When you start your own product company, what you have is an idea and infinite motivation along with the feeling that your product will help people. If you accept the mission, in order to achieve this goal with little or no budget, you need to transform this idea into a real business. First advice: Do not forget your customers, test your product!
During the first stage of creation, the rule of “friendship” and networking will be something important. You will see that it’s a constant quest for help, advice and demonstration; it’s exciting. You will be motivated after a great meeting, but you will also experience some fear and maybe some apprehension. I think its part of the process; it’s why talking (and listening!) to people is important.
We always see people succeed on social media, but we don’t see the road that they have traveled to get to their first real customer, a customer you never heard of before. It’s not an easy path, and I will say that the biggest enemy you have is yourself. Building a company is a constant fight against yourself. Just look at how many people around you want to be an “entrepreneur” but never take the first steps because of fear or (add an excuse).
You started the creation, and after a couple of weeks/months you have something that to show for it. Congratulations for your achievement! Starting from nothing and after lots of work, you have something now! You will see that quick feedback on a new functionality and at the same time “testing” your product will be something that will become important. It has been a big issue for me. Demonstrating and using the product yourself was one thing, but it’s not the same when you have a real user on your platform.
I want here to share a little story about a fight against myself.
As I said a moment ago, I was always looking for some users for pre-alpha testing with “constructive” feedback to improve my product. It was working at an early stage but quickly became not enough. I had to think “outside the box”, and when the box is something that you have created, thought of and built yourself, it’s hard to get out.
I have been working in testing space and it was fun to test my product. To see your idea moving to a product and becoming alive is really satisfying. With every sprint, some new things were implemented, and I was excited for the next one.
Every customer meeting brings new features and with that the feeling of helping your future customers. Seeing people getting really interested in your product and asking to see the next great feature is something hard to explain, but it feels great. This feeling is something good, but it can also make you blind.
As you may imagine, testing my own product with my developer was working like a charm because it was based on my own spec and his code. Yes, we found some issues, and in a short time, we started to find fewer and fewer issues. Something inside me started to say, “Your product is good. Now you can go open Beta!”
Thanks to my experience, I knew that it was only an illusion…
Knowing that and applying it is something that in the end was hard. I’m talking here as a “founder” because as a “founder”, the next great feature was more important than the one we have already implemented. I’m sure some of you know this feeling :). You are so enthusiastic that you forget quality. It’s easy I think to get this feeling.
Your product is like your child: you want to see him grow, but you want to give him the best education to be prepared for life.
I decided to add a little less functionality and hire a tester for 2 weeks to double-check the work already done. It was a big expense for me, and I was afraid to find nothing.
I don’t like to talk about “how many” issues were found because it’s not a good indicator, but here around ~100 issues were found, from trivial ones to blocking with high priority. Moreover, there were around 13 suggestions for improvements. We then spent 1 full week working on that and did a second round of testing. We found some regression and 10 new issues, but finally the confidence in my product grew with every release.
I believe that testing is mostly done for your customer.
Quality is something hard to get but easy to lose. And when you start, losing a customer for “just” a lack of quality goes straight to your heart.
Recently, a big company got to try my product and were happy about the quality and we are now planning to deploy the solution! The CIO told me that they were not afraid of innovation undertaken by a small company and that they weren’t afraid to give it a try. Sadly, a lot of tooling was not deployed in the end because of quality issues.
More issues = more time = more money
In conclusion, I advise you to never forget to test your product. Don’t only test it yourself, but, if possible, get a professional tester to do it. Most of you work with freelancers for development. Give testing before the first “official” version a try.
The feedback you get will result in better products.
And you what was your fight? I will be happy to read your comments about it!
Thanks for reading!
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