Christopher Murphy stresses the need for focus as you begin to build your product roadmap
Christopher Murphy stresses the need for focus as you begin to build a product
With your business launched and – hopefully – successful, it’s tempting to start to establish plans for expansion. In my article ‘Repeat’ (net #300) I stressed the need to develop new products or services to ensure that you have a pipeline of products. As I noted:
“A single product will only maintain momentum for so long and, as such, over time you’ll naturally see a fall-off in sales. This is where building a ‘pipeline of products’ comes in. The secret is to release new products often and maintain contact with your customer base.”
Adding new products or services to your mix will help to drive sales. However, it’s important that you don’t lose focus by adding new products that don’t fit with your overall brand story.
Businesses often fail as they grow due to a loss of focus. As more products are added to the mix, the underlying vision and values of the business can become diluted. This can lead to confusion in the minds of customers about what your brand stands for and what its purpose is.
Branching out in too many directions, especially if you have a small team, leads to a lack of focus and puts a strain on your resources in terms of time, attention and money. This is why focus is critical.
The more products or services you add to the mix, the more time and energy you need to devote to them and by spreading yourself too thin you run the risk that all of your efforts underperform. In the worst case scenario, this can lead – ultimately – to the failure of the business.
A FOCUSED MISSION
As you plan a product roadmap be sure to constantly check in with your values and vision, ensuring that what you are working on remains aligned with your original mission.
Using your original vision as an anchor, it’s important to establish an overall strategy with a clear sense of direction. This vision – drawn from your values – is unlikely to change over the medium term and it’s important that you stick to it.
This is where a mission statement, even if you’re a small company, can help. If you’ve taken the time to create a mission statement, you can check against it as you develop new ideas for products. If a new product doesn’t fit the mission, you know you need to rethink it.
My focus at Tiny Books ( www.tinybooks.org) is simple: “To help others build better businesses by providing digital tools for digital entrepreneurs”. This short sentence, which took a considerable amount of time to write, is the result of distilling and defining my mission.
As I work to develop new products, I check back against it and – if the fit isn’t right – I start again from scratch. Adding new products that aren’t a fit with the mission statement will lead to confused customers and confused customers tend to seek alternative solutions.
As you build your product roadmap, it’s important not to lose sight of focus. As David Hieatt of Hiut Denim puts it: “Do one thing well”. If you focus on doing that your customers trust in your brand will grow and you’ll find yourself reaping the rewards.
Hiut Denim is focused on one thing: denim. This focus is encapsulated in its mission to: “Do one thing well”