How Experienced Startup Founders Get “Unstuck” On the Way To Launch
Despite how it might look from the outside, launching a new product isn’t about scraping together a bit of money, throwing a hastily-built MVP at a market, and hoping it sticks.
I get a lot of questions from frustrated entrepreneurs and innovators, most of whom are usually “stuck” somewhere between brilliant idea and game-changing launch.
In the 20-plus years I’ve been growing startups and launching products, I’ve learned that the big question most entrepreneurs spend long days trying to answer isn’t “How do I make this product successful?” but rather:
“What do I do next?”
When we get “stuck” on that question, we usually try to solve it by going back to the basics:
- How does my idea become a product?
- How does my product find its market?
- How does my company acquire more customers for this product?
And then, when walls are hit, some variation of those questions are what wind up in my inbox.
So let’s back away from those walls and go back to basics.
Review your plan.
When you’re planning a new product, you should actually work from two plans.
The first plan is the product roadmap — to get the idea into an executable state. Like all good product plans, you need to work backwards from the final result. In some cases, especially when you’re doing something that’s never quite been done before, you should only focus on version 1.0 as the end result.
You’re answering the question: “What’s the thing that’s going to be a viable, must-have application of this idea?”
In other cases, usually when success is more dependent on the elegance of the solution rather than the science behind it, your end result might be a few versions out, because it’s going to take several steps to penetrate the market, find market fit, and get traction.
While you develop your roadmap, your second plan is a market plan that covers all the necessary steps to bring…