How to Create a Product People Line Up to Buy

You may have a brilliant product idea for workflow automation software, but the harsh truth is, no one wakes up in the morning thinking, “I need workflow automation.”

Today, entrepreneurs have within their reach all the technological innovations and new business models that can help them design a product almost instantly.

But according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, over 30,000 new products are introduced every year, and 95% fail.

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A product created for the sake of solving an interesting problem, which doesn’t take into account what your target market wants is bound to fail.

Unearthing Customer Pain Points

Unless you uncover your prospect’s real pain points, align with their insights and solve the core issues they’re facing, your product will mean little to them. The Startup Yard says, “A problem that doesn’t seem to have a solution isn’t a problem at all — it’s just an aggravation.”

Startup founders have to get in the trenches, listen to their prospects and unearth their core pain points, such as:

  • Productivity: wasting time with current solutions — such as a manual process that takes ages to complete.
  • Financial: reducing cost — a legacy software that is expensive to maintain.
  • Process: managing internal processes — no standardised process leading to more errors.
  • Support: not receiving appropriate support — don’t know how to extract the most from their current tool.

Refining the Product Development Process


Designing, developing and scaling a new product for successful adoption requires innovation as much as it does resources. The key steps to developing a new product are:

  • Solving real problems: a new product needs to solve a fundamental problem first, which requires reverse engineering how people do things, studying target buyers and discovering real-life applications of the new product.
  • Adopting the correct product development methodology: there are various methodologies, such as agile, waterfall and rapid application development. But each has different benefits and is suitable for particular industries, such as agile is commonplace in software engineering.
  • Pinning down the key assumptions of the product: startups need to make critical decisions about their innovations from the very beginning, such as will you build on open source or use proprietary software, are you going to use a public data set or collect your own data.
  • Working closely with stakeholders: seek out stakeholder inputs from the initial phase to clarify the non-negotiable tenants of the product, deployment of resources and timing of the project.
  • Establishing a product road map: startups need a multi-year road map that takes into account different variables, from work capacity to marketing budget.

Positioning Your Product



How customers perceive a brand and its product determines sales, profit and success. Startups need to imprint their new product in the minds of their customers in a way that aligns with their goals. A product positioning strategy needs to include market and competitor analysis, competitor’s product positioning and defining the position of a new product in the market, and communicating the brand’s image. Some of the key steps to positioning a new product include:


  • Defining target audience


  • Passion: Identifying key product benefits


  • Establishing brand credibility


  • Having a unique value proposition


  • Doing competitor research


  • Crafting brand messaging


  • Emphasising a competitive advantage


  • Aligning the product with the brand’s position

While getting resources for a startup is a critical barrier for success, having an investable project that solves customer pain points, a clear idea of the product development process and product positioning will play critical roles in easing the path to funding.

Register for the Cambridge Startup Funding: Pre-Seed to Exit programme today and learn to create and pitch a unique project that investors will line up to fund.

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