Most startups fail because of the lack of customers, not because they couldn't get their product to market. Now let's dive into this statement further.
Most startups don't get customers because they don't find product-market it. They don't find product market fit because they run out of time. Founders run out of time because they use up all their money. And because many CEOs don't know how to run a product team, they waste most of their cash on the product. So even though most companies fail because no one wants what they're building, many times it is connected to waste in product.
Because of this, I'm going to cover a few basic reasons why companies never get their product to their customers. I've lived through many of these mistakes firsthand, and they've caused me to rip out many hairs in my startup journey.
1. You Don't Take Control Of Your Outsourcing
When you work with an outsourcing firm, don't make the mistake of simply giving them sketches of your product and expect it to come out right. There are a few basic things to strongly de risk the threats that come from this process.
The first is to make sure you always have control of your code. Make sure you control the hosting of your servers, do not leave this in the hands of the people your outsourcing to.
Next, don't use vague sketches to communicate what you want built. Take the product as far as you can before handing it off. This will save you plenty of money and miscommunication. I recommend using Balsamiq and then Invision if you are able. Even with these tools, FRD and style guides are strongly recommended.
Finally, make sure you check that the company understands the product before they start building. If you don't take control of the process, your outsourcing team will try and build what they think is cool, leaving you with the tab.
2. You try to hit a home run your first at bat
Let me ask you a question. You have two guys who want to learn to play baseball. They each have 2 months to practice, and then at the end they see who can hit the most balls.
Person A decides to read everything he can about baseball 18 hours a day for the entire 60 days. He learns about the right grip, stance, etc. During the entire two months, he doesn't swing the bat once.
Person B on the other hand doesn't read anything. Everyday, he just practices hitting balls for 2 hours. That's it.
When it comes time for the competition, who do you think will win? Person B will because he will learn from his mistakes.
The same is true for software. Don't try and build the perfect product on your first try. Release something and learn as fast as possible. With enough swings, you'll hit one out of the park.