What is it exactly that you offer your customers? How would you best define it? Is it a product or a solution?
There is an important distinction between products and solutions and you need to understand what your offering is if you want to succeed. This is because the way you organise your startup, seek funding, market yourself and grow will depend on your offering. So which is yours?
What is a product?
Products are something that is built to be sold to a large consistent market. They are generally built once and then sold many times. Products are created not just with software developers but with UX designers and product managers considering the whole proposition. They are marketed to their customers on core features and are based on the long-term capabilities on the company.
If this sounds like what your startup is offering then you are selling a product and should operate accordingly.
What is a solution?
In contrast, a solution is very different. Solutions are focused more on providing something specific to a single client or small group of customers. The individual customisation of a solution means it can’t be resold many times in an identical fashion.
If you are producing a solution then you are more likely to rely on consulting or some form of professional service.
Understanding whether your startup’s offering is a product or solution is important to ensure you structure your startup properly. Products are not just solutions that are resold. They require a considerable amount of additional effort and resources if they are to be successful.