Are You a Futuristic Founder?
We’re not asking you if you see yourself leading a utopian society to greatness. We are simply asking if you see yourself leading your company to greatness.
As the founder of a startup, your job is never done. You’ll be responsible for nursing your idea into a fully functioning business, from conception to completion. And if you’re looking to be relevant for years to come, there won’t really be a completion process as your product will evolve to meet the demands of consumers. Of course, you don’t need us to tell you all this. Let’s move on to what we can tell you that will add value to your understanding of your role as a start-up founder.
In the middle of the initial chaos of responsibilities that you will have to handle, don’t miss out on a crucial one: the product development process. You might wonder if it’s really important for founders to be fully involved in the product development process. Is it really necessary to know all the nitty gritties? If so, what should you know and how much should you know, exactly?
The short answer: everything and as much as possible.
Consider your business to be a carefully put together state-of-the-art kitchen, your conference table replaced by a huge baker’s slab, and your loyal employees in starched white aprons. As the master chef, you must have a finger in every pie that’s baked by your team.
Now, for the long answer.
First, let’s take a look at the seven broad stages of a product development cycle: Ideation, feasibility studies, design and development, testing and verification, validation and documentation, manufacture and marketing, and product evolution.
Next, let’s take a quick refresher on what your responsibilities as a founding member is. At the end of the day, as a founder, all rivers of responsibilities will run into the sea that is you.
Finally, let’s put two and two together to understand the role of a founder in each part of the project development process.
Of course, you’re only one person and you won’t be able to know every minute detail of the product development process, but it’s important to have a general idea of the lay of the land, so to speak.
This is the most basic step in a product development cycle. You need a new recipe for your kitchen!
As innovative ideas for new products are brainstormed and correlated with a market need, you can contribute here by making sure the brainstorming sessions are conducive to creativity, and even pick up pointers as teammates share unique ideas.
So, your staff has decided on a dish. Will it be a good addition to your menu?
SWOT (Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat) analyses are conducted to determine the product feasibility and how it will fare in the relevant marketplace. As a founder, you might have important input and guidance about the nuances of your targeted market niche which could ensure that your team does not overlook any of the traits of your product concept.
Check out our blog on How to Do Market Research for a Business Startup?
Design and Development
It’s been decided that your recipe is one that simply must be created for the world to enjoy. What are the ingredients that go into making the meal and what is the resulting output?
In this stage, the product is engineered and a prototype is designed. Specifications are specified. Milestones are set and met. It’s one of the most crucial steps of assembling your final product and it is imperative that you understand the overall process.
Here, take a look at the 7 Things to Remember when Designing your Product
Testing and Verification
There’s a steaming pot of deliciousness waiting to be tasted for perfection before you can offer it to customers. Maybe you need a pinch more salt or a little less cumin.
Your product is designed and developed. But is it ready to hit the market? In this stage, the developed product is tested for performance and optimisation. Being involved in this process can help you understand the working mechanism of the product in detail.
Validation and Documentation
So, the final recipe is approved by all and sundry and it looks like it will take the culinary world by storm. You need to make sure the recipe is preserved, so you carefully note down all the details in all the processes involved.
As a project progresses, the team members might shift and change, but not you. Hence it falls to you to make sure that those in charge of documentation notes down every little piece of information related to the product development process for future reference.
Manufacture and Marketing
Your recipe is ready for mass production! You need to make sure the word gets out there and people know about what you have to offer.
As a founder, you might have a wealth of input to give your team in relation to your competition. As you will also know the product better than anyone else, you’ll be able to guide marketing strategies by highlighting your unique selling points.
There is always room for improvement. Maybe croutons will add more value to your recipe.
As the founding head, you need to make sure that your team is kept on their toes and keeps coming up with more innovations that will put your product ahead of its competition. And in order to facilitate such out-of-the-box thinking, you will need to be well versed with the intricacies of your product.
To sum it up, you need to be fully involved in all the processes of a product development cycle to be able to contribute more as a founder and stick to a goal that you and your team can move towards in unison.
To help with your product development process, you can also rely on any reliable product development company in the USA because they can also help you gain deeper insight into what makes products successful.