Startup Ideas for Business (2019)
There isn’t one single way to come up with good ideas for products or businesses. Often, the best ideas come from the problems we experience. This is not to say that you cannot solve a problem you don’t personally experience. In this blog, we explore best 50+ new Startup Ideas for Business in 2019.
The key is to really understand the problem and the industry. Only after that understanding is acquired can a product truly have the potential to thrive and become viable. Only when a product is viable can a great user experience be created to enhance it.
If your team is stuck in a rut trying to create a new product, stop and look around first. Try to identify any aspects of life that can be improved. Ask yourself: What are the scenarios and situations we’re trying to solve for? What are the jobs that people need to do? Are there things that can be simplified?
Are there products and services that can be brought to another market? Keep looking and never lose sight of the goal: building a product that does the jobs that people need to do that is 10x better than what’s incumbent.
Asking these questions will help you to frame your perspectives in thinking about the world for what it could be. Paul Graham, the renowned entrepreneur, and investor summarized this sentiment best.
Live in the future, then build what’s missing.
This quote is especially true if you’re building an innovative and technology-driven product. Graham’s statement captures the unique responsibility and opportunity that a founder has in a startup.
Like product managers, founders should also innately understand the problems that could be eradicated by the team.
Unlike product managers, however, founders bear the unique responsibility of making sure the solution being proposed, tested, and built is truly created for jobs to be done, provides the ideal human experience, and not the reverse—shoehorning the human experience into existing technology.
The key here is differentiating between the problems people say they have and the problems that they’ll pay to address, even incompletely. Sometimes, people will casually say that they want something, but when you ask them to pay for it, they back out.
These are the types of problems you want to avoid. Paul Graham used the analogy of wells, to illustrate the difference between the two types of startup ideas.
The first is one that is broad and shallow, as in it being something that is sort of a nice-to-have for a lot of people. The latter, however, is narrow and deep, meaning that a few people want that product
Graham’s suggestion is to ask the following questions, to measure an idea: Who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they’ll use it even when it’s a crappy version made by a two-person startup they’ve never heard of? If the answers cannot be found very easily, then the idea is probably not going to work.
The point of an MVP (minimum viable product) is that the product idea can be validated. The MVP must be both minimum and viable, meaning that it should represent the hypothesis as much as possible while keeping the effort invested as small as possible. Simply building a small product that is irrelevant is not going to provide much useful information.
At the same time, the viability of a product doesn’t appear magically. Otherwise, every product would be a smashing success. The key is that there needs to be a balance between the minimum and viable.
So, how do you build an MVP? The answer is to find a specific (narrow) job to be done and create a solution that addresses that specific job really well (deep).
The key here is to go deep and stay narrow, meaning that the solution should help people achieve the goals they hire the product to do in a significant way, but at the same time, limit that group of people to a very specific segment or niche. For example, Groupon started as a Wordpress blog geared to a group in the Chicago area buying coupons.
The targeted segment was limited to a specific geographic area. In the case of Spotify, the MVP was a prototype music player that contained a few songs but played music instantly and smoothly, to be shared among family and friends.
In Slack’s case, the company first focused on serving engineers at technology companies—a niche audience compared to the users and industries it serves today.
The key is that the MVP should be a real product that fulfills the job that the customer needs to be done at a minimum level. Initially, the main goal is to learn. With each round of feedback, the product gets better and better.
Build, Measure, Learn and Iterate
After the initial idea has been selected, the team focuses on making that idea a reality. The goal at this point is not to sell the idea and make a profit right away, because chances are that the product is not serving customer needs yet.
More likely than not, the kind of benefit imagined doesn’t necessarily fulfill customers’ actual needs. Therefore, there is a high probability that designers need to start over because the idea is so far off target. Embrace that uncertainty. Because through iteration, we can get closer and closer to creating a good product.
Build-Measure-Learn is an important process in the Lean startup product-development methodology developed by Eric Ries, a startup advisor, author, and entrepreneur.
Ries uses this method to help startups, by combining hypothesis-driven experimentation’s iterative product changes with validated learning from real users and customers.
The core benefit of using the Lean method is that it shortens the time to produce an MVP and that to a product/market fit—an elusive place in the market, in which the startup’s product has proven to satisfy the customer’s core need, and the startup can focus on scaling and growing the product.
Along with the Agile software development method, the Lean process has been adopted by almost all Silicon Valley startups. It has become the de facto way to build products, as they exit the idea generation phase into the idea evaluation phase.
