The tech mortuary (if one actually existed — wait! Does one exist?) is filled with many a products which did their time and died natural and some unnatural deaths. There’s enough data based on research showing why many tech startups don’t survive the first 1 or 3 years, and why many companies don’t survive much past infancy.
Let’s see why so many companies and products bite the dust.
This is always the #1 reason why many products fail. Let’s face the truth: We are not always our target audience. What that means in essence is that we don’t always have a clear understanding of the problems that we’re trying to solve, much as we think we do. It is imperative to do market research if possible, but when budget doesn’t allow, UX (User-Experience) Research should be done. Fun fact: UX Research is carried out before you write any line of code.
UX Research helps gain critical insights into users’ behaviors, requirements, and expectations.
We’re then able to answer 6 critical questions:
1. What are our users’ pain points?
2. Are those pain points worth taking action for them?
3. Does our perceived product solve those problems?
4. Is our proposed solution practical? ie. usability
5. Are they willing to pay for the product?
6. And lastly — is the solution we want to develop feasible? Financially or otherwise?
Conducting UX Research will give us enough insight to our product, which will advise on whether we should, and if so, how we should proceed with development. At Zedafrica, we conduct UX Research in partnership with your product design team, and help you through this process. Reach out!
Another sure way to fail is to have your product team come up with a road-map based on what leadership say and building out complete solutions before rolling them out to the market.
There is a good reason why the agile methodology has so much traction in tech — it works! True agile requires that we employ it in the entire product design process, from inception to growth and adoption.
We must be honest with ourselves and identify and build a true Minimum Viable Product (MVP). If your MVP is a complete end-to-end product in itself then it’s not really an MVP now, is it?
A true MVP is the iteration of your product that has the basics, that is good enough to solve the primary problem of your customer and nothing more. It cannot be polished. More often than not, some parts of your MVP operations will be handled manually, if that’s what it takes to roll-out faster. Embrace imperfection.
And this is where we techies fail the most. We somehow end up believing that if we build a good product, users will show up and use it. No wonder we’re not good at dating (let’s be honest with ourselves, this is a safe space :-).
As amazing as our product can be, if we don’t have a go-to-market plan then we will surely fail.
The good news is this does not have to be rocket-science. All we have to do is run product-market-fit experiments and test out many avenues with many channels, free and paid, physical and virtual, and identify what works best for product positioning, marketing language, the best sales channels, pricing etc. It’s all an experiment until we identify the working formula. Once we do, all we have to do is scale our efforts.
Every machine needs some good oiling and fuel. Whether we are bootstrapping or are able to raise funding, the budget has to be there, otherwise our efforts may fail before they have a chance of survival.
There’s this small inconvenience in life called the cost of living. You need it and so does your team.
Having a budget will allow you the opportunity to focus on designing and building your product without having to worry about survival.
As an entrepreneur, you have to surround yourself with people who are more talented than you. The collective knowledge and experience of your team will help solve all manner of problems that you will face.
It is also important to have good team culture. We want your people to be all in, to find joy in helping you build your product, and to feel valued and heard. Good team culture creates an environment that fosters growth. Lead from the front, be a good example, treat others with respect, and they will follow you wherever you go.
Sometimes our products fail simply due to poor execution. You may believe know best and don’t need advice from anyone, you’re a superstar, right?. And while at it, proceed while you still know everything.
We need to invest in talent, whether our own or otherwise. The journey in entrepreneurships requires horning of the skills we have while learning the ones that we don’t, so that we are able to hire the right people and work with them well enough to build decent products. Invest in people whose direction and knowledge you trust, then go ahead and trust them.
Figuring out pricing can be the simplest or the most complicated part of product design. Depending on what you are building, some margins can be too low to support the viability of your business, while on many occasions, you may find yourself charging for something no-one is willing to pay for
It actually comes down to UX Research if you really think about it. It also matters that you factor in the cost of customer acquisition and fulfillment in your product pricing, while keeping in mind your target market and their ability to afford your offering.
At Zedafrica, we help you with some of these complicated positioning and product-market-fit challenges. We offer consultancy as partners in your product design team and help you steer in the right direction. Talk to us today!
We provide dedicated teams to brands worldwide.
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