Forty-five million startups around the world fail every year due to a lack of market need for their products. A sound strategy is essential in the initial stages of a startup. A tactic that ensures a startup builds the perfect ‘product to market’ match. In this blog, I am going to describe the best go-to-market strategy for a startup using Design Thinking.
So what is design thinking? It is a mindset that challenges the status quo of any market. When so much is changing around us, isn’t it ubiquitous that innovation is applied more often to the way we do things? But, is innovation required? Aren’t people happy the way things are? How is Apple successful at convincing us to change our phones every nine months? The answer – Design Thinking!
The design thinking process revolves around the user/ customer. An entrepreneur must only create solutions that a user needs solving. Which means an entrepreneur only exists because there is a customer that needs a solution. Which also means, an entrepreneur must love the customer more than the product he creates. Design thinking enforces the same idea. During the initial stages of a startup, if design thinking is applied, it can raise the chances of success.
Any solution or product can be developed using the design thinking process. There are five stages in this process: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test. It is critical to understand that these steps are not sequential implying that the entrepreneur can follow any order.
In this stage, an entrepreneur focuses on understanding the market. He begins his investigation by questioning and surveying the market or the people that are most likely to use a product/ service. He understands the pain points of the people with the existing solutions in the market.
The underlying knowledge of the customer helps the entrepreneur to define the problem better. He now understands what the customer dislikes and likes in the current scenario.
Once the problem is defined, the Startup can begin ideation. In this stage, the Startup maps the journey of the user in steps. E.g., if a user needs to buy a t-shirt on an app, then the following steps take place: Step1: Login, Step2: Select t-shirt, Step3: Choose Colour/Size, Step4: Fill address, Step5: Purchase. Once the Startup maps a user’s journey, it can then categorize the previously learned pain points and gain points of the user. The Startup then prioritizes the most critical pain points that must be solved.
The most crucial pain points are the features with which prototyping begins. The first version of the product does not solve everything? Why not? Because the product is not tested. In every version of the product, one or two new features are added or improved, and then the product is launched. Key insights are received from users, and this feedback is then used to design version 2 of the product. And the circle repeats throughout the lifecycle of the product.
In this stage, a version of the product is ready. It is launched, customers buy and use the product, and feedback is received. This feedback is then used to design the next version.
At the heart of Design Thinking, is the intention to improve products by analyzing how users interact with them. Design thinking offers us a strategy of digging much deeper to uncover ways of improving user experience. Undoubtedly, Startups that apply design thinking have a better chance of succeeding than those who merely create products without assessing market needs.
About The Author:
Nitesh is the Founder, CEO and Coach of StartupMC – An intellectual accelerator for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs supporting startups at every stage of their journey through cutting-edge training, innovative technology and world-class mentorship.
Nitesh is an innovator and entrepreneur with 10 years in business leadership. He is an expert in all aspects of business formation, operation, finance, marketing and management.