How Startups Launch Products That Customers Want
Five questions you need to answer before starting a new project
There’s no worse feeling for an entrepreneur than pushing a brilliant idea all the way through execution and then launching that new product or feature to dead silence.
But oddly enough, we entrepreneurs tend to do this a lot. In fact, I just did it again myself. Even after building over a dozen startups over a couple decades, I still dive right into this trap headfirst.
Ask anyone who creates new things for a living and they’ll tell you that the key to success is to underpromise and overdeliver. This is almost always true, because you’ll never go broke surpassing artificially low expectations. But I’ve also learned that underpromising almost always means building something nobody is asking for.
If you want to launch a new product or a new feature to a high level of customer engagement, you need to overpromise and overdeliver.
Here’s how to do that.
Don’t bet big on experiments
Entrepreneurs are creatures of risk and vision. When we have a half-baked idea, we like to fully bake that idea by getting hands-on and building it out.
We watch high-tech, high-growth companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple launch new features, new programs, sometimes even new devices or entire spin-out products that nobody was asking for. Remember Google Glass? Or the Amazon phone? Apple Newton? If they can do it, why can’t we?
Well, because we don’t have that kind of runway. Almost every time you see one of these wacky ideas pop-up and eventually disappear, the company wasn’t betting everything on its success.
But also, don’t assume that any of these maverick projects saw the light of day because some brilliant innovator impressed enough of their management chain to get the idea to the CEO’s desk. Sometimes that might be true, just as sometimes you may have a brilliant idea that you’re compelled to follow all the way through to reality.
You might be right. Your new idea may result in a product or feature that every consumer or business needs. But do they need it today? Is the world ready…