When working on developing new products and services, we are facing numerous questions – almost overwhelming in numbers! So what is the key to sustaining product development with all it’s uncertainties we asked ourselves…is it being a smart follower, is it the highest ratio of features per price, is it the size of your marketing budget that decides over success or failure?

We have looked at several players in our field and in related fields – the soothing observation was that apparently “deep pockets” (aka large fundings) was more the exception than the rule and that most companies with more than a year of existence were driven by one or very few enthusiasts. Check this in your own vicinity and with great examples like AirBnB and Dropbox!

The single most important factor was timing – neither too early nor just a little bit too late.

Bill Gross

In the research, a cornerstone TED talk by Bill Gross stood out: “The single biggest reason why startups succeed”. His finding was the timing is the key success factor is timing – is plain and simple as that.

Timing (42%) is the top factor in Success
Top 5 Factors in Success by Bill Gross

So – how do you get the timing right?

In my humble opinion, there is no simple answer to that – especially when you’re developing a new service or your client base is too small to balance it’s demand curve out itself. It is like the holy grail in sales – how do you know when the client is in actual need of buying? How do you catch this sweet spot of someone looking for a service you can offer?

You cannot predict the point in time someone makes a buying decision.

Michael Kirchhof

The best solution to this is to build your solution when the tools become available to build your solution/service on (please don’t be silly thinking you can build everything yourself from scratch!). And then be patient, grow your brand and product awareness – time will tell. The bad news is that no product or service sells itself, you have to keep the momentum.

To balance the impact on your organisation, I recommend to set regular review milestones and consider keeping it up, pivot elements of the offering or to initiate a controlled sun-set for it. To complement this, it is wise to spread the risk by maintaining a decent (and brand-consistent) portfolios.

Comments, thoughts, and questions are always welcome – please get in touch!

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