A frequent error that start-ups make is taking too much time getting the product into the marketplace. In typical fashion, our start-up is operating on wafer thin cash margins. As we “bootstrap” our business, we focus on one precious commodity – cash – how to get it and how to make it last! One of the best ways to generate cash for your business is by selling your product... getting your product into the marketplace as soon as possible to create cash flow coming in to the business.
There are a number of reasons why delays in launching a new product occur:
· We have too many projects underway and progress is very slow
· We have a fear of failure, or we are unwilling to admit we made a mistake
· We don’t have a full understanding of our customers’ needs
· We are striving for perfectionism!
Let’s focus on these last two reasons. If you have done your “Customer Due Diligence”, in other words, you have conducted market research, you’ve thought not just outside the box, but outside the walls and talked with actual target customers, you already understand their needs, and you have gained valuable information about what they think of your product or service. They’ve told you what they like about your product and how they think you can improve it.
So you have begun finalizing your product’s design based on this customer input when suddenly customer suggestions for additional features and benefits arrive at your doorstep. You stop, reassess and even redesign your product. This happens again, and in striving to accommodate every customer suggestion you get into a never-ending loop trying to achieve “perfection.” Result? Your product never gets to market... or it arrives too late to achieve the impact you originally envisioned.
Improve while you move!!
Your goal should be to get your product into the market as quickly as possible to start generating cash for your business. Develop a Product Roadmap as shown below. With Product #1 beginning sales, immediately start work on Version #2 which will include those additional suggestions from customers. Complete that product development, and get it into the market without delay. Your roadmap will include timetables for product development, sales, and an expected date when each version will be discontinued in favor of a newer version or new product.
Remember: Focus on the BIG things: developing your product, selling your product and collecting cash for your product!