At the second Arab Bank Fintech Bootcamp in Jordan, Tony Fadel, a product leader with 10+ years of experience with Google, Careem, Talabat and most recently Huspy, describes how business leaders can shift to a product-focused approach, create a collaborative culture and embrace an agile mindset.
The past couple of decades have seen a revolutionary digital overhaul in the business world. Today, entrepreneurs want rapid growth for their start-ups by disrupting the industry and challenging the status quo.
Just take the example of companies like Airbnb and Uber, which have disrupted their industries, and understand what it takes to create a successful product. Airbnb is not just an operations company that provides access to accommodation rentals– it is a brand that has changed how people travel and get better experiences.
Today, these tech companies have attained a distinguished position within the industry through the synergistic integration of their advanced technology and exceptional leadership.
Let’s take a look at some of the key tactics that can help aspiring entrepreneurs build strong product companies:
Define Your Company Culture
A safe and inclusive environment is crucial for learning and growth.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to build an environment of collaboration and trust within the team. This can be achieved by fostering open dialogue, encouraging creativity and innovation, and empowering your team to solve problems themselves. By giving team members the autonomy to identify and resolve problems, they will feel more invested in the success of the company and its product.
Unlock your Learning Potential
Reflection is an essential aspect of the learning process. By reflecting on their experiences, entrepreneurs can internalize learning, which can help them understand and bridge the gap when dealing with a crisis or problem. This leads to a more agile and resilient mindset. As such, reflection can help them see where they are standing and where they need to go to achieve their goals
Understanding the iterative process
When creating something new, entrepreneurs should focus on iteration to refine their ideas and concepts. This allows teams to proceed forward in small incremental steps, also known as “LeapFrogging” instead of rushing quickly to the next idea. You can use design sprints with your team to accelerate your product development process.
A Design Sprint is a 5-day process for validating assumptions and solving challenges through prototyping and testing ideas with real users. Running a Design Sprint pushes your product team to achieve measurable outcomes in less time by validating concepts before heavy development commitments, thus reducing risk and reassuring that your business direction is on track.
Product Strategy Vs Business Strategy: The Key Difference
Fintech start-ups often make the mistake of confusing product strategy with business strategy. While the two are closely linked and should be considered together, they represent different paths to success.
For example, moving from a direct sales model to an online sales model is a business strategy. Moreover, while the business opportunity looks promising, you don’t yet know if your company can successfully deliver on it. It might be too costly to build, customers may not see enough value in it to pay for it, or users could find it too complicated. This is where your product strategy comes in handy.
Product strategy is a plan to make the product vision happen, says Marty Cagan in his book Empowered. In essence, business strategy is about identifying your business goals and deciding where to invest to achieve them, whereas product strategy is about deciding how you hope to achieve those goals.
As a modern entrepreneur who is focused on digitization, teamwork, and success, it is important to have an open mindset that allows you to mix technical prowess with strong business acumen to build products that are both innovative and commercially viable.