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3 Tips for Developing a Product in an Early Stage Company

David Waxman, Serial Entrepreneur and Startup Mentor at Amplify LA (http://www.amplify.la/), explains how to develop and sell a product in a startup. Follow these tips to get your product out the door on a budget.

  1. Get your product to market as quickly as possible
  2. Ensure you have proper data before repeatedly making changes
  3. Understand & accept failure as part of the process

I really believe in some of the messages that come out of the Lean Startup Movement and the most important thing is to get your product out so you can get learning from real customers as quickly as possible and with the minimum of investment.

When I see founders or early teams changing their mind on a particular feature issue more than once or more than twice, I say, “Wait. Stop. If you find yourself revisiting decisions without new data more than twice, you’re making a mistake.” You got to sit back and say, “Okay, I’m going to go get some real data from the real market place whether that’s through actually launching your product or doing surveys or other kind of focus groups.” Don’t make this a too-many-decisions or don’t remake decisions without data.

Lastly, it’s really important to understand that you’re going to fail, that you have to embrace failure with your products. So you put a product out there and because you put it out and got it out as quickly as possible, there will be problems with it, that’s what you’re learning. That’s the point of putting something out there that you’re trying to learn from.

So, if things aren’t quite right, well that’s normal. Go and figure out what’s not right, go figure out why it’s not right and go change it and you can iterate, put it out again. Find out if it’s right, if it’s not right or if it could be better, iterate again and so forth until you have a really, really great product.

Get your product out to market and make sure that you’re making decisions as soon as possible based on what the market is telling you and not what your fears might be telling you. Make sure that if you’re dithering on a feature or some kind of issue, if you’re changing your mind too many times without new data – Stop, move forward. Put it out and get new data.

And remember, it’s not always going to work the first time, in fact, it probably won’t.