Effective Product Creation: Tips Used by Seasoned Entrepreneurs

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Make your products standout! Bulletproof your product development process using these tips from entrepreneurs that learned by doing.

“It’s time to hang the gloves,” you murmur to yourself as you let out a deep sigh after experiencing yet again another crushing defeat.

You’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a swiss-army-knife-like product that has all the bells and whistles that you think your audience would love.

But when you made it available to the public, it didn’t get the traction that you thought it would get.

In short - It totally flopped!

That’s quite possibly one of the most frustrating blow an entrepreneur has to deal with.

Not many are able to come back after experiencing this kind of defeat. Not only does it hurt a person's wallet, but his ego and motivation to succeed in business can easily be demolished as well. It’s during times like these when most entrepreneurs question whether or not they’re really cut out for the task, or if they should just get back to their 9 - 5s.

Don’t choose the latter.

While there are certainly a lot of factors that could cause your product to flop, there are several strategies you can use to drastically decrease the chances of this happening.

And that’s what I’m going to share with you.

1. Start With a Realistic Buyer Persona

So what’s a buyer persona anyway, you might ask?

Buyer personas are characters synthesized by your team (or a group of people) to summarize and model who your ideal customers are. They aren’t real people. They are just representations of who you think your customers are based on your research.

As you can probably imagine, conceptualizing your product based on a realistic buyer persona is a crucial step to creating an amazing product. Not only does it help push you in the right direction as far as what features to add or how you’ll price your product, but it’d also give you insights on how to market your product effectively (among others).

And so the question becomes, how exactly do you create a realistic buyer persona?

For starters, here are some details that you can fill out:

  • Gender
  • Financial Situation
  • Address
  • Profession
  • Civil Status
  • Education
  • The common problems that they deal with (pertaining to your industry, of course).
  • Buying habits.
  • Hobbies
  • Time availability

It’s important to note that these are just some of the details that you can add to your buyer persona. The more specific you are, the better.

For example, if you are in the internet marketing niche, an element that you can add that would be considered as specific are…

Their main marketing methods. Are they into PPC, SMM, or SEO (among others)? Their number of employees. Their target customers.

Are they into large corporations? Or are they targeting small business owners?

Another thing that you should do is to add a picture to your buyer persona. This will help you (and your team) conceptualize who your buyer persona really is.

Once you’ve created a realistic buyer persona, you can then craft your product based on your buyer persona’s dynamics. Hubspot.com published a detailed resource about buyer personas, if you are looking to learn more about it, you can check out their guide.

2. Use Surveys or Customer Feedback

What better way to determine the features that your customers would like your product to have, than to ask them directly, right?

And so, the strategy becomes:

Ask your existing customers for feedback through surveys.

Create your product based on the insights you’d get from your survey.

If this is your first time doing surveys, here’s a tip. Don’t just send your customers an email asking your survey questions. Use a platform like Questback. That way, you can track your customers’ feedback real-time instead of manually opening each email to see what kind of reply they gave you. In addition to the efficiency of using the platform, you can also give your customers a better experience because of the custom design the platform allows you to use.

One more thing. Don’t just ask your customers the questions, “What kind of features would you like the product to have?” 

In most cases, your customers don’t really know what they want. Instead, you can ask them questions like, “What are your challenges/difficulties in using our product?”.

Asking questions like the latter will give you feedback that’s more realistic, instead of something that your customers will just come up on a whim.

3. Spy on Your Competitors

Depending on what you make of your competitors, they can either be a curse or a blessing to your business.

One of the ways you’ll be blessed by your competitors is that they’ll give you a clear idea of what’s working, and what isn’t.

That being said, you no longer have to go through the whole “throwing spaghetti on the wall” phase. You can just research the heck out of their best selling products to see why it works, then create something that’s better. All the while making sure that your product has the elements that’s making your competitor’s product profitable.

4. Use the Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper technique is often used in the context of content marketing, however, it isn’t just limited to that.

If you’ll give it a bit more thought, you’ll realize that this technique is pretty much applicable to product creation as well.

Before anything else, allow me to give you an idea of how the skyscraper technique works.

In Brian Dean’s words, this is the 3-step process the skyscraper technique is made of...

  1. Find link-worthy content
  2. Make something even better
  3. Reach out to the right people

Sure. Step number three might not delve into the product creation side since it is used for marketing. However, step one and two are pretty much spot on.

To use the skyscraper technique in the process of product creation, you simply need to:

  1. Compile a list containing your competitor’s products - their best-performing ones at that (in terms of sales)!
  2. Mash everything up (and then some) to make something better.

As you can probably imagine, you’ll come up with a super product that your customers will surely find valuable.

What makes your product more amazing is that it is a one-stop-shop for your customers. They can get everything they need from the product you created, instead of using 2 - 3 different products to solve their problems.

Warning

I’ll be honest with you, while the tips I shared seem solid and bulletproofed, none of it can guarantee at 100% that your product will be successful. It’ll drastically increase the chances of it succeeding, though, but that’s about what it can do.

Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that can guarantee your success. That being said, it’s crucial that you be vigilant about your surroundings while implementing the tips that I mentioned.

If you’ll keep an eye out for trends and signs as far as how your audience are reacting towards your actions, you’d then be able to tweak your product accordingly so you could create something that your audience would truly love.

What’s next?

Are there additional product development tips and strategies that you’d like to share to the community? If you answered with a “yes”, then please share them in the comments section below.

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