Startups are a minefield for those who underestimate the power of careful planning and ignore the rules of the game. However, they can be a goldmine for talented and hard-working entrepreneurs willing to create truly useful and meaningful products and services. What does it take to convert a dream idea into a successful and popular product? The answer is not easy, which explains the number of books, podcasts, guidelines, and coaches sharing the wisdom with wanna-be entrepreneurs and tech talents.
Let’s be honest, there is no secret key to success in this area. However, you can win the market by following the stages described in this article. In this way, you will create a sound foundation for your business and decrease the risks of failure.
Come Up with an Idea
Every startup begins with a unique, ground-breaking idea. There is no right or wrong way to generate ideas. Sometimes, they come unexpectedly, but they can also result from intense brainstorming. You can create an idea independently or use a team of experts. One way or another, you begin your startup journey with a fresh, interesting idea.
Do Your Homework
Now, it’s time to check whether no one else came up with the same idea. Although there is always space for new phenomena and products, you will be surprised to know how many people think the way you do. If you find that someone has already tried to implement your idea, see what mistakes they made along the way and learn from them. For example, your competitors cut corners on design or target the wrong customer group.
Market research is also essential to look beyond design and engineering and explore how to develop a successful business. Examine the market conditions, financial risks, and overall competition to develop an evidence-based business plan.
Shape the Face of Your Business
Next, you need to secure investment and put together a good team. You can ask family or friends for capital or apply for an old-honored loan. Many startups survived due to crowdfunding and private investors.
As for the team, its size may vary depending on your budget and needs. Consider inviting the following experts to your team:
- Project manager
- UX/UI designer
- Business analyst
- Frontend and backend developers
- QA engineer
Do some research to know where and how to recruit competent and skilled team members. For example, there are many guides online on how to hire User Experience designers and why they are essential.
Moreover, you should also create a company and product name, formulate a mission statement, and build a website. In other words, your task is to make sure your company has an attractive image that could secure enough investment.
Now, it’s your product’s turn to take shape. This is when your UX/UI designers step in and define the way your product will function and look. UX designers should work on the product’s architecture, navigation, and intuitive design. UI designers will complement this work by creating the right look and feel that will ensure a positive user experience. At this stage, UX/UI designers collaborate with the rest of the team to make sure the product stands out from competitors and addresses customers’ problems.
It’s Time to Create an MVP
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a must-have for tech startups. It is a product that has minimum features meeting customers’ needs. An MVP will allow you to test your idea, collect feedback, and implement changes according to users’ comments. At this stage, it is not too late to pivot a bit and modify your product to fit the market demands.
Collect Feedback and Adjust as Needed
Startups often make a fatal mistake – they are so focused on their original idea that they don’t want to see the real market needs. If you don’t want to repeat this mistake, make sure you collect and analyze customers’ feedback. See whether the product is well-accepted, what points of failure it has, its pros and cons in practice, etc. Then, use this data to make the product more efficient, useful, and enjoyable, even if it means choosing a new direction for development. For example, you may realize that your product is most popular among IT staff, not regular users, so narrowing down your target population makes sense.
Develop Full-Fledged Product
It’s time for the ugly duckling to become a swan. Use the expertise your team gained, as well as extensive market and customer data to build a perfect product. Never stop collecting feedback and improving it. Even after you launch your dream product, there will be dozens of small errors and issues to address along the way. Be prepared to embark on a continuous journey of growth and development. Don’t forget to measure your success with proper tools. For instance, you can follow an example of Airbnb that relied on Datadog and PagerDuty.
Don’t expect your product to make a hit instantly. The most successful startups fought competitors became they made smart, perfectly timed moves. For example, you may need to seek research partnerships to achieve revenue growth. Or, you can enter a new market that your competitors have not discovered yet. Sometimes, all it takes is brilliant marketing that will attract the right customer base.
In some cases, the smartest thing to do is to merge with a larger company to combine resources and operation efforts and resources. This move may become the salient point in your startup’s history, allowing you to expand the company’s reach and manage considerable growth.
There are dozens of smaller steps one should take along the way. Be prepared for the ups and downs in this startup journey. It is not always a straightforward journey from idea to implementation, and there can be many stops and turns on this path. Every company is different, so don’t expect to succeed because you do everything by the book. Let these recommendations guide you, but also don’t be afraid of listening to your intuition and making unexpected moves. In the highly competitive market, only the boldest entrepreneurs win.
Read also: Tips for Starting an Online Business