How to Refine Your Idea to Build an Actual Product You Can Sell



Successful companies all start by building around a unique idea. That said, not everyone with a great idea should build a product. Not all ideas are feasible with current technology or market conditions.

Does your idea provide value? Are people interested in using your product? If you do not evaluate your idea, there is high chance that it will not survive.

Start by researching whether it can be implemented and how much it would cost. This is equally important for entrepreneurs asking for outside investment as it is for those who are bootstrapping. Do not simply evaluate it and then jump to full-scale development.

Define Your Idea and Go From There

Before you jump into implementation, it is important to understand the essence of your idea. What function or service will it provide? Going in even one direction will require a lot of effort, so do not try to take it in different directions at once. As the CTO of a software development company, I have seen that many of our clients who have funding themselves are not looking to be distracted by many small features.

So first off, define your idea. Find one basic function or service that will bring the value to your customer. From there, add all the necessary supporting functionality. Build your user experience around it. If your product does not offer a great experience, people who are not simply attracted by looks will nor stay with you forever. Think about design only after you have your core feature, and evaluate user experience with real people to understand what direction to head in.

Create a prototype to evaluate your product in order to allow both yourself and others have a feel for the product. Sometimes, it even makes sense to develop a prototype in code, especially if it is a complex product that can take months to build. Starting with graphic design, for example, will cost you a large overhead if you are going to make changes and adjustments to your product at the same time. Software development costs a lot, so you should take time to think about your plan before you add even more costs to the list.

Always Evaluate

After you have developed the product, it is time to test it. Evaluate how people actually use your product. Embed analytics into your product so you can access firsthand information. Consider what will happen if you should receive exponential user-based growth. Sometimes it makes sense to have a waiting list or invite-only initial launch.

Do not forget to be smart about marketing. Think about it before you actually start coding. Consider features inside your product and how you can start to share it in a way that will give you a potential viral factor.

If your idea is solid and if you execute it properly, you will have grateful users and customers.


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Image credit: CC by decoded_conference

About the author: Alexey Rechkunov

Alexey Rechkunov is the CTO and co-founder of SFCD with 15+ years of experience of building products.

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