One of the areas most first-time entrepreneurs struggle with is product focus. Whenever a new startup gets going, there’s a completely clean slate with which to build the application. As more early adopters and customers use the product, more ideas and feedback come in on how to enhance it. Entrepreneurs love selling and building things, so when a customer makes a product request, the natural inclination is to add that feature. Only, that’s the fastest way to build a product that’s no longer cohesive.
Here are a few thoughts on product focus:
- Have an opinionated vision for the future
- Don’t assume all customer requests are the same
- Make sure and say ‘no’ three times as often as saying ‘yes’
- Either have a product manager on the team or great get a great advisor that has strong product management experience
- More product code equals more technical debt, which slows down future development
- Read the book Getting Real by 37signals as it provides a number of solid anecdotes concerning product focus
Product focus is one of the biggest challenges for first-time tech entrepreneurs. Apply a lens to every feature request and continually asked the following question: does this apply to 80% of the customers that we want using our application.
What else? What are some other thoughts on product focus?