Founder, these are the questions you need to ask yourself
What should you ask yourself when you are inventing a product? Karol Gałan, Product Owner at Red Sky, advises.
Creating a startup is a fascinating and challenging process. Ideas go from concept to reality, and dreams become potentially revolutionary products or services. However, founders and Product Owners who want to succeed in the startup world must first answer a few critical questions. This is especially important at the beginning of this path – when inventing a product entirely from scratch.
Below, you will find a list of fundamental questions regarding five aspects of the product. Moreover, we explain what is worth focusing on in a given context.
Remember: each question is like a cornerstone that creates the entire structure of the startup, and failure to answer it may threaten the final success.
1/ What are our client’s unaddressed needs?
2/ What does our client really need?
3/ How can our product improve the life of the user whose problem we see?
When building startups, we focus on more than just delivering a technologically advanced product. Our main task is to solve a pressing user problem, which is easy to forget when focusing only on the product or service. We need to face reality from the beginning and switch our thinking from „solutions” to „understanding the problem/need.” To illustrate this, we can use the famous example of a company that wants to sell a product such as a drill. It is essential to understand that the customer does not need a drill bit as a product; he just needs a hole in the wall and is looking for a way to fulfill his need. In this way, we open ourselves to unconventional thinking about the problem.
4/ What are the person’s demographics (age, where they live, and how they work)?
5/ What does a day in the life of such a person look like? Where are potential points of contact with my solution?
6/ What is such a person looking for, and what dreams and fears might he have?
There is yet to be a product or solution for everyone. Even when drawing out a business idea in a notebook, you must know who it is for (since you already know what problems it solves). It is a system of communicating vessels. Perhaps there will be several target groups and your product responds to each of their different needs (or difficulties).
7/ Are we able to build this product taking into account our resources, time, and skills?
8/ How will the technology we use provide value to the user?
9/ Is using the technology we have chosen justified from a business point of view?
When thinking about technology, we need to consider many factors. It is essential to look into the future and feel what technology we should choose in the present to scale our business without any problems. For example, we may initially build our product using older technology to save money. We must consider that after some time, it may be necessary to change to a newer technology. Therefore, adding up all the costs, migration may be more expensive than using the latest technology from the very beginning.
One of the first things we can do. It is a daily conversation with specialists and engineers who work with given technologies. In addition to their in-depth knowledge of technology, they are the ones who most often provide the best ideas for improving our product or service.
10/ Is the market we are targeting with the product/service already covered by other similar solutions?
11/ How can we stand out in a given market?
12/ Does the market we are considering need our product/service? Does the market segment we want to serve exist, or must we create it?
It is worth considering starting from the basics and where our market lies in the market context. In the case of new technologies and startups, this can be obscure, and individual segments may be intertwined (e.g., our product, unlike the competition, may serve more than one type of market). Our task is to understand whether there is a niche that our product or service can address because decisions regarding product strategy will depend on this knowledge.
We can’t predict the future, but we can build our product with flexibility in mind from the beginning. By this, I mean not being attached to one idea but also to one type of market or customer because we can be sure that it will change or evolve sooner or later.
13/ How does the competition communicate its value proposition?
14/ What are the competition’s most significant successes and problems, and where do they come from?
15/ What can we do better, differently?
In the process we practice at Red Sky, competition is the starting point for analyzing potential solutions. This is because when we think about our solution, we should focus on the problem it solves. When we know the problem, we can consider how it has been addressed so far and why our competition chose such (and not other) products.