You’re a product person. You’re building a business to keep creating digital products.
Being a product builder, you’re beginning with a solution. You have some sort of app in mind. With this solution, you’re looking for a market that will keep paying you for building and improving that solution.
You’ll later discover that the product-first mindset is difficult and will run into this problem over and over. Here are tips to keep the discipline.
Engineering Problems vs. Marketing Problems
Your product is predominantly based on your engineering or marketing superpowers. Most of the time, it’s the latter.
What’s an engineering problem? You’re building something that the market needs for sure. Definitely, someone will buy the cure for cancer. Definitely, the richest & most powerful will buy your time machine if you can build one. Is your product appealing due to such engineering marvel for a need that people will surely pay for?
What’s a marketing problem? You’re solving something not based on rocket science. For example, you’re helping brands deliver their message to more people on social media. That’s no rocket science. Same goes for helping busy executives lose weight. Your solution works not because of an engineering marvel. You’re in the place to sell, because you’re able to appeal to a specific group of people about their specific problem.
Is your product more of a proprietary rocket science technology or a finely crafted thing that fits exactly what the customer needs this week?
Small Products Work
Being a product builder, it’s tempting to build something for at least three months before getting it out the door. The odds are against you, if you don’t ship earlier and more often.
While you can invest in software development with bells and whistles, there’s always an intermediate solution. If you’ve sold a fitness promise to a busy executive, there’s always a small service that you can deliver on the same day. You can serve them a highly-customized workout. If they’re willing to wait a little, you can build a video workout guide in two weeks.
There’s always an intermediate solution, if your promise sells.
Fund Big Products with Small Product Success
It’s about sequence. After discovering that a promise sells, keep the ball rolling with an intermediate solution.
Use the revenue and lessons from the immediate solution, to fund your bigger product. If you’re to build a big fitness app for the busy executive, you can fund the engineering using your small product/service revenue from the early adopters. You’re also in a better place to design this product because you know what they exactly want first.
Over to You
Are you in the business of hardcore engineering? If you’re building something that bends the laws of physics, I respect that. Build the faster computer. Build the more powerful microscope. Keep going and I hope that you get the funds and energy required.
If you’re in the business of crafting the right product that doesn’t require rocket science, this is for you. Focus first on building a promise that sells.
Craft a sentence that people will happily click on their Google Search or Product Hunt. Keep refining that promise. Once you have a proposition that sells, you’re in the position to build your Minimum Viable Product.
Without a headline that works, you want to pause engineering.