The sexiest part of building a business is landing on that game-changing idea. Light bulbs go off, eureka moments are had and you can almost taste the success. However, whether it is a pizza place, a technology startup or tour operator, the key to a prosperous company is not in the perfect idea -- it ultimately boils down to your ability to bring that idea to life. The product is the actual offering that is put on the table for customers to see, and the process of turning a raw idea -- even a great idea -- into a sustainable and profitable masterpiece does not happen overnight. It is a journey through a variety of challenges, threats, trial and errors.
In order to ensure the foundations of long-term success for your business, these points are key to building a new product, regardless of the industry.
Less is more.
Many offerings today -- an app, a restaurant menu, or anything else -- try to include too many options, features and ingredients. This often makes the specialization of the differentiating factor less obvious to the consumer, ultimately decreasing the unique selling point of the offering.
Where to begin? Start with the simple idea, the core of the product, and then work in baby steps to develop the idea. Enhance the product offering only if it’s absolutely necessary. By doing this, you avoid detracting from your core concept. In a highly competitive and saturated environment, the customer always seems to expect more, but this is not necessarily achieved through loading the product with features. Rather, keep the consumer in mind while developing the product, and remember what will appeal to the masses.
Take calculated risks.
If there were no risk involved in creating a product, everyone would do it. Risk is an inherent factor of any business and a prerequisite to success. However, the key factor in risk taking is not whether or not you should take one, but which one you should take.
Smart risks put you in a position to capitalize on a gap in the market from the strongest position possible after you have taken into account key factors. A dumb risk has you flying blindly in the general direction of a good idea. Research is essential to mitigate risks, understand potential pitfalls and fully comprehend the competitors in the market. Although there are always unforeseen variables to consider, risky decisions should be made only when the maximum amount of knowledge and research has been obtained.
Every risk factor is presented through different variables. Timing, for example, is a factor that may need more immediate action before an opportunity is missed. Ultimately, it is essential to assess each situation independently.
Empower the right people.
The success of a business is built on people, product and market. Once the product is developed, the research is completed and the market is established, it is critical to have the right team to deliver and contribute to the overall success of the product.
Recognizing potential in people who can contribute to a product’s long-term success is crucial, and the emphasis here is on long term. Having a knowledgeable and professional team is non-negotiable for any company that wants to come out on top, but the overall vision of the product -- and its future growth -- is just as important as the product that is initially launched. Your team should be building the best quality product they can while remembering that the minimum viable product you launch is not the final version you will ever have. Emphasize the need to create a platform that has the foundation to build upon, and your product will more likely have sustained success and not just a flash-in-the-pan launch.
While seeing an idea come to fruition is a dream come true, the natural urge to rush as quickly as possible from concept to finished product can put that great idea and potentially successful product at significant risk. Remember: A shortcut down a road you cannot navigate tends to lead to a dead end. In the world of successful product development, a tested, well-defined and faithfully executed process is the glue that holds it all together. It keeps the company and the product on course and on schedule. It is the thing that enables a great idea to become a truly successful product.
Related: Get Your Product Figured Out First