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Blueprint for Building and Sustaining Successful Product and startup.

If you’re embarking on the journey of building a product and launching a startup, I highly suggest watching the movie “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” This powerful story sheds light on the process of innovation and the challenges faced when bringing an idea to life.

Pay close attention to how the protagonist, William Kamkwamba, goes from ideation to creating a prototype and ultimately developing a full-fledged product. His determination, resourcefulness, and ability to overcome obstacles offer valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the film underscores the importance of assembling the right team for your venture. Building a successful startup isn’t just about hiring individuals based on their qualifications or for financial incentives. It’s about forming a cohesive team with a shared vision, passion, and commitment to a common agenda and mission.

When assembling your team, consider individuals who not only bring expertise and skills to the table but also align with your values and are driven by a genuine desire to contribute to something meaningful. Cultivating a culture of collaboration, trust, and purpose within your team will be pivotal to your startup’s success.

Remember, the journey of entrepreneurship is filled with ups and downs, but with the right team and mindset, you can navigate through challenges and turn your vision into reality. So, gather your team, watch the movie for inspiration, and embark on your entrepreneurial adventure with confidence and purpose.

With 15 years of experience in the B2B sector, I’ve worked for major enterprises, overseeing teams of over hundreds of engineers. I’ve developed large multitenant platform for 14 electricity distribution companies in India and played a crucial role in the Ujala scheme, India’s one of the largest government project.

In addition, I’ve collaborated with leading global telecommunication companies. I’ve successfully developed a high-capacity TPS (Transactions Per Second) oriented digital product and mobile application, serving over 20 million users and handling daily requests exceeding one billion on the platform.

startelelogic also partnered with startups, helping them evolve from MVP to fully-fledged products. During this journey, I’ve observed a common trend among new-age entrepreneurs—they often overlook fundamental B2B products requirements, neglecting core issues. It’s surprising to see investors supporting these ventures, despite the absence of a clear use case or problem statement.
As a digital product development company, we offer advice and guidance to these entrepreneurs. Despite our recommendations, some persist in engaging us for their projects, investing significant sums without a defined direction.

So, here I aim to outline a detailed step-by-step process before embarking on building an enterprise product.

Uncover Market Needs and Refine Your Idea

To successfully develop B2B products or solution, it’s crucial to follow a few fundamental processes.

The initial step involves identifying gaps in the current market and determining the essential requirements that are lacking. I suggest reaching out to potential customers to grasp their pain points thoroughly. Also, it’s crucial to assess the market size to ensure that the product we develop serves a larger audience, rather than being tailored to a single enterprise.

Once you’ve conducted market research with real customers, start by engaging with your existing loyal customers. I assume you’ve spent few years working with various clients, allowing you to establish strong relationships with them.

Technology Provider Agreement

Here, it’s essential to proceed with caution and include additional points in the agreement. You’ll need a team for management and future development, especially if you intend to establish an in-house team later. Initially, the focus may not be heavily on UI/UX, as these aspects can be addressed at a later stage.

Your agreement should contain a clause allowing you to potentially hire team members from your technology providers’ pool in the future, perhaps after two or three years, with an understanding that this would involve paying an additional fee. This ensures that your existing provider resources can be leveraged to build a small team for your product when the need arises.

Build and Validate Your MVP

I assume you now have a well-defined use case, a clear problem statement, and an understanding of the market size, as well as knowledge about your competitors.

Now, you need a tangible product to showcase to your customers for initial feedback. You’ll require the assistance of an technology agency to build your basic MVP, prioritizing essential features over optional ones.

Once the Minimum viable product (MVP) is developed with these crucial features, you can collect early customer feedback.

Proof of Concept and Market Entry

By now, I assume you and your technology partner have a solid understanding of each other’s perspectives. Your technology partner should have a thorough understanding of your product, including its use case, features, roadmap, and how you both handle challenges when they arise.

Now, let’s not wait for the final product to be ready. Instead, let’s dive into the market and begin conducting business.

Now, you’ll need a handful of customers for the proof of concept (PoC). I assume you have around few customers, not millions (for instance, you’re not selling something like Office 365).

Continuous Improvement and Growth

You and your team (from now on, I’ll refer to your technology partner as part of your team) will invest additional time in conducting a Proof of Concept (PoC) with a small group of customers. This is essential for testing the product and its features thoroughly, and for gathering valuable feedback to shape the development of a B2B products.

As you gather feedback from customers, keep refining your product and expanding your traction in the market.

Success can be defined by satisfied customers who are willing to pay more.

Leverage Traction and Networks

The moment a startup gains traction is when everyone wants to know what they’re up to. Investors become interested, tech blogs start writing articles about them, their valuation increases, and funding begins to pour in.

Once you’ve reached your goal of acquiring a few set number of users, leverage the networks and contacts you’ve established thus far.

Build a team that is ready to take ownership

Now, it’s time to build a robust team for your company.

Thanks to your agreement with the technology provider, you already have some resources on board. However, to meet the demands of the upcoming market, your human resources department will need to hire additional staff across various areas such as technology, sales, marketing, and product management.

Look for individuals who share your company’s goals, are proactive, and ready to take ownership. Set clear expectations, grant them autonomy, and avoid micromanaging or spoon-feeding.
Let them learn from any mistakes they make along the journey.

Final advice: When assembling your team, it’s crucial to have your existing provider collaborate with your current team for a year to ensure a thorough knowledge transfer.

This period allows your existing provider to train new hires effectively, giving them the necessary time to learn. Moreover, this setup frees you from dealing with minor tasks, as your existing provider is already acquainted with your product and customer needs.

The Full Product Launch

Now, you’ll probably have customer quotes, blog posts, and live presentations featuring your customers at industry events.

How Product is perceived

B2B: Products are tolerable at best
“I LOVE my company’s VPN!” 
-No one, ever

B2C: Products aspire to be lovable!
“I LOVE using LinkedIn and Twitter to create content”

Last piece of advice

Never release a press statement without having worked with the customer for at least six months, or ideally, a few years.

I’ve noticed that people often crave media coverage as soon as they sign a contract or agreement. However, this approach is flawed. It’s essential to first work with them for a few months or even a year to build a strong relationship. Then, you may consider issuing a press release. By that time, your customers’ competitors will already be aware of your product, and you’ll have gained valuable word-of-mouth recognition, which is often more effective than a press release. Save press releases for announcing new feature launches in the product.

To create startups for B2B products requires a lot of patience. You’ll encounter plenty of negative feedback, but always remember why you’re creating a B2B products to solve real problems.

Don’t chase investors; instead, focus on making your customer your investor. Your customer will provide feedback and pay you without taking any equity in your startup.
“70-80% of Venture Capitalists Add Negative Value To Startups.” – Vinod Khosla
Moreover, once you establish yourself, the world will want your product to be the best, and it’s your customers who will always demand excellence.

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