A successful product meets three key requirements:
- It significantly improves some important aspect of the customer’s process or life. For a top line improvement, aim for 20% or more (increase sales by 20%!). A bottom line improvement better be an order of magnitude (reduce errors by 90%!).
- It works. Customers sometimes can live with imperfections, particularly early on when you’re delivering so much value they’re willing to take some limitations. But the product better not fail in stupid or obvious ways or you’ll never get a second sale.
- It fits into the customer’s existing processes. There’s a process that precedes whatever your product does, and a process that follows it. Your product has to mesh with those, or it will be an orphan.
Make sure your product delivers on these requirements (and you can articulate how it does) to significantly increase its chances of success. (This is the TL;DR version of my Product Management Rules of Thumb series)