From Hackathon to Building a Product

You have worked endlessly over the weekend to develop an idea and a prototype which you have presented to a panel of renowned judges. Throughout the weekend, you went through endless discussions, surveys, interviews, talks with industry experts, gained new insights and friendships, and ended the 54 hours on a big bang.

So what’s next? How can you develop your ideas beyond the event? Here are some tips on how to develop your startup idea post event.

1. Verify the problem you are solving

Before committing your time and energy into building a product, you want to ensure that you are building a solution to a problem that is worth solving. Beyond sending out mass surveys, identify the profile of potential early adopters, or engage with key stakeholders who have a say in adopting the product — know about their pain points, motivations and obstacles they need to overcome to adopt the product. Consider the quantifiable metrics of their pain points such as time and costs of current processes, available solutions, and reasons why they are not adopted. Speaking to mentors and reaching out to industry experts will help you to understand your product more, validate your idea, and solve some of your concerns regarding market size, industry structure and resources that you might need.

2. Engage the stakeholders to validate your solution

Now that you have verified that the problem is worth solving, engage with end users to validate the solution that you have in mind. Allow the end users to have a role in improving the features of your product. Understanding who your end users are will help your idea gain traction, and connecting with them early will pay off in the long run, as you get an advantage in your product testing, launching and marketing.

3. Pivot

If you have a strong understanding of your end users and product, you should be able to decide if there is a need to pivot. If your end users are not enthusiastic about your product, or the obstacle for adoption is high, it is perhaps time to think about pivoting. Areas of consideration include competition, execution, distribution, acquisition and marketing costs.

4. Define quantifiable metrics the solution should provide

Having a metric for success is important in guiding the development of your solution. Thinking about benefits that your product provides in quantifiable time or resources saved would provide a goal that your product should strive towards. The goals should meet the expectations of the end users for the product to be able to solve the problem sufficiently and to be adopted by the users.

5. Build minimum viable products

Having a website landing page, a video or listing your product on Kickstarter is a low risk way to capture product feedback and interest from potential customers. A priority metric would be useful in identifying key features to build based on the priorities of your end users. The minimum viable product should serve at least one specific audience and address at least one key problem.

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