How to turn idea into a product? Step-by-step guide
Tremendous numbers of ideas are coming to people's heads. You could check it by your own — in one day our brain have a possibility to generate a myriad of them. Once you will get a really good one or you've already got it. That's how business starts. But hold on, isn't it the same scenario for failure as well? Actually not. There is a certain discrepancy between two versions of our story. One version has a successful result with high level of quality and profit. Another one has a painful workflow and many challenges that do not bring anything except losing time. Let`s check the difference and discover how to turn idea into a product.
The greatest Chinese general Sun Tzu was not only a military strategist and historical figure of ancient China. Also he was a real philosopher and centuries later became a guide for modern business. His widely influential work The Art of War has affected both Western and Eastern business world. At the offices of most intelligent companies in China you can see the calligraphy quote posters with phrases of Sun Tzu. So what is the secret of his strategy that every resourceful leader wants to implement? There is a complex of actions that Famous general recommends for winning. Sun Tzu said: `The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.` It means if you are going to start a business you must create a really strong platform to minimize the risk. There will always be some danger in the process, caused by different reasons. But at the very beginning of your path there is only idea, that you should protect by strong strategy and tactics. So what to do?
Analytics — the first thing you must have
Yes, analytics is playing the most important role in your startup. The logical and gradual research will give you a balanced understanding of your product and its unique value proposition. Also you will discover a clear project goals and revenue streams, customer segment, complete and deeper understanding of problem, that your product is called to solve. Let`s take a look at these processes in more detail.
Goals you want to reach with this product
Purpose and goals are something that we should correlate with high motivation, inspiration and stuff like that. But the main word “a goal” should correspond with is “a discipline”. And the discipline is a very intelligent and consistent way to develop your idea. On understanding the idea questions like: “why? what for?” may arise. And our goal will be the answer.
Project goals and monetization
Which goals you want to reach with your product and how it will make money — this questions are like a crash test for every startup. Try to make the answer as simple as possible. Leave your deep and high ideas in your secret case — they will give you an inspiration soon. But if you really want to find out the project goals and monetization issue brilliantly clear — you should lay the answer clear as a bell even to a child. Then find a child and tell about your project goals. Keep trying till your statement becomes as simple as possible.
Target audience research
When you have goals and money streams — let`s find your user. First of all take a look at the general situation. Target audience research is a way to explore the group of all people that are able to use your product at least once in their life. This is really a huge number of people you will meet with through polls, statistics data analysis and behavior algorithms. Why is it important to know all this info and work with it? It will give you an accurate knowledge about why they are spending money for your product and how to make this process more profitable for each of the sides. For example if you know how your target audience is spending their free time — you will find out the most proper time to offer an information about your product.
Analysis of the target audience and the market
To analyse the market that you are going to join you should be ready to change some of your goals. This is the purpose of analysis — when you are exploring something — you are changing your opinion. And this is okay. It will even make your startup better than it was at the very beginning. It should be like that. Analysis of the market consists of few steps so you will find what market needs, how competition goes here, which barriers will you meet on entering, how market grows and of course market trends. Target audience has its own segmentation by range, gender, style of life, preferences, current education or employment status, country of residence and localization of buying and so on. Segmentation will help you to recognize a different groups of your users. In future it will be very crucial for your startup to build a focused and direct action (new products, PR-management, events and so on).
While we were talking about target audience research we had in mind a group of people. But when we are talking about the user — we mean the individual. User research and analysis will provide you with instruments to improve your product, services and experiences.
There are a lot of user research methods and you can choose the most correct for your strategy.
Most interactive method in user research is an interview. Obviously, because you are connecting with your user, getting the answers that will be helpful at the stage of implementation.
Another great method to understand your user is the map of empathy. There is a great saying : try to put yourself in other people's shoes. A process of empathy mapping helps us contemplate and consider how our users are thinking and feeling. Also it helps to zoom out and get the extensive understanding about user`s emotions and experiences. To make a map of empathy we need to stick to user`s environment and simulate some situation in our mind. Then we can find out what user would see, feel, say and after all — do. Nowadays we should develop the empathy to our customer to make him or her happy and satisfied.
Customer Journey Map or CJM
One more method is customer journey map — a visual interpretation of an individual communication with a company, brand or product. The information goes from the user's perspective, but at the same time accentuate the fundamental interactions between user expectation and business requirements. CJM consist of personas, that illustrate the needs of user, timeline or variable phases of decision making and purchase, emotions that accompany all processes, touch points that illustrate the interactions with your brand, channels or context of use : website, app, call-center, store, etc.) But before you make a customer journey map you need to create personas. Probably, creating personas is the most interesting part of user research process.
Persona is a fictional character, which is part of the target audience with similar habits, behavior and motivation. Persona consists of descriptions of the user, user story, its environment, its problems and goals. Compilation of persona is necessary for a deeper understanding of your users through personalization, empathy and communication. It`s fairly easy to create a personas, even though there are many tools for it. And after all you will recognize what are the benefits of painstaking. And it would be much easier to jump into the next stage — use case.
Use case is step-by-step path using your product. When we talk about use case scenarios we imagine a person that comes to the product and how uses it. We simulate various situations in which a person can go to the site or in app. In fact you can imagine yourself like you are an author of user`s future. Imagine and fix a set of options that can happen. Think of a book of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy " — there was a moment where heroes face the variability of subjects with parallel realities. It`s really funny and joyful.
We can refer to Lean Canvas method to summarize User research process: is strategic management and lean startup template to generating and ordering business models or to creating the new one. Business Model Canvas was offered by Alexander Osterwalder in 2008. Now we know it as Lean Canvas. It consists of problem, solution, unique value proposition, unfair advantage, consumer segment, key metrics, high level concept, channels, early adopters, cost structure and revenue streams.
What is the value users willing to pay for ? Why should they use exactly your product and no one`s else? You will never know what is better for your user, until you make a deep research. This is UX design — to get data analytics and to test a prototype. User experience can give you an impulse to improve your recipe. When you are preparing a cake you are tasting a cream and biscuit, right? So do the same with your product and clarify your customer`s needs.
And the last one, we want to call your attention to — is Competitor Analysis. Everybody knows about SWOT-analysis method. So use it to identify and establish criterions of your quality. The thing is when you will make an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors — you will find out a possibility for your product. All you need to do is to turn their weaknesses into your strengths.