We have the privilege of supporting tens of thousands of domains at WP Engine, and many of those sites are web apps and products that use WordPress as a framework. The WordPress Community has a deep entrepreneurial spirit running through it, and affords 20,000 men and women the chance build robust software products and applications on one of the most mature open-source software platforms in the world.
While WordPress can officially be called mature software, and WP Engine compliments it with the most mature managed WordPress hosting platform on the market, all the technology in the world cannot make a product that people will actually want to open up their wallets, and hand you their credit cards to pay you for your hard work.
It doesn’t matter if your technology is the most cutting-edge, if you were the first to market, or if you think you’ve got the next big thing.
The only opinion that matters about your company is the market’s opinion:
Will people buy your product or not?
Not knowing the answer to this question can be disastrous if you spend 6 months coding away only to find that nobody wants to buy what you’ve built. You have to validate your product idea by talking with actual customers. And keep talking to your customers at every step of the way, through product Betas and release cycles.
I have a process of Customer Development that I use during product betas at WP Engine, and I had the opportunity to write about it on Smashing Magazine today. The process I use was influenced by many entrepreneurs I admire, notably Nir Eyal, a marketing thought leader who spoke at WordCamp San Francisco 2012.
The post on Smashing Magazine is called “Building Something Your Users Will Actually Want To Buy.” It’s a very long post, and reading it will take more that just a glance on your smartphone, so make sure you have some time to read it. I’ve included actual scripts for emailing your customers, as well as a precise method how to ask questions that will reveal exactly what your customers will open their wallets and pay for over and over again.
My hope is to share what I’ve learned at WP Engine and with the 100+ startups I’ve worked with in order to provide a resource you can use to build successful and profitable software products that will help your business expand. Many thanks to the editors at Smashing Magazine for allowing me to contribute to their publication.
Hope this helps.
Austin W. Gunter