years, but it is good to see that we are now.