Businesses often face a lot of pressure to scale their products as soon as possible. While this can be beneficial, you don’t want to scale too soon and risk your product, or business, flopping. A good time for scaling your product will be once your minimum viable product (MVP) has gained traction in the market.
There are various things to consider when scaling your product. These include ramping up sales and marketing, raising capital, and hiring new people. You will still need to collect analytics and conduct customer interviews to improve the product.
Meanwhile, building a design system will benefit the scaling process by ensuring customers experience consistency even after the product has been modified.
Sales and marketing
Once you’re ready to start scaling your product aggressively, you’ll need to ramp up your sales and marketing. Develop a sales and marketing strategy to ensure you can generate more sales and roll your product out to many users.
Don’t forget about the people who did user testing for you. If they were impressed by or interested in the product during the testing phases, they may be a receptive market for the finished product. Encourage them to share their experiences of the product to create some organic marketing.
If you’re confident that you’ve got an amazing product, why not consider offering a free trial period? Only do this if you’re sure users will buy the product after the trial, otherwise this decision might actually work against you.
When you grow your product or business, you may be tempted to invest in numerous growth strategies at once. Growth marketing experts Dan Hockenmaier and Lenny Rachitsky advise against this. The pair suggest choosing and excelling at one of three growth channels to acquire new customers: Performance marketing, virality, or content.
Performance marketing includes Facebook and Google ads and is used by tech businesses such as Booking.com, Wish, and TikTok. Airbnb, Instagram, and Craigslist are examples of businesses that have successfully used virality to drive growth. This includes using word of mouth, referrals, and invites. Meanwhile, Expedia, Pinterest, and NerdWallet chose the content channel to acquire customers by focusing on tactics including SEO and YouTube.
Hockenmaier and Rachitsky suggest that one first validates which channel fits in naturally with your business model. Once you’ve chosen a channel, commit to it by dedicating resources to it. Finally, the pair encourages businesses to scale up their efforts in the chosen channel to become truly competitive.
Raising capital and hiring staff
As with any business, to grow one needs more money and more staff. You’ll need to raise sufficient capital before scaling your product. Use this towards increasing your staff capacity, running marketing campaigns, and adding any necessary new equipment or facilities.
You will also need capital to implement improvements based on the data and customer input you receive on the product.
Depending on the type of product you’re developing you can start discussions with potential investors as early as the testing phases. Use your proof of concept, prototypes, and MVP to demonstrate the value of the product. Crowdfunding may also be a fundraising option.
While you’re raising capital, assess how many additional staff members you’ll need to successfully scale. The business will need people to run sales and marketing, customer service, technical support, and administrative functions. Bear in mind that the extra staff members will also need to be managed, so consider this in your planning.
Remember that once you’ve released your product to the general public, you’ll need to make sure that it can withstand the pressure of increased traffic.
Before scaling your product, conduct load tests to determine whether the software can handle the demands it will be under. These tests will imitate the type of traffic your product will be under. This will establish its response time, throughput rates, utilisation of resources, and breaking point.
It’s best to know before launching the product whether any adjustments need to be made to prevent a crash that could potentially damage your business’ bottom line and reputation.
Collect analytics and solve problems
Just because you’re scaling your product doesn’t mean that you won’t still need to make improvements to it. It’s vital to continue collecting data once you have more users. Both analytics and customer feedback can prove valuable for this.
However, Alastair Simpson, head of design at tech giant Atlassian, gives important advice. In an article by Inc. he encourages tech businesses to be data-informed rather than data-driven. By this, he means that customers’ feedback should be considered, but only as part of a bigger picture.
He recommends avoiding acting on just one or two customer complaints before having asked certain questions. They are: What is the customer problem you’re trying to solve? What are the success criteria for that customer? What is the value proposition for that customer?
This type of analysis will help avoid the temptation to make big changes that will affect all users, based on the feedback of only a few customers.
Simpson says: “One of our key beliefs is ‘measuring twice and cutting once’. You need to design thoughtfully and with purpose.” He told Inc. that this is what guides his team at being intentional in shaping its products for its large user base.
Ensure a consistent experience
You’ll want your customers to experience consistency across your product, or products, even after you’ve made improvements. To ensure this familiarity, you can develop a design system.
The UX Collective describes a design system as “the single source of truth which groups all the elements that will allow the teams to design, realise, and develop a product”.
Basically, this is a comprehensive guide for anyone working on the product, or products. It contains the product or business’s purpose and shared values, design principles, and best practices. It also includes brand identity and language such as fonts, colours, voice, and tone. A design system would contain components and a pattern library too, laying out functional components and their usage.
These are important steps to consider when scaling your product and growing your business.