Creating a new product is probably the most exciting thing that product owners or entrepreneurs can do. That is because the joy of creation is unparalleled; nothing else comes even close. And many times, the excitement drives the product owners to directly go into execution mode.
However, I have realized that it is imperative for product owners to ask two straightforward but very important questions before going into execution mode. This is based on my experience in the last 5 years of working with 60+ founders and product owners, from businesses of various sizes, operating in various industries.
Before I continue, I would like to state that although I have used the word “product” (for brevity and simplicity), it is equally applicable to a service. And though my references are IT specific, I am confident that they are applicable to non-IT products & services as well.
That said, here are the two questions to ask.
Am I solving a problem?
The first question that a product owner should ask themselves is “Am I solving a problem? And is it a real problem?”
If the answer is “yes” and if it is an unsolved problem, great! There’s nothing like it. In fact, it is a rare privilege if you find yourself solving an unsolved problem.
However, you don’t have to find an unsolved problem to come up with a product idea. Here are a few examples of the same problem solved in different ways, resulting in massive business opportunities.
- You can solve a problem more efficiently – people were communicating with each other even before telephones but telephones changed the world of communication.
- You can solve an already solved problem in a different way – mobile phones solved the same problem of long-distance communication but wirelessly.
- You can give a better user experience – mobile phones were there for years before Apple took the UX to the next level with iPhone.
- You can also give the same features/quality at a lower price – Android phones are equally popular in the market.
Any of the above approaches can give you a product idea. In other words, the better, faster, and cheaper versions of existing products are also perfectly valid product ideas!
To reiterate, product owners must ensure that their product is solving a real problem.
Will people pay for it?
The second question that a product owner should always ask themselves is, “Will people pay for it?”
Whenever product owners come up with a new product idea, they should always have a solid answer to the question, “Will people pay for it?” And a solid answer always identifies who will pay for it and what is the potential. Irrespective of whether it’s a B2B or B2C product, people will pay only when the product adds value to them or their business.
The value addition could be anything
- Direct impact on topline or bottom line of businesses
- Saving time or money for users
- Education to or entertainment of users
All these pass the criteria of creating value for customers.
If the product development cycle is long, product owners should ask these two questions all through the inception, development, and go-to-market phases of the product development lifecycle. If the answer to any of these questions becomes a “no”, then product owners should go back to the drawing board and rethink the product strategy till the answers for both these questions become “yes”.
When the answers to both these questions are strongly yes, then the product has a good chance of winning/succeeding in the market. There could be a good “product market fit”, the holy grail of product development, and the product might end up fulfilling its revenue generation potential. If you think that this might happen, then you should find the right team for execution and go for it!
In the last five years, we at CoReCo Technologies, have worked with 60+ businesses of various sizes, from various industries, from across the globe. We have helped product owners get answers to these two important questions, and also developed products and platforms for them.
This collaboration has helped our customers to get clarity about product strategy, and finally resulted in generating good revenues or attracting significant funding from investors. Sometimes this discussion encouraged them to go back to the drawing board, rethink the strategy, and come back stronger, resulting in a big saving of effort, time, and money.
Co-Founder & Director, Engineering
CoReCo Technologies Private Limited