Let’s face it—there are a ton of smart people in the world who have awesome ideas for the “next great product that everyone wants to buy.” Often, their excitement about the product overshadows the planning needed to allow the product to be successful. By planning, I mean taking the time to think through how the customer base you're trying to reach will adopt this product.
As an owner of a custom software company, I have the privilege of speaking with many entrepreneurs about ideas they have for the “next big thing.” Often I sit in those meetings trying to answer some of these key questions, listed below, in hopes that I can share in the same excitement as the entrepreneur. Unfortunately, most of the time they don't have answers to these questions. This leaves me feeling discouraged about the idea and not wanting to participate in its development.
To avoid this disappointment, we created a series of questions to help potential partners think through a full Go To Market Strategy. Following is a shortened list of the questions every entrepreneur should answer before spending any money on the creation of the product.
1. What are you selling?
2. Who would be interested in purchasing this product?
3. How is your product different from similar products already in the marketplace (i.e., is your product/idea patentable and have you completed the research to confirm that fact)?
4. What are your company’s mission, vision, strategy and goals?
5. Describe the need in the marketplace for your product – what gap is your product filling?
6. To whom are you selling your product, and why should they care about it?
7. What message will you use to reach these customers?
8. How are you going to communicate to potential customers (e.g., direct selling, advertising, public relations, promotion, word of mouth, partner channels, alliances, etc.)?
9. How are you going to get them to buy (i.e., what is your go to market strategy and who will execute it)?
10. What are you going to do after a customer buys your product (i.e., what will you do to make the buying experience great – how will you do it and when)?
Taking time to appropriately answer these questions will speed up the process of getting your product to market and increase the potential for success. For more information on Product Development questions download our guide to launching a software product.