It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur or a product manager in a large organization. If you are an entrepreneur, you must have conceived the product a year ago, maybe even two years. Since no one funds an idea, you had limited capital and human resources at your disposal, so it probably took you the better part of a year to develop your product, test it, fix it, pilot it and market it.
If you are a product manager in a large organization, chances are someone else conceived of the idea, tasked you with the responsibility of building the product around the idea, and taking it to market. So in your case, both human and capital resource was at your disposal but time probably was not on your side (most organizations set stringent timelines for the product’s journey from the ideation table to the first paying customer).
Either way, as an entrepreneur or a product manager, the culmination of your own journey from ideation to market is your first customer when he pulls his wallet out to pay you for your product. Again, it doesn’t matter if it is a B2C or B2B product. It also doesn’t matter if it is a product or a service because in today’s day and age, it is a moot point as services can be productized and products can be packaged with service elements.
It is a moment extraordinaire, almost worthy of writing a sonnet, when your first paying customer willingly walks into your parlor to be seduced. It is the moment you have fantasied about, from the minute you started ideating on the product. You have dreamt up so many scenarios and I can tell you this. Nothing in the rest of your professional life matches the sheer delight of holding the first customer check in your hand. In this one encounter with your customer, you have engaged in a conversation for possibility, for action, for fruition. So many wow moments rolled into one.
Once you have gotten over the euphoria of the moment, now is the time to change track to make sure the sonnet doesn’t become the dirge or the funeral march! What are the things you need to flag, tick-box, monitor, pivot from, plunge into, obsess over, in the first 100 days after you launch your product?
If you want a feel for this, come to my workshop on 22nd April 2017, 2 pm, at Hotel Avasa, Madhapur, Hyderabad, for a DIY walk through!