This blog is an extract from an article Phil written for the FounderCatyst's blog.
Creating a successful tech product is not easy. Being innovative in the digital space is full of challenges and pitfalls. Technology is constantly changing and developing; customers desires and needs are elusive. What works for company A does not for company B.
Yet if we look at the key things that excellent products do, we see some common traits. If you can share these characteristics, you set yourself up to get that big investment, make a successful launch into the market and become the major player in your sector.
Great companies do not simply want to make money or 'build an app'. They have a clear vision that gives them focus. I think this is often underestimated.
A strong vision provides a measure against which decisions can be made. It makes decisions straightforward and consistent. Nothing stalls progress faster than conflicting actions; it's demotivating and counterproductive. Quick, clear and consistent decisions allow for effective product development.
For your team, a clear vision gives direction, so they are all pulling together for the same purpose. Everyone knows the destination, so work together in collaboration. It provides motivation and focuses action. It is a cause that binds no matter your background, skill and experience.
To the outside world, your vision lets your investors and customers know what you stand for and have something they can buy into. Your vision is something they can identify with and can get behind. It sets you apart from your competitors and feeds your identity.
A vision can come in many forms, but my favoured format is nice and straightforward:
Why - Where does your motivation come from? What sets you apart from others? Your 'Why' is persistent. No matter what your business does in the future, your 'Why' will remain.
How - How do you deliver your Why? There are many ways to achieve a 'Why', so what is it you do? What's your flavour?
What - This is what you are doing now to take the next step on your journey.
Apple set out its vision in this format two years before they released the iPhone.
Why - We challenge the status quo.
How - By making products that are well designed and user friendly.
What - Within two years, we will ship a smartphone that will disrupt the mobile phone industry.
This vision is uniquely Apple, it was purposeful, and they delivered what they set out to. I love how it gives clarity of purpose, making it easy for them to understand what success looked like while also providing a personality that customers can align to.
Can you state your vision as clearly?