Bhaskar Ahuja is the founder of Originscale Corpa serial entrepreneur and product manager specializing in product management for startups.
Designing a product offering for your startup can be more complicated than it looks from the outside, especially when it comes to turning it into a “perfect product solution” to offer to your users. Offering design is a systematic process that starts with figuring out the potential pricing and final offering of the product. The product for an early stage startup can be all the more intimidating.
But you don’t have to worry. This simple step-by-step guide will give you an overview of how to design a successful product offering for your fledgling startup — and get you started right away. Here’s how to create your product offering and also make sure it fits exactly with your customers’ needs.
Step 1: Select your target audience
The customer is king, so let’s start with that: you need to select an audience for your product to target. This audience allows you to get a clear picture of what your product should be like, what the price range should be per customer buying capacity, and what they want in the product.
Step 2: Problem analysis
The next step should be to find a problem and make an effort to fix it. Your audience will be seduced by your offer if and when it successfully solves a problem they face with a current offer. When you offer your product, you need to make sure that you provide your user with a solution to their pain point.
Step 3: Idea
After you’ve decided what your target audience is and how you’re going to try to solve their problem, the next likely step is to get out in the field and generate ideas for your offering. Hold a meeting – this can be a great place for all teammates to pitch their ideas and see what works best. This would also help make a rough draft and decide what works for what.
Step 4: Competitive Research
Conducting competitor research is a critical aspect of designing a perfect offering for your startup. Keeping an eye on competitors can help you see what other companies in your niche are offering. This provides valuable ideas and inspiration and helps you be unique in your offering so that your product stands out. It also ensures that you are not just doing what others are already doing or copying from them.
Step 5: Mapping the user journey
A user journey map helps you better understand the interactions between your user and your offering. The more paths you can predict that the user will take, the better you understand how users interact with your offering.
Step 6: sketch and wireframe the offer
The steps of sketching and wireframing are used to visualize design ideas for the user interface. Sketching focuses on visualization by allowing the designer to test different options from all the offers offered and choose the most suitable one. Wireframing deals with page structure and the hierarchy of elements and takes into account interactions between them.
Step 7: Prototyping
“Prototyping” refers to the process of designing a demo product (in this case, a demo offering) for target users before releasing the final offering to your wider audience. It encompasses the various stages that allow product owners, designers and/or business analysts to identify key areas of concern. These key concerns can include user needs, information architecture, visual design, navigation, usability, and more.
Step 8: Testing with the Product Design Team
A good strategy is to test your offering with your team. Make sure not to skip this step; it lets you remove errors and inconsistencies and fix errors that you may have missed during the previous stages. You can also sometimes get new ideas to make some adjustments here and there.
Step 9: Test with your users
Testing your offering is the most important step to building a perfect product offering. Test your offering with a select group of different customer personas to understand what works and what doesn’t. This is more practical as you are targeting your potential customers directly.
Step 10: Feedback
Never forget to take feedback from your users and ask them how easy or difficult it is to work with your product offerings. Take all feedback seriously, especially what it tells you about how successful your offering is in solving the problem you chose in Step 2, and work on any areas that should be improved.
How do you know if your offer is the perfect one?
You need to keep three important points in mind to perfectly tailor your product offering to your customer: The offering must be simple and affordable to use, differentiate itself from other niche products and solve the user’s pain points. Once you have created your offer, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and see if your product meets all of the above points.
Let’s face it: designing a product offering for an early stage startup is complicated. It requires both expertise and experimentation. You may not be successful on the first attempt itself, but don’t lose hope. Keep trying new and unique approaches and be persistent. This game of trial and error will make your startup thrive. The last word: be fearless and take risks!