Developing a product is not always a simple process. The concept of building in public capitalises on this authenticity by encouraging founders to share their journey—including the ups and downs along the way. Product development in public allows startups to bring their audience and community along for the ride.
The business practice of bringing an audience along for the ride while entrepreneurs develop a product or service before it’s ready for primetime is referred to as “building in public.” So that the final product is good, the builders keep coming up with new ideas and incorporating helpful feedback. Eventually, they share early versions of their work and honest updates on how they’re doing.
If you are hearing this concept of building for the first time in public, you may be wondering who might be interested in following your ride. Buildings in public are a two-way street. There are generally two types of people:
- Support groups: These are friends and other founders who read about startups and want to learn from your successes and failures.
- Customers: These are customers who are interested in hearing about new developments in your industry.
By building in public, you are creating an environment of support for your entrepreneurial journey and a strong relationship with customers.
But why subject yourself to possible criticism? What is the thought process behind public construction?
Why Build in Public?
Building in public means embarking on a journey, learning along the way, and encouraging your audience to do the same.The exercise will help you get your audience on board with your “why,” or the reason for your product or service, before you get into the “what.” Building in public may be unsettling for some, but transparency can aid in developing a strong relationship with the audience, converting viewers into customers and customers into fans.
- Creates a story that an audience can follow and identify with. Who doesn’t appreciate a sneak peek? Building in public gives your audience a sneak peek of capturing consumers’ attention and creating an ecstatic community of supporters.
- Builds trust. both internally (within the organization) and externally (to an audience). This, in turn, makes a company appear more genuine and less self-interested. Most businesses conceal their practices from competitors, but they also conceal important aspects of their brand from customers. Any new product must strike a balance between transparency and intellectual security. When you share your wins and losses, strategy and processes, fears, methods, and systems, and who knows what else, you demonstrate to everyone that you have nothing to hide.
- It helps you find product-market fit. When you have created something that a specific market is willing to pay for, you have achieved product-market fit. And you won’t be able to gain traction in your startup until you find product-market fit. The thing about product-market fit is that it’s extremely difficult to find. Fortunately, building in public is a viable option. By sharing your progress with everyone, you’re inviting your followers (and non-followers) to share their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on how to build your product. This allows you to validate your ideas with the people who matter the most—the potential users of your product. You can use the insights and data gathered from those engagements to make the necessary tweaks and improvements to create something they’ll be willing to pay for.
- It makes you more approachable. Authenticity fosters loyalty by encouraging people inside and outside your organisation to engage in direct, honest discussions about your vision and strategy.
- Build your status as a field expert. It increases your standing as an expert in a specific field. If you’re the most public person in your niche, the niche will be immediately associated with you whenever someone talks about it.
- Invites immediate feedback from users following your journey. It can be difficult for startup teams to see usability issues when they are so close to a product. Getting direct feedback from customers before releasing a product is priceless. A startup can simply expose its product to the public while it is still in production, rather than conducting extensive market research projects or focus groups to gather information. Once the startup has gathered the necessary data, it can improve the product to better meet the needs and desires of the target audience.
- Emphasises an honest and hard-working company culture.
- Brings talent to your company. There are numerous recent examples of this—larger companies such as Shopify and Tesla have used building their products in public to attract employees.
- Attract talent and investors: The more exposure your startup gets, the more people are interested in joining or investing in it—people like transparency, whether in the workplace or a portfolio of companies.
The Disadvantages Of Building in Public
Before you build in public, you need to know what you’re getting into. Here are some disadvantages of building in public you need to be aware of.
- You risk sharing too much. When you build in public, you allow competitors to steal your ideas. Worse, they may refine those ideas to give them an advantage over you. By sharing your pirate metrics, for example, you give competitors an information advantage. They learn from you, but you don’t learn from them.
- It may shift your focus. It is difficult to create a product or solution. Finding product-market fit is even more difficult. You must maintain focus if you want to succeed in your startup journey. While standing in public keeps you alert, it can also derail your concentration. The time you spend updating your followers on the status of your MVP is time you are not working on it. There’s a lot of context switching when you’re building in public. Context switching, on the other hand, is the death of deep work. Furthermore, if you’re not careful, criticism and suggestions can derail your vision and brand purpose. Before putting yourself out there, make sure your vision and brand purpose are clearly defined and communicated.
- It may cause anxiety. Building in public may hold you accountable for your objectives. It can provide you with useful advice and illuminating insights. What is the issue? It can be frightening. If you’re not used to being in the spotlight, building in public may make you nervous. You will receive feedback that you are not prepared for. You will be criticised.
How To Build In Public.
Building in public is as difficult as it sounds, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
But how do you actually make this work? Here are some pointers and best practices to help you succeed with your build-in-public strategy.
1. Tell them how you feel.
It’s not just about sharing your stats, insights, and progress when you build in public. It’s also about expressing yourself. Isn’t building in public a form of storytelling in action? Emotions must be a part of the equation if you want to tell a compelling story. Inform them of your feelings. Tell them about your difficulties and concerns. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small.
Furthermore, people tend to root for the underdog. They will not cheer you on or be inspired by what you do if you have the personality of a rock. If you want to gain support and build a community, you must be vulnerable. Show off your humanity.
2. Outline your strategy.
If you want your build-in-public strategy to pay off in the long run, provide them with a clear roadmap of your goals and where you’re going.
People, as previously stated, enjoy stories about underdogs. They will be more invested in your journey if you show them how you are improving and refining your product piece by piece, rather than showing them the polished and final version outright.
Give them a thorough account of your journey. Keep them up to date on your key metrics and show them actual figures. Share screenshots of your process or internal messages that demonstrate your company’s culture. Don’t just distribute your product concepts. Tell them why you value those ideas and how they fit into your overall goals.
3. Deliver actionable insights.
When founders or marketers build in public, they make the mistake of focusing solely on their product. If you do it this way, you’ll come across as arrogant.
If you’re going to share your progress, make sure it’s valuable to your audience. Why should they care if they don’t?
Don’t just list your difficulties. Don’t just tell them how you managed to navigate and overcome your difficulties. Create a resource, guide, or template that translates all of your learnings from the experience into actionable information. Share step-by-step instructions on how you solved your problems. Found a resource that helped you on your journey? Share it with them.
4. Take the time to think things through on your own
Building in public does not require you to spend the entire day on social media. Do you want to make strides in your business? Do you want to come up with ideas that will help your company grow? Allow yourself time to think things through. Furthermore, studies show that solitude can boost creativity.
While gathering data and insights from others is important, your most important decisions and breakthroughs will be made independently.
Public construction is a long-term endeavour. You won’t see results right away, but it will pay off big time for your brand in the long run. Putting yourself out there takes a lot of guts, but if done correctly, building in public will not only help you find product-market fit, but it will also generate more word of mouth and referrals.
In summary, building in the public will;
- Increase people’s trust in you.
- Assist you in determining product-market fit.
- Increase people’s interest in your brand.
- Make you more responsible for your goals.