The core concept to the Lean method is the iterative process of build, measure, and learn. In measuring customers’ and users’ reactions and behaviors against the MVP, the team makes adjustments or even pivots altogether.
While it is important to be analytical and critical in the build, measure, and learn process and move as quickly as possible, idea generation should be inclusive and welcoming, because the best idea can come from anywhere.
This is not to say that a product should be built and scoped by a committee. It is that the product team environment should be welcoming, to the point that everyone feels empowered to provide their thoughts and hypotheses.
Founders should be responsible for helping to create an environment in which ideas are welcomed and cynicism is never allowed. The yardstick measurement is that no one should feel worse for having offered an idea.
Also, enduring, world-changing products have and can never be built from the minds and efforts of lone geniuses. When great teams are in place, the whole is always much greater than the sum of its individual members. Often, teams can be very large.
Therefore, it is crucial that designers lead the team in creating an environment in which good ideas can surface from anywhere and be contributed by anyone. Because founders hold that special key to the door that connects the product definition phase to the user experience definition, they especially should strive to help the team create a nurturing environment.
Jonathan Ive provides a good explanation of why ideas must be nurtured. This is because every significant innovation seems like an impossibility at the outset.
Steve used to say to me—and he used to say this a lot—“Hey Jony here’s a dopey idea.”
And sometimes they were. Really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room and they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet simple ones, which in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.
And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.
In product design, there is no room for cynicism. Let all ideas develop and have their chance to be validated. You never know which ones are the skateboards that eventually get turned into cars.
Growth creates problems.
Many insects go through ecdysis—the periodical shedding of old exoskeletons as the insect grows. Human beings experience a period of fast growth during adolescence, yet that time is accompanied by awkwardness.
Startups are no different. Sometimes the only way to go forward is to shed old protocols, ways of doing things, and even technology stacks. Sometimes scaling means handing a variety of problems that are the result of growth.
The designer’s job, with input, gleaned from user researchers and data scientists, is to help product managers, engineers, and marketers make sense of the increasing complexity a growing product faces, through the lens of human experiences and product potentials.
To do so is to ask questions. For example, As our product grows, how is our customer’s experience being affected? What are the positive and negative extremes of that experience? How are the experiences of individual customers and users distributed?
Do they all skew toward the positive extreme, the negative extreme, or the middle? These are the questions that designers must ask. These questions can help the team realize the user experience risks associated with increased complexity and eliminate user experience blind spots.
In addition to these questions, the designer should lead the product team in painting a picture for the future—a vision for what the product can be—by collaborating with product and engineering leads, product leads to provide insights on the company’s overall strategy and roadmap, and engineering leads to illuminate possibilities on the technology horizon.
Having these conversations and achieving alignments with these leads will help designers in their creation of artifacts (for example, mock-ups and prototypes) that showcase the product’s potential as it scales up.
Presenting these artifacts can help to rally the startup team, to ensure that people are not just blindly scaling and adding complexity but doing so with the same goal in mind. The ability to quickly create mock-ups and prototypes is the superpower that designers have to provide clarity and leadership.
There’s an old saying that good designers fall in love with the solution, but great ones fall in love with the problem. This is the one principle that designers can embody to show the team, by example, what the ultimate goal is. Growth is great, but it should be a derivative and a by-product of your product creating value, through solving people’s problems.
A startup designer’s most important role in a period of growth and scale is to remind colleagues not to lose sight of what is actually important—solving problems for people. In fact, the more complex the problem, the more dedication and care the designer should bring to the table.
Teammates will sense that passion and perseverance. Many of them will embrace it, too, and not deviate from the goal of growth—which is to scale the positive impact that your product brings.
Users left one-star reviews, and many simply stopped using the product altogether after a few weeks. In the end, the company had to pull the plug on the new version and pull back to the older version of the product. Even then, some of the users did not return.
Together with engineers fully on board, the team created the slickest and flashiest transitions that would make any designer ooh and aah with excitement. However, two important things were overlooked.
First, because the transitions were very hard to build, the engineers had to rely on the processing powers of the latest mobile hardware. Second, the designs assumed that data could be loaded as soon as the app opened.
In reality, their users in the Indian subcontinent lacked the latest mobile hardware or software. Most had phones that were at least a year old, with operating systems that were a few versions, if not dozens of versions, behind the latest one.
