March 11, 2020

Product Development Challenges for Startups

Software development is a complex endeavor for any organization: from bagging the right projects to having the right team of qualified professionals, using the right tools, ensuring on-time delivery, and meeting the demands of the modern, empowered customer.

For startups, the challenges only get amplified, given the nascent stage at which such companies are. Product development is an entirely different ball game for startups; here are some challenges that they constantly have to face:

1. Hiring top tech talent: For startups who have just ventured into the market, hiring top tech talent is probably the biggest roadblock to successful software development. Since startups begin with very little experience, have no past clients, and are constantly plagued by restricted cash flow, they fail to compete for resources they need, with the more established players hiring the top cream. With 133 million new roles expected to emerge by 2022, it is natural for bigger, well-known development firms to rake in the best talent – leaving little for startups to choose from.

To get access to the resources you need to survive, thrive, and succeed, you can partner with firms that offer qualified and certified resources. A team of qualified professionals – enriched with focused capabilities – can carry out important tasks across the software development lifecycle and deliver the right products at the right time at the right price.

2. Creating the right product idea: With almost every company in the world today – IT or non-IT – looking to invest in and build cutting-edge software products, hundreds of product ideas are floating around. For startups who are new to the industry, narrowing down on an idea that makes most business (and profit) sense is difficult – especially when established players have already taken charge of all the brilliant ones.

When scouting for a profitable software product idea, make sure to first eliminate the ideas which are impractical or too expensive to create. Sit down with core team members and build a list of workable ideas that leverage the combined skillset of your team and determine what exactly is possible or not possible. If required, conduct market research to understand gaps in the market and shortlist ideas that can be built into a product.

3. The problem with budgeting: Most of the startups are formed by a handful of professional peers who have sufficient years of IT experience and possess sound technical knowledge of how products are developed. While they have the skills and knowledge needed to build new-age products, what they lack is a good budget to get things rolling. Low budget can have a grave impact on every aspect of the development process – including hiring, business analysis, marketing, R&D, testing, delivery, and more.

If you’re looking to create great products on a low budget, make sure to start developing your product with minimal features – that are vital. Once your product is received well, you can add in more features by scaling your team of tying-up with partners who can assist in providing development and support services at an affordable cost.

4. Teams lack industry experience: Most startups boast of strong technical skillsets that are sufficient to build cutting-edge products. While proficiency is not a problem, many lack the industry experience needed to succeed. Since startups haven’t worked on many projects, they do not have enough data on the competitiveness and efficiency of their products. The products might be technically superior, but they might not solve the actual problem of the target segment and might fail to convey the product message clearly.

If you want to ensure you do not over- or under-estimate the market potential of your product, you need to make sure you build a product everyone wants to buy. Given the fact that you will be spending a significant amount of time and money in developing your product, it is advisable to first launch an MVP to understand how your product is being received by your audience. Once you are sure of its capabilities, you can then roll out your market across a larger geography.

5. Scaling the product: Startups that begin on the right note usually end up enjoying a steady level of growth. However, as they grow and expand, keeping stakeholders on the same page with the product strategy becomes a demanding responsibility. Since growth brings in more hiring, more offices, highly dispersed teams, and cultural shifts, scaling the product (and the business) requires a lot of effort and planning.

If you want to make sure your product is scalable, you need to constantly align strategy and vision throughout your growing organization. Understand that as you expand and as your development team grows, your development process has to change too. Make sure to embrace modern concepts such as Agile and DevOps, so you can break into new products and new markets with ease.

Drive value in everything you do

As customer demands get more and more elaborate, there’s a world of challenges that startups have to contend with. But there is also a world of opportunities lying ahead. The trick is to look at every challenge as an opportunity and try to drive value in everything you do!

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