'My Product Needs to Be Perfect Before I Release It to Users': The Biggest Mistake Entrepreneurs Make
Entrepreneurial learning path
With each new app, I applied what I had learned from previous experiences, and my technical knowledge expanded, allowing me to continuously increase the quality of my products. As my experience level grew, however, the complexity of the app stores also grew, as suddenly apps were required to have logins, data backups, online syncs, communities, and so on. What took me two to three months to develop now required twice that or even more. It became more and more difficult to build competitive apps as a solo developer.
I also started noticing that many of my competitors had a lot of cool features which were not in my apps, and I started developing the naive impression that my competitors’ success was driven by them. I wanted my apps to be as robust as theirs, and so as my coding skills improved, I started developing as many features as possible in my apps. This further increased the complexity of the app development, however, some of the features did not function properly, which ultimately resulted in longer development times and a lower quality user experience.
My focus on competing with these apps by developing more features not only crippled my app development speed, but also derailed my concentration on the main problems I was trying to solve for the users.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but trying to build apps as complex as some of the larger companies, who likely had deep pockets and full development teams, was clearly a battle that I could never win as a solo developer, especially in the increasingly complex app store environment. As my apps experienced lower ratings and declining download volumes, I became demoralized. I started to question myself, thinking, “my coding skills have improved so much and my apps have so many more features, why are they not as successful as before?”
Simple and Functional vs. Feature-Rich and Complex
Eventually I realized that early on, although my coding skills were more limited, the output of my apps was simpler and more targeted on solving the main customer pain point, which ultimately led to a much better user experience.
The fact is that users want simplicity, the least amount of steps to get from point A to point B. It required a lot of pain and suffering, but this was one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned in business.
Fast forward a few years, I am now running Tech387 and working with many clients who are young, hungry entrepreneurs like I was, with the same naive ambitions. I tell every one of them my story in hopes that they do not make the same mistakes that I did.
You do not need a fully developed software product to release it. In creating a minimum viable product (MVP), try to solve your customer’s main pain point with the least amount of features, just enough to prove your concept. Once people start using it and you begin to scale, then and only then should you begin adding features.
Startups in the software business do not fail because of bad ideas, they fail because of poor execution and an intense fear of not having enough features, aka releasing an “imperfect” product.
Keep it simple!
If you are stuck in a similar situation, or if you have any questions feel free to reach out over email at firstname.lastname@example.org as I am happy to help and / or offer any advice that I can.