Avoiding the Product Death Cycle

The product death cycle can be an absolute nightmare for hopeful startup companies who believe that their product is slotted to be an absolute life changer for the masses. What’s worse, sometimes this hits without warning. You’ve worked hard to build your startup and launch a great product. What’s even better is that sales are looking good. Unfortunately, that’s when the problems can start.

If product demand starts to decline, many startups clamour to figure out the reason for the downturn. Of course, they turn to their customers. Customers give their feedback, and naturally the company rushes to implement the changes that their customers request. Then… sales are still down. Thus, the product death cycle claims another startup victim.

How to Avoid the Product Death Cycle

It may sound strange, but stop asking your customers what features they would like to see in your product. Doing so may seem like the most common sense reaction, when in reality it ends up pushing your product down the drain more quickly.
Here’s why:

  • If you ask any customer what they don’t like about your product, or what features they’d like to see, you’re going to get 100 different answers.
  • If your customers are at the point where they’re ceasing to use your product, or consuming it less frequently, they’re likely already at a point where they’re ready to make a change.
  • While you’re working to create the features they’re asking for, they may already be looking elsewhere.
  • In your haste to make a quick move, you may spend valuable resources implementing changes that aren’t optimal, or even effective.
  • By the time you’ve spent weeks or months implementing changes, the customers you were working to please may already be with one of your competitors

Rather than asking your customers what features they would like to see, ask them what their hesitations were prior to buying the product; perhaps your marketing strategy isn’t right, or maybe your prices are too high (or too low).

In doing so, you may find that the reason for the downturn in sales has nothing to do with your actual product after all. There may be no reason to make drastic change. By asking the right questions, you’re allowing yourself time to adjust to the needs of your customer, instead of completely reformatting your product.

What If My Product is Already in the Death Cycle?

Not all hope is lost, despite what your ever decreasing sales may suggest. Your next step is simple: adjust. It is not always the best, or most well-funded startups that survive. Often, the companies that perform best, are the ones who are most adept at coping with change.

If you want your product to survive, you must be prepared to change with the times, and rediscover what made your product so innovative initially. Markets are constantly evolving after all. Ask yourself what is changing, and more importantly how you can keep up with your customers.

Don’t Let This Be the End

Startups fail, however the product death cycle doesn’t have to be the reason. One of the important things to remember is to not panic and make a desperate move that puts you in a worse position.

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