Building your product isn’t the most important thing!

chrislema-face

Every week I speak with a software developer who has spent a majority of their time building a product. They've poured hours into it. They've stayed up late—and gotten up early—just so they could get to a point where their product feels ready to launch.

And when they're finished, they make it available somewhere and wait for the money to roll in.

Most of the time, the result is that there's little-to-no traffic to the site where they announced their new product, and because of that, little-to-no sales that happens.

At that point, they wonder what's happened. Why aren't things working better? Where are the results?

And the next step they take is even worse—they begin to add even more features—believing that the choice people made was to review and reject the product because it didn't have enough features.

More time. More energy. More cost.

And still, there are few sales.

So let me say this clearly – building your product isn't the most important thing!

Building your product is only one step

Let's think about your product for a second and list out all the things you likely need to do to create a successful business.

  • You need to find out what part of the market (segment) is likely to pay you
  • You need to find out what that segment struggles with – their pains
  • You need to find out how much they normally spend dealing with these pains
  • You need to validate what they'd likely pay you to solve them in a new way
  • You need to figure out what it will take to support them if they start buying your product
  • You need to price that support so you better understand your cost model
  • You need to find the messages that drive people to make a “buy” decision
  • You need to monitor the online experience (if you sell online) for gotchas in the process
  • You need to think about your competitors and create differentiating messages to the market
  • You need to create a content marketing strategy that regularly invites prospects to check you out
  • You need to think about whether you'll need or use ads

oh, and there's building your product…

Building a business is harder than building a product

The truth is that building your product is essential but not sufficient.

What you really need to do is build a business. And building one is much harder than building a product.

This is why I love services like Clarity.fm—where you can get help on every one of those items I listed above. From marketing to pricing to analysis to campaign development to creative services —people are on Clarity and are willing to help you.

I'll tell you right now, you'll need help.

Building a business is hard work. And if you're doing it for the first time, you could make mistakes that might be fatal. Decisions that are hard to turn back from.

So before you do it, get some help.

And it doesn't have to be me—there are tons of seriously amazing people on there, like my friend Jason.

His story is interesting and helpful. And it might surprise and different it is from yours—all because he didn't start by building the product. He started by building a set of customers who were ready, at launch, to buy his product.

But that's his story to tell, not mine.

And you can hear it if you call him up on Clarity.

Photo Credit: Nick Simonite

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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