Many of the users also did not have 4G or 3G connection, meaning that they could not pre-download the data, as required by the new version.
The result of these two factors caused the product to provide a slow and sometimes completely unresponsive experience—a huge letdown following the fanfare, and a huge step backward from the previous version of the product, a version that despite being old, still worked.
Of course, the engineering and QA teams bear some responsibility for this big mishap. They should have rigorously tested the product on all devices and noted the subpar performance on older devices. However, the bigger fault lies with the designers of the product. They should have studied the market and understood the persona they were designed for.
A persona is a character, created by designers and researchers and based on in-depth research, that represents a person who might use the product in a typical way.
A persona does not represent an average of all possible user traits, characteristics, and preferences; rather, it is an example of what a real user of the product could be like. The work to research and create personas generates a lot of empathy and insights into the target market and audience.
This work was either missing or largely overlooked when the new product was designed. Instead of understanding the contexts and environments of real users, the designers focused primarily on aesthetics, thus ultimately leading the user’s experiences and the product’s movement in that market into oblivion.
This was a costly mistake, and similar mistakes are still being made by startups big and small. As designers, it is our job to ensure that these don’t happen. We still have a long way to go.
The Product Team
The nucleus group of a startup is its product team. While there are many functions of a business, the product team is key to the success of the startup, because it directly impacts whether and how people will use the product.
The size of a product team can vary between three to fifteen people. This number greatly depends on the size of the startup, the industry it’s in, and its specific stage of growth. At a minimum, the product team should consist of a product manager, a founder, and a few engineers.
If possible, data scientists, user researchers, and product marketers also should be included. Depending on the nature of the business, a project manager, an operational manager, and client success managers could also be embedded with the product team.
The tasks of the product team are simple: (a) figure out what to build and how to build it; (b) build an MVP and validate it by testing, then learn from the tests; (c) improve upon the MVP, based on what’s learned, then test again.
Unlike the executive decisions made by the company leadership, the product team is responsible for decisions that actually execute the roadmap, by figuring out what details and features should be included, so that the customers’ problems can be solved, and the company’s vision can become a reality.
Of course, if the company is a small five-person team, this separation between the company and the product team won’t exist. However, what is constant in startups large and small is the iterative product development cycle of researching, hypothesizing, building, testing, and iterating.
A product manager (PM) has two key responsibilities. First, the product manager should work with the company leadership team to figure out what should be included in the roadmap of a product.
In essence, the product manager should capture opportunities where the company mission can be realized in the form of a product. Ideas are cheap. They can come from anyone and anywhere. It is up to the product manager to come up with a framework to score, filter, and rank problems worth solving.
Second, the product manager is responsible for determining what goes into a product and what stays out, in other words, defining the product features and functionalities, by embodying the customer’s pain points and the company’s unique advantages.
It is his/her job to work with customers directly, to figure out what the goals are, or with researchers and salespeople, who are proxies for the customer’s voice.
Product management entails a considerable amount of collaboration with other teams, conducting primary and secondary research, then coming up with a set of heuristics to evaluate customer problems that are worth solving.
After this, the product manager works with designers and engineers to hypothesize product details. These two tasks of figuring out what problems to solve for and what solutions to hypothesize are central to the product manager’s job.
Data Science, User Research, and Product Marketing
Data scientists are often embedded in a product team, to conduct quantitative research and to gain insights into how the product is performing. These insights are internalized by the team and used to make better product decisions. This role is especially important for products with large-scale user-base or usage patterns.
User research tackles the qualitative side of insight gathering. It works with real users in a small sample size, to gather information on their perceptions, beliefs, and underlying behaviors.
Product marketing is responsible for telling the story of the product to an external audience. It also involves collaborating with sales and marketing for the startup as a whole. The product marketing role is often overlooked, but it is very important to a product’s success, especially for those for which good public perception is key.
As an entrepreneur, where you look for funding will depend to a certain extent on the chosen company structure (e.g., not for profit or for profit). There are a growing number of different financing options for sustainable companies.
As with any new business, social enterprise funding sources are similar to those of traditional business ventures and can include:
Family and friends, or personal savings. Often entrepreneurs start out by using their own resources and savings, or by taking loans from family and friends who believe in their vision.
Foundations. A foundation is a not-for-profit group that gives out grants to other organizations and individuals. Each foundation chooses to fund based on different criteria.
