What is Important for Startups – Products or Sales?
Whether a business should focus on perfecting its products or on boosting sales is the eternal question faced by entrepreneurs. The dilemma has given rise to the concept of Minimum Viable Product or MVP where instead of trying to wait until the product is in faultless stage, the business decides to market it and continues with the improvement process. Here are some of the thoughts to help you decide whether your business should strive for the perfect product or for higher sales.
- Focus on Product: It is believed that a large number of companies fail due to different factors related to their products or services. In many cases, the companies launch products nobody had demanded. In other cases, the product may simply not be up to the mark, that it may not serve the function it claims to serve. Therefore, it is important to understand the market and its requirements. The business should then focus on developing a product which can meet the market needs in an efficient manner. The firm may decide to launch the product with certain key features and then may continue to fine-tune it. For startups, product improvement is a continuous, never-ending process.
- Work on Value Added Services: As important as it is to get the product just right to fulfill customers’ requirements, it is also imperative that proper attention is paid to allied services such as logistics, after sales care, etc. For startups, liquidity and funds are highly crucial factors, forcing business to release the product as early as possible. In such cases, the enterprise may enhance customers’ utility by providing them with value added services. Empathetic customer care services can lead to higher customer satisfaction by addressing several concerns and issues. With the help of add-on services, the business may be in a position to launch the product at an early stage and still gain loyal following.
- Business Life Cycle Stage: The decision regarding the product launch is dependent on several factors including the life stage of the business. For a startup, cash inflows are highly important as these enterprises are generally dependent upon outside funding for carrying out their operations. For early stage ventures, it is a matter of survival to get a product in the market so that a steady stream of revenue may be generated. This stream is then used for meeting various expenses of the organization. So, while a mature business may delay the launch of the product till it is perfected, new and fledgling organizations are bound to follow the concept of Minimum Viable Product.
- Test the Market: As a young business, you might be tempted to get your product out in the market. However, apart from the product and its features, it is also important to gauge the maturity of the market. This implies that the market should be ready for the product. Any product, if launched in a pre-mature market, is bound to fail. One of the biggest examples in this regard is the various early attempts made by technology companies to launch smartphones. However, these launches failed as the markets were not mature enough to accept smartphones. Further, the infrastructure required for proper functioning of the phones was also not available. Therefore, ensure that the market is ready for your product.
The crux of the discussion is that a startup requires both a perfected product and sales revenue. It is the striking of balance between these two goals which ensures the long term survival of an organization.