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5 Steps Startup Should Follow for Successful Product Development

5 Steps Every Startup Founder Should Follow for Successful Product Development

Startup owners looking to transform a great idea into a successful product should incorporate these five best practices in their product development strategy.

At the heart of every startup is a unique idea for a product or a service. This idea then progresses through various stages – such as proof of concept, prototyping, and testing – until it is finally unveiled to the world as a marketable product or service.

However, the journey from conceiving an idea to actually creating a product is rarely straightforward — an innovative idea needs to be complemented by business acumen, disciplined execution and technology. This process becomes all the more important to get right for startups, which are usually strapped for time and money. But where do you start?

From correctly identifying an unfulfilled need in the market to hiring the right people for your team, startup founders can follow some clear, structured steps to ensure successful product development.

Steps for Sucessful Product Development

1. Take your time to do market research

Something often missing in today’s product development strategies is proper market research. With in-depth market research, you can understand the potential for your product in the form of unfulfilled needs in the market, whether any existing products can plug these gaps, and how you could offer something better to gain a competitive advantage. Understanding this is crucial, since a lack of market need for their product is one of the top reasons startups fail.

There are some first-level questions a startup founder needs to answer. What is it that you are trying to develop? Who is the customer? How are you going to figure out what the customer needs are? By trying to address those needs, are you going to have some kind of advantage in the market – and can you actually address those needs? Clear answers to these questions will enable the startup to carve out a position in the market that differentiates it from the competition.

2. Prioritise the user

Identify pressing customer issues and then design a product that resolves these, rather than first creating a solution and then looking for problems it can solve. Consider the end user’s perspective; for this, you need to listen to the customer. Are your customers budget-conscious or willing to spend? Will they want to buy your product online or offline? Are they urban or rural? Tech-savvy or not? Understanding people, interpreting data, and foreseeing trends all go into user-centric product design.

3. Ensure correct positioning for your product

Brand positioning is the tactic used to differentiate your company from the competition; it goes beyond a catchy tagline or flashy design. To position the product in your user’s mind, you need to consider your target market, evaluate the strengths and limitations of your product, and analyse your competition. When the consumer views your brand favourably as being valuable and credible, your company has successfully positioned itself.

4. Leverage tech-based solutions to automate non-core work

To capitalise on your innovation, you need to be able to get it to market as quickly as possible. One way to do so is by leveraging existing technologies that help automate and outsource ancillary activities. Cloud has democratised access to technology and removed the cost barrier. There are amazing platforms in the market now; whether it is to develop a product or host it, you no longer need to start from scratch. Startups should also make use of software for accounting and administrative purposes, instead of relying on manual efforts or spreadsheets, which take your focus away from your core competency.

5. Hire and retain the right talent

It’s tempting to want to run the show single-handedly, but it’s essential to bring in different perspectives and skill sets. In fact, hire people that are way smarter than you. Don’t worry about whether they know a particular technology or not; they can learn that. Also, make sure you hire like-minded people who will fit easily into the culture of the company and keep them happy, engaged and empowered to ensure retention.

Startup founders face a unique situation. They need to get their product right and market it as soon as possible. Time is of the essence for startups with a finite amount of capital, and they need to capitalise on the first-mover advantage as quickly as possible.

But keep in mind that no startup exists in a vacuum. They need mentors, experts and a supportive community — especially in the early stages of growth — to seek advice and resources, bounce ideas off and get tips on how to scale. Without the proper guidance, startups can easily waste a lot of time and effort in finding the right way to grow and fulfil their potential.

The Salesforce Startup Program serves as a conduit for bringing startups into the Salesforce ecosystem in a structured manner and provides a range of solutions to the most frequent issues startups encounter to scale. The Program enables them to easily access Salesforce’s products and marketplace, connects them with subject matter experts for guidance and support, and provides them with the tools and global resources they need to grow. This access to technology, mentorship and need-based customised offerings enables startups to build credibility and accelerate growth, while focusing on their big idea- the product.

Ready to unlock the potential of your startup?

Join the Salesforce Startup Program today

Sanket Atal

Sanket is instrumental in driving the next phase of growth for Salesforce in India, making it a global hub for talent and innovation. Combining the best of design thinking and digital strategies, Sanket works with teams to build breakthrough customer experiences, leveraging his passion for innovation to deliver future-ready solutions accelerating growth for Salesforce in India.

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