Developing your way to success or failure…

During the last month, I have been in board meetings and thinking to myself about what was going well and what wasn’t.  And when the discussion came to revenue, one common theme that always seemed to surface was a focus on the next product.  What I mean is that when discussing why our current product wasn’t selling as well as it should have or getting as many users as projected, the answer was always focused on the next product or feature.  Granted, I have always believed that one needs an insanely great product or service to generate sustainable revenue and that constant iteration is key to success.  However, it is also important to understand why a current product or service is or isn’t doing as well as you thought.  In addition, entrepreneurs must also think about how they are going to get the product to the market and come up with the right messaging.  I have seen a number of situations where entrepreneurs can get too focused about developing and releasing the next product or feature without spending as much or even more time and resources in getting it out to the market.  Then when management and the board sit down to evaluate what went wrong, the answer seems to be that people clearly didn’t care.  That can be a huge failing because the product or service may actually be phenomenal but just may have had no marketing or support in reaching potential customers.

So my advice is that before you place all of your bets on the next product or feature, make sure you put enough effort into crafting the right message and value proposition and that you put just as many resources into getting it out to the market.  In other words, give your product a chance to succeed and don’t starve it to death.  Constantly developing new technology without having a well-thought out plan to get it to market can spell doom!  Developing your way to success can work only if you realize that it is only part of the battle.   

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