A Great Product Also Needs a Great Story

December 19, 2012

9:00 am

There are countless obstacles a startup will face while attempting to succeed. For many, it simply comes down to the product itself. Is it innovative enough? Is it solving a real problem? Is it unique enough to withstand the competition? These are all questions founders should continually ask themselves.

What if the answer to all of them is a resounding yes, but you still aren’t seeing expected returns?

Sometimes a great product isn’t enough. Sometimes you need a compelling story to go along with the product for it to truly succeed. In most cases, that “story” isn’t going to be told by the architect of the product, or the engineer who coded it. It needs to be envisioned and executed by someone with an eye for business, a passion for marketing, and a vast knowledge of the space you’re in. This is where a non-technical cofounder or early employee becomes so imperative.

This “story” encompasses a lot and is typically told best by a person who understands all sides of the company. It is everything from your elevator pitch for investors to your sales deck for potential clients. A consistent vision that is creatively implemented and integrated across all forms of your marketing can turn a great product into a great company. There’s a big difference between the two, because great companies typically produce excellent returns. There are plenty of great products, however, that never turn the corner and actually generate a dime. Many times, this is because they lack the “story” that supports and ultimately sells their product.

There is no doubt that ideas in their earliest of stages need to be tested, broken, and re-written time and time again. A huge focus on development upfront is essential. But as the product begins to take shape, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the other side of your business as well. Don’t take for granted the fact that once your product is finally ready, your journey has only just begun. In the same way the development cycle and roadmap will never be 100 percent complete, neither will the fundamental parts of your business like user acquisition, sales operations, and marketing strategy.

So, take a hard look at the “story” you’re telling about your startup, and make sure it’s as fine-tuned as the product itself. Many people need first to be enticed on the front end before giving your product a shot.

As an entrepreneur and cofounder of Dallas-based Fancorps, guest author G.I. Sanders has a passion for startups, social media, and digital marketing strategies. He is a music and fitness enthusiast, frequently merging the two with the latest mobile technology. His primary goal for Tech Cocktail is to bring much-needed exposure and attention to the vast number of startups and entrepreneurs in the southern United States, particularly central Texas. Follow him on Twitter @gisanders.

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