When you open up the folders of any technology organization (mostly web applications), you will find a section dedicated to brilliant ideas that never bloomed or went live. The number of pages in this section will be more, if an organization focuses in working with start-ups and entrepreneurs.
A venture which dies a premature death is of no use for any stack holders, including the firm that plays a role in developing the application. Off late I have made a conscious decision to play the devil’s advocate. I shake up the person’s belief, if it is shallow I give them few pointers to work on and reschedule the call. This may seems to be a benevolent thing to do, but there is a bit of selfishness to it. I want my organization to work on projects and bet on the winning horse. Revenue and profit is just one part of the equation, being associated with winning horses will push you to a different league.
Many a time’s people and organizations tend to forget that, an online business or an application is also a product for someone. Facebook may be a service, evernote.com may be a service, but it is a product which bringing in revenue for the founders and ever note is a product which I use to scribble notes and record my mom’s recipes. No one really defined a product needs to be tangible, if so it is time to rewrite that rule. When you achieve this leap of faith, you end up seeing thing more clearly.
I wanted to insert an image (so that it does not become boring for you and I get to fill up pages) and the best fit that I could think of is a product life cycle (PLC) diagram.
Certain PLC also talks about development prior to the introduction stage. Development is very important stage for an online product. The beauty is in this era of technology driven products, the development and introduction is a reoccuring process,for example iPhone, the add on features that evernote.com and facebook.com offers.
What is the missing piece and the context of this article. Majority of the time, people tend to think that developing an online solution or service is the major part. In reality it is only the starting of the long journey. Lets look at the users gained story of evernote.com.
What are the other part of the equation, Instead of getting into the details, I would like to share a checklist of questions you will have to answer.
- What do you want to sell?
- Whom do you want to sell it to?
- Why would they be interested?
- How are you different from others?
- How are you disrupting the market equilibrium?
- Who will go out of business? Or will lose market share?
- How is your business model different?
- Where are your customers?
- What do they do?
- How will you get to them?
- What will you do to get to them?
- What is the cost of getting to them?
- What will you do to sell to them?
- What is the cost of selling to them?
- What are the financials & numbers you foresee?
- What are the resources required? (Man Power, Infrastructure, Money, Raw Materials etc…)
- How will you source the resources?
- What is the sustainability and growth plan?
- Who or what will put you out of business?
- What are the limitations?
- What is your current strength?
- Who is the team?
- What is the unknown?
- What can the external environment do Five Forces?
- What are the standardization and quality checks or parameters?
- Do you have system & process in place or at least have you thought through it?
Majority of the time, it seems like lots of paper work. Sometimes it feels like a idea killer. The point is, you should have atleast thought about this.
Happy Dreaming and Happy Executions.