Some of the large foundations include the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and Ford Foundation. Foundations can be private individuals but increasingly are set up by companies, such as the Burberry Foundation.
Investment funds. The Global Environment Fund invests in businesses around the world that provide cost-effective solutions to environmental and energy challenges. They have approximately US$1 billion in aggregate capital under management.
Partnerships and in-kind donations. Funding does not just have to come in the form of cash, it can also come in the form of other kinds of resources including people or organizations donating time, office space, trading of services or products, or even advice.
Combining forces with another entrepreneurial team can make your business case stronger and provide additional opportunities for financing from banks and investors.
Venture capital (VC). Several large VC firms have special divisions focused on social, green, and cleantech ventures. In the not-for-profit sector, there are also social venture funds developing which operate similarly to traditional venture funds but expect a different level of return.
The Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. Green VC provides additional news and resources on green venture capital, funding, and start-ups.
Angel investors. Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals with extensive business experience who invest in companies. They generally provide advice and a funding amount that bridges self-funding and large venture capital investments.
These investors add value to the organizations they invest in because they bring expertise along with capital investment.
Business plan competitions. There are a growing number of sustainability awards and business case competitions which have various prizes, including cash rewards, associated with them.
For example, the Global Social Venture Competition is a global MBA student business plan competition for social ventures. Winners get mentorship, exposure, and cash prizes.
Government and local grants. Government grants can be a good source of funds for starting social enterprises. Grant writing, application processes, and making deadlines can be challenging, so be sure to understand all requirements as early as possible.
There are several websites that can be resources for finding available grants: Welcome to GOV.UK has a well-defined grant section for UK businesses, http://www.grantslink.gov.au in Australia, and www.grants.gov can be a source for US-based start-ups. Many other countries have similar sites of their own.
Going public. An IPO is a way for a privately owned SME to take in additional capital for growth. When Google went public, it included in the provisions of the original IPO that 1% of its equity, 1% of its profit, and 1% of its manpower would go to solving major world problems.
Company challenges. A growing number of large companies involved in sustainability are looking for new ideas to invest in that could help the company moving forward. GE invited small businesses with innovative products in renewable energy, grid efficiency, and eco homes/eco-buildings to compete in the
Ecomagination Challenge. Winners were provided with a US$200 million capital pledge from GE and its venture capital partners, evaluation of the entrant’s business strategy through in-depth discussions with GE’s technical and commercial teams, exploration of partnership opportunities with GE to scale a business and create global reach;
leverage of GE’s technical infrastructure and global research centers to accelerate technology and product development, and the opportunity to utilize existing GE customer relationships for their go-to-market strategy.
Investing in individuals. Around the world there are a growing number of organizations that provide small amounts of funding to individuals who have passion and an interest in social entrepreneurship, to enable them to start exploring their idea. This includes Unltd, Pave, and Echoing Green.
Crowdsourcing. A growing number of entrepreneurial ideas are being funded by the public. Kickstarter, for example, is a funding platform where since its start in 2009, more than 3 million people have pledged over US$450 million to fund more than 35 000 creative projects.
Mosaic connects investors to high-quality solar projects. Other similar sites exist for specific kinds of projects and entrepreneurial activities, including IndieGoGo, Quirky, Etsy, RocketHub, FundRazr, and PledgeMusic.
Resources. Insufficient technology, expertise, training, and capital can be a barrier for SMEs interested in adopting environmental and social responsibility. The need to deal with more pressing matters – such as upgrading the quality of technology, management, and marketing – often prevents them from taking a more sustainable approach.
Part of the problem. There is an increased recognition that many SMEs are part of the problem when it comes to unsustainable business practices.
In many countries, environmental health and safety inspections of SMEs are either not required or are not being performed as rigorously as with large enterprises. Although one small business may not think that it can have any impact, collectively they can and do have a major impact.
Balancing priorities. Finding time to incorporate sustainability practices into a start-up or SME can be challenging, as entrepreneurs and SMEs typically have a lot of things to be thinking about and seemingly never enough time to do them all.
Tailored initiatives. There are a growing number of initiatives open to larger businesses focused on different sustainability issues. However, there is still a lack of initiatives tailored for small companies, although some organizations are starting to work on this (e.g., GRI reporting guidelines for SMEs).
Gaining recognition. Most of the leaders we hear about in sustainability are those that have the time and budget to communicate their successes. The kind of sustainability practices which are common amongst SMEs, such as their role in the local community, also needs to be celebrated.
