Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve your goals are limited. ~ Fred Wilson
Just a couple of weeks ago Tara Hunt shared her insights on how to maintain product focus in her Buyosphere post-mortem. In an equally brave post this past week, Rand Fishkin has shared his challenges, both personal and professional, while running Moz.
One of the key insights from Rand’s post relates to product focus.
For Moz, providing a feature-rich subscription service while embarking on a massive new software project meant resources needed to be pulled from existing products in order to meet slipping deadlines on the new software project. This led to disastrous results.
Without attention from our team, some of (our) products came to be eclipsed by competitors who focused exclusively on one particular piece of the products in our subscription.
Limited resources, from marketing, to product planning and design, to engineering and support, mean any new endeavour you take on, whether it’s serving a new market or extending your product with new features, can hamper core product and market efforts.
It was heartbreaking to hear over and over again how one of my SEO friends had stopped using some particular Moz tool because they’d found tool X instead to take its place.
Had we been listening to our customers, iterating on the projects and products that mattered to them, and not consuming all of our development time and energy on long-delayed, poorly launched megasuite that did lots of things they didn’t need, we’d have been in a much different place.
Moz is back on track now because they’ve shifted resources to maintain focus on their core product offerings, including getting back to serving the needs of their current users. This is no small effort and it’s a reminder to ensure customer retention is given top priority, especially when resources are limited.
To be sure, if you’re not focused on the market you’re already serving well, ensuring you’re delivering value to them on an ongoing basis, you’ll quickly find yourself losing market share. And that is absolutely the number one reason to maintain focus on your product.