Let's take a look at some of the common pitfalls of an inexperienced founder, while working with designers to develop their digital product.
Founders vs Designers: 5 things that are keeping you from launching a good product
Setting up a business is not for the faint of heart. It’s pretty stressful and requires a lot of effort on the founder’s part. However, there are some mistakes that most of the founders make and which can be spotted from miles away. Good news, if you change something, you might manage to avoid them.
- Inability to delegate - The life of a founder is filled with sweat, blood and loads of tasks they hold on to, as they are so caught up in the web of fear and they don’t see anything else but the fear of failure, the fear of losing everything they’ve worked hard for. For this reason, they have the tendency to control everything. They aren't necessarily noobs or control freaks, they are simply afraid of the future and the uncertainty that is lurking from around the corner. They only trust themselves and believe they are the only ones to do the job right, which makes them incapable of delegating tasks - the founder is, in this case, a bottleneck to the project.
- Not respecting the expertise aka Being caliph instead of the caliph - Founders feel very protective of their business and of everything related to it. They behave as if they were a mother with their firstborn, which is true in a way but just like a mother with a child, you need to know when to let go of making a decision on behalf of your child. Help people make good decisions by providing them with your knowledge about the area and let them do their job.
- Unrealistic expectations - “Assumption is the mother of all screw ups.” Unless you make some time to get familiar with the problem, you cannot expect correct decisions and choices. In case the designer on the project is not familiar with the material or doesn’t know the target group they are designing for, and you as the founder, ergo an expert in the field, did not create some space for them to learn or did not let them learn about this, yet you still expect the results from them since “they are designers”, the chances of ending up with a good product are slim. The designer will feel horrible as their task would be to design something they don’t understand and let’s face it, nobody is that skilled. Design is not there to save the world, and if the product doesn’t have any value, not even a good design can save it. However, sometimes the product is “commoditized” that the only thing that sets it apart from other products would be design itself. The point is, be realistic about your products and manage your expectations.
- Poor planning - Startup cultures are pretty dynamic and as much as this is completely clear to us, this doesn’t mean that the priorities can be changed on a daily basis. Although some people may perceive designers as a disorganized lot that cannot complete their project on time, this is not true at all. They still need their work to be structured and scheduled. If you can’t give your team a schedule plan of weekly activities, you’d better think again!
- Too much, too fast - The lack of a filter which would enable a fast implementation of the required functionalities is a recipe for disaster. In the early phase of developing a product, it is really hard to choose the necessary functionalities which will add up to the usability of the product. Founders find it very hard to make a selection among the plentitude of their product functions; therefore, they want to have all of them and insist on increasing the range of functionalities, which leads to a scope creep. There is no possibility of prioritizing and planning as “everything is important” and everything is needed for yesterday.
And a bonus point for you - the two things that entrepreneurs don’t like to do, yet they are required to do them. Sales and marketing, the lifeblood of every business. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on development, it’s just you need to focus on sales as well if you want to find buyers for the product you are developing.
Of course, the situation is not so bleak and you aren’t doing it all wrong but I will still give you a couple of friendly reminders of what to incorporate in your business to be more successful:
- delegate to those who are better than you
- Create a sense of ownership
- be emotionally detached
- have a rough plan of things
- and most of all, enjoy the ride!