Many of today's most successful businesses were started by ambitious entrepreneurs. Yet as businesses grow they can often lose site of the startup mentality that led to their initial success.
When it comes to digital product development, there is a need to constantly innovate and pivot. In a start-up, this process can happen quickly, with entrepreneurs having planned for these changes during their initial development and not being afraid to take risks. This may seem difficult to replicate in a larger company, but there are many advantages to carrying this start-up mentality with you. Here's why.
1. Starting Small Maintains Focus on the Big Picture
There's no doubt that startups are pressured by both time and money. And with that pressure comes the need to get creative with resources in order to build a product that will not only meet the needs of digital consumers, but also engage them.
One of the benefits of working within larger companies is their expanded resource network. However, this can often lead to building digital products that overestimate the needs of digital consumers at that particular time.
Using that limited-resource, start-up mindset will allow you to notice when digital products are being over-engineered or a disproportionate amount of resources are being used based on the immediate needs of the product.
"When you get into a large company, any executive would want a digital intervention built with the best resources and the best ability to scale," says Adam Pellegrini, VP of Digital Health at Walgreens Boots Alliance. "But you obviously want to optimize the financial and human resources."
That scalability is so important for entrepreneurs. Start-ups often create the minimum desirable product that meets their big picture goal and then scale it from there.
By starting small when it comes to digital product development in a large company you can create something leanly, test it to make sure it's what your customers actually want and then use those expanded resources to scale it as quickly as possible.
2. Agility is Everything
When working to create a digital product, you are going to need to iterate multiple times before you see success, just as any startup would.
Taking a start-up approach when creating digital products will allow you to build foundational elements that can be scaled up or down without spending a ton of money. These foundational elements will then allow you to go through iterations more efficiently. Just like a recipe, the foundation of your digital product will contain the core ingredients, with the iterations being the addition or subtraction of different ingredients to make it better.
"Start-ups are known for their speed and flexibility and keeping that mindset is essential to designing, launching and scaling digital products," said Adam Keune, Co-Founder of HLT, which is the leading provider of mobile educational tools for young professionals in fields such as nursing and dental. "Our education apps have been downloaded by 2 million students in part because of our ability to stay flexible in adapting to new technology that meets the needs of our students."
As digital product development begins to emphasize the need to build for the future, incorporating this agile methodology into large businesses will be extremely beneficial. It will allow you to continuously evolve your products to align with the ever-changing digital world.
3. Failure is the Best Learning Tool
Failure is probably one of the most talked about topics when it comes to start-ups. We are told time and time again that failure is a critical part in the entrepreneurial process--that successful entrepreneurs should actually plan to fail.
Despite knowing this, failure is still something we worry about. When it comes to digital product development, or anything really, nobody wants to fail. But embracing failures as stepping-stones to something greater can actually lead to better digital products or experiences.
We learn from what doesn't work and we use that knowledge to transition into something else that might work better--it's the reason that agility is so important.
"Failure is the greatest humbler and it should be the best piece of education you can have in career development," says Pellegrini. "I would not be where I am today if I hadn't failed so many times and learned from those failures."