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Product Management Advice for Small Business Owners

Product Management Advice for Small Business Owners

For most small business owners, product management is one of a number of key operational processes they have to fulfill either by themselves or with a handful of employees already tasked with existing responsibilities. Given the multitude of hats they must wear to keep the company afloat, owners in this situation will often mix product management in with other duties, rather than approach it as an individual responsibility distinct from the others. More times than not, this is a serious mistake.

If a newly minted company wants to stand a chance in today’s markets, it must develop an independent and objective approach to mapping out the lifecycle of a product. This is because the essence of successful product management is to