Finding product-market fit is a milestone event for every startup. You’ve done the hard work. You have a good team in place. Your small set of customers are very happy with your product, and the channel that you use to acquire customers is working excellently! You now raise a Series A to essentially grow in multiples. And that is where product-related innovation will start taking a backseat.
The past 18-24 months that you worked so diligently to ship code in a week is gone. Today, your product team has a lot more complications to deal with, a lot more integrations to navigate, a lot more customers to cater to.
Let’s dive into some of the common reasons why this happens:
1. Technical issues
The days of an idea to installation in under X days is over. Today, you have architectural issues that you did not have to deal with in the past. You do not have just one customer or an isolated use case to divert all attention to. Today’s customer base is growing, is a lot more complex. Today you can not ship code quickly before assessing the ramifications of an error company-wide. You need to do it perfectly, seamlessly, without causing any outages. Easier said than done. And this takes time.
2. Changing focus
Gone are the days when the founder has just one thing to do- create. Today the founder has to carefully assess her time. She is dealing with hiring, fundraising, investor relations, board meetings, compliances, and whatnot. Most likely, the time spent earlier on finding product-market fit, understanding customer needs, and creating a roadmap is now going into the activities that previously did not exist.
As you grow your customer base, you cant move at the same quick speed you used to operate at earlier. This is because of the time and effort required in customer education with every change. Even a minor tweak in the UI can lead to a massive influx of customer queries which cost a reasonable bandwidth of the team to solve. While most of these issues can not be countered easily, startups can focus on these areas by doing the following:a) Promise an assurance of quality and stick to itb) Help build transition plans for existing customersc) Get someone or some time to run product full-time No problem is unsolvable in today’s world, just requires innovative ways to tackle it. Maybe you can find your lost mojo of innovation back in the front seat!