“The biggest risk for most start-ups is building something nobody wants”

Posted on May 18, 2014 02:57 pm

Startup is renowned in entrepreneurship circle as an early stage company working to provide solutions with a repeatable and scalable business model. Many start-ups are doubtful about when would be the right time to start marketing after product development. Most do not have the huge budgets that big brands can allocate to investment at this stage of the process. Some start-ups think that after finishing product development, they should move straight to product-promotion planning, to be widely realized by marketing and putting more emphasis on brand creation. But this is not yet appropriate for any start-up at this early stage. In sub Saharan Africa, the startup landscape is still in its infancy, yet holds a very promising prospect with its sizable and growing market, and encompasses a wide range of fields from technology-based venture to social enterprise, creative industry, among others.A lot of young entrepreneurs in Africa begin their startup journey by using up their personal savings and raising funds from their inner circle mainly family and friends. At this stage, banks are simply out of the question for outside financing due to the lack of credentials and collaterals typically associated with a startup company. Apart from funding constraints, in the process of growing startups to become more profitable and sustainable, other problems often strike as well, such as legal issues, market validation, supplier sourcing, and also psychological deterrent, like the lack of motivation to succeed.

In light of this discovery, numerous experienced entrepreneurs in Africa have begun to form a supportive environment for startups to bring their business ideas to fruition. It is important to consider whether the product is still incapable of proving traction and do active customers exist and if not, it means the product is not the right solution to potential customers’ problems. If you attract more users through endeavor only from marketing, the more the bad impression will be among customers, and this will eventually link to a bad image of the product itself.Consequently, the features of the product being rejected by mass users cannot be evaluated. In my experiences, lean start-up which means utilizing the concept of lean to be applied for the product-development stage of a start-up. Lean start-up transforms a start-up by concentrating on the first priority of the user’s actual problem as the basic principle.  Customer insight must be clearly understood in order to reduce time and develop only in ways that are appropriate and necessary. A lean start-up starts with focusing on what problems customers are actually facing and longing for a solution to, as a must-have or nice-to-have product. After that, proceed toward the product-development period, having established the most essential point of proof that such a product is actually required by users. The indicator at this point is actual usage that can be applied by customers undertaken by real testing with a target group of users and not widely in a big group, but limited among those with whom we can associate for in-depth discussion and seek sincere opinions and comments on the product.

Contador Harrison