Social stock exchange
In order to develop strong social enterprises, large amounts of capital and support need to be made available. Therefore, organizations are starting to explore alternatives to the traditional stock exchange by putting in place exchanges that focus on developing social value rather than financial value.
Global Exchange for Social Investment, launched in 2002, worked to create such a global social capital market by linking charitable donors, entrepreneurs, and investors in funding social businesses in low-income regions around the world.
The Social Stock Exchange in Brazil, launched in 2003, brings together non-profit organizations with the São Paulo Stock Exchange investors who are interested in supporting those efforts.
The South African Social Investment Exchange, launched in 2006, makes carefully selected social development projects available as investment opportunities with a social return.
Investors can buy shares in SASIX projects and can track online on how their investments are performing and view the impact they are having. Keep an eye out for other social stock exchanges being developed in England, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, the USA, and Thailand.
Working with big business
For businesses, working with entrepreneurs can be one of the most effective ways to explore and ultimately serve underserved markets. Enabling small, local firms to supply goods and services to larger enterprises creates more efficient supply chains by optimizing cost, quality, flexibility, and other considerations.
This can also allow a larger company to gain the local knowledge and contacts required to operate effectively and profitably.
It also encourages small companies to improve their standards and practices to meet the stricter requirements of the larger company. Often, larger companies include working with and supporting local SMEs as part of their sustainability initiatives.
In 2007, HP globally invested US$47.1 million (or 0.51% of pre-tax profits) in educational, economic development, environmental, and local community investment projects. There are several ways for large companies to work with SMEs:
Create links with local SMEs in the different areas of the value chain; for example, procurements, agriculture, manufacturing, sub-contracting, etc.
Fortescue in Australia is committed to providing sustainable business opportunities to local Aboriginal people by allocating over US$1 billion in contracts to Aboriginal businesses.
Work to strengthen the SME environment and its role in local economic development by supporting their activities, providing financing, training centers, etc. COOP Italia, a large retailing enterprise, is helping its 350 SME suppliers to meet CSR standards by providing training and support.
TriSelect, a French urban waste recycling business, offers distance learning for low-skilled employees to improve their knowledge of health and safety in the workplace.
Create new distribution networks. Amanco worked with a farming cooperative in Mexico to develop a new distribution a system that enables it to sell its irrigation systems to small farms in poor rural areas.
Deliver better-quality products. SC Johnson is the largest buyer in Kenya of pyrethrum, produced by some 200 000 subsistence farmers.
SC Johnson worked with local organizations to provide these farmers with better access to manually operated irrigation pumps, which has not only helped the Kenyan farmers but also ensured the long-term availability, quality, and lower cost of natural pyrethrum for SC Johnson products.
Marketing on a shoestring
In 1997, according to Interbrand, the Body Shop which had less than 0.5% of the global cosmetic market – was the 28th most valuable brand in the world. How?
These companies, who have today grown into international leaders, looked to market their products in whatever way they could, online, on-pack, in-store, through their positions on different issues (in this case animal testing), and through strong relationships with NGOs. Some common threads to the marketing approach of these companies are:
Intuition led. Based on the founder’s intuition and vision rather than on market surveys, finding innovative low-cost techniques to use because of tight budgets.
Guerrilla marketing. Online, on-pack, and in-store campaigns where companies take strong stands on issues which, among other things, spotlight the controversial practices of their competitors and highlight the comparative benefits of their products. The Body Shop took a stand on animal testing, Ben and Jerry’s took a stand on bovine growth hormones.
Strong relationships with NGOs. Through charitable donations, cause-related marketing, joint campaigns, or activities in which they are involved. Limited use of mass advertising.
Either due to cost constraints or the necessity to communicate a sophisticated positioning, they remain consistent with their activist approach. Most companies have been reluctant to use ‘traditional’ forms of mass media advertising.
Their communications focus on the high quality of their products and services. These companies go beyond social and environmental selling points (i.e., Patagonia ’s outdoor clothes have a lifetime guarantee).
Accountability and transparency. Ben and Jerry’s was the first company to voluntarily report on social performance in 1989.
Using social media. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, social media platforms provide a growing range of ways to reach your target audience for free.
Some advice for entrepreneurs
The fact is that the majority of entrepreneurial projects fail. If failure isn’t an option, then there is no room for experimentation or risk or growth. Most successful entrepreneurs talk more about their failures and the lessons they learned that enabled them to have some successes.
Keep an open mind. Think as if there were no borders, no constraints. What could you do? Often companies spend their time trying to preserve the status quo rather than trying to open new markets.
Money does matter. Whether or not you are starting a for-profit, a not for profit, or a charity you still need to approach any new venture as a business. Even not for profits need money to operate.
Focus on solving a problem, not selling a solution. Often people are quicker to recognize the problem than the value of a particular solution. Position your product or service as a solution to a particular problem that is easily recognizable by your target audience.
There is no right or wrong way to do it. There is no one way to be an entrepreneur. There are no rules as to what you do and when you do it. For many people, it is just something they have in them. The combination of personal drive and focus combined with a winning idea makes it happen.
Focus on people. It doesn’t matter how great you think your idea is, if people don’t buy it, want it, or need it, it won’t go anywhere. Without good people working with you, life will be difficult to treat your people well.
Network. Almost every person that you speak to could possibly support your success through offering contacts, ideas, references, time, or even just an ear to allow you to practice speaking of your organization so that you are more effective in future conversations with investors.
Continuous focus on your key priority. Whether it is getting members signed, selling the product . . . make sure this is a driver every day as all of the little stuff and side ideas can really distract from this key success factor.
Do not be afraid to reposition based on new information gained. If it is discovered that the original idea is not the ideal solution, avoid becoming discouraged, focus on the specific area of problem or issue, and adjust it to become the ideal solution . . . continuously remolding the idea so that it achieves the driving goal.
Don’t do it alone. Great ideas are usually not developed alone, but with a partner. If it isn't ’t a co-owner or formal partner, there at least has to be one person to brainstorm with who knows the plan as intimately as you do and cares about it almost as much.
So much the better if they have a good intuition in the areas you don ’t. Support. Many people with knowledge, connections, influence, or simply time to turn on Internet research want to help entrepreneurs. Find them; you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Checklist for getting started
Identify a problem. What would you like to change? What do you think could be done better? What is missing?
Think about many possible solutions. Have some of them already been started? Did they work? If they didn’t, why didn’t they?
Pick a solution and devise a strategy. How are you going to sell that solution in practice?
Think about all the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas.
Build a business case. How are you going to be self-sufficient? Are you looking to make a profit? Will the profit be reinvested into the company?
Explore the potential social and environmental impacts your solutions could have. Look at quantifying these.
Assemble your team. Find a partner – two minds are usually better than one.
Network and create partnerships. Which groups can help you bring your solution forward?
Gather resources to get started, such as office space and initial cash. Many entrepreneurs and small businesses are also choosing to report. Of course, the scope and scale are not at the level of large companies. GRI has a special section for SMEs on sustainability reporting.
Get working! If you succeed, congratulations. If you don’t, learn from your mistakes and start again.
‘The resilience of cooperatives, including in times of crisis, testifies to the sustainability and adaptability of the cooperative enterprise.’
Founders are responsible for the core need of the customer being addressed by the products they design. They work with product managers to figure out a product’s features and functionalities. founders are also responsible for the experience of a product.
Unlike user-experience designers, a founder cannot be blind to aspects of the product outside of the user experience. In other words, if a product doesn’t address the users’ needs, their experience doesn’t matter. The founder should address the fundamentals first.
After the features and functionalities of the product have been scoped out, it is the designer’s job to turn these into concrete plans and artifacts that engineers can refer to build out the features.
Specifically, the designer is responsible for creating a vision of how a product could be used successfully in real life, architecting the experience in broad strokes first, then filling in the details of how the interface would work and what specific interactions models should exist.
The goal should be to make something people want. Much of this blog will cover the founder’s process and goals and how to achieve those goals within a startup product team.
The project manager is the one who keeps track of the schedules of engineering tasks and deliverables. Engineering leads or managers sometimes take on this role. Large projects often have a dedicated project manager.
Engineers are the ones building the product. Unlike a physical product, digital ones don’t require a manufacturing process, thus the engineers are the ones making the products.
It is important to note that engineering’s role could vary greatly for each product, depending on the industry and its scope. However, in almost every case, engineers should be involved early in the problem definition phase of the project, to ensure the proper capture of the technological constraints and landscape.
Founders must be keenly aware of the world that their businesses operate within. They must be able to speak the startup language and understand the impact their decisions have on the business. Furthermore, they must closely collaborate with other team members, in order to create a successful startup.