Product Management is one of the most important functions of a startup. The product’s life cycle is an unpredictable and varying one, and you should learn how to deal with it. Instead of keeping the product alive the way it is, the focus should be on innovating and adapting according to the customers’ needs. Product Management in Startups means developing the right product for the users.
Caya CEO of Slidebean perfectly explained this when he stated, “We didn’t get stuck on our idea of what our business had to be, instead, we became what our business needed to be to better serve our customers”. What you project for your product in the early stages might not be relevant 5 years later. And you need to be accepting of these changing dynamics. One of the most crucial aspects of being an entrepreneur is to be open to change. You need to remember why you began your startup journey in the first place, and not be stuck on something that is not a good product-market fit.
What is a product-market fit?
According to CB Insights, one of the top reasons that startups fail is because they do not have a market for their product. In simpler words, they have a poor product-market fit. What this means is that customers simply aren’t willing to buy your product. So what you thought was a great idea, really just fell short. Before you make your product available to the market, you need to research the extent to which your product satisfies a market need. The demand needs to be significant for your idea to stay afloat.
Startup Product Roadmap
Roadmapping is used to communicate where you stand currently, what your vision is, and what you hope to achieve. After you figure out the product-market fit, you need to need to deliver the right product to your users in order to make it successful. The startup product roadmap is not a smooth one. After you launch your product, you will realize that people aren’t as willing to pay for your product as they first said they were. Identifying your value proposition, one that users are willing to pay for can take a lot of time. It is not that simple or easy to achieve.
It is likely that you will lose a major chunk of the initial customers that you acquire. This could be for a number of reasons. Maybe you weren’t ready and launched too soon, or your product wasn’t the right fit for them, or they might not have been the right fit for you. Whatever the case may be, you will need to adapt accordingly and bounce back. The trial and error will be tough for sure, but it will help you reach the optimal state of your product.
Why is product management so important
There is a reason why the profession of a product manager has gained a lot of recognition and spotlight in recent years. Startups need great product management strategies to get off the ground, scale and sustain. There are several reasons why it is so important.
Firstly, it helps to identify competitors, analyze them, and then shape your product accordingly. You can stand out better this way by providing a more efficient product that delivers optimal value for the customers.
Secondly, product management in startups helps to deliver the right value to the customers. There is no point in your brilliant idea if the customers are not happy with the final product. Customer perception and acceptance is everything. No matter how absurd it is. So if you really want to succeed, you definitely need a good product management strategy. And, a great product manager as well for that matter. These two together will help come with a final product that satisfies the market.
Lastly, as a Startup CEO, you need to realize and accept that your product will change inevitably. With time you will understand the market fit, and what your customers really want. It will be necessary to implement the changes then. Moreover, in an era like ours, there is constant innovation. You will always need to adapt and innovate yourself. For example, the technology or features in your product might become obsolete or irrelevant 5 years from now. Look what happened to Nokia, Motorola, and Blackberry. Good product management in startups helps them to survive, grow, and keep the idea alive.
Your business plans and future projections do not decide what will happen for certain, they only set the course of the startup. You move forward and pivot according to the needs of the customers, and time. Product Management in startups is that thing that will be required at every stage. You will be able to create product experiences that will increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, and values as well.
Read: How to Start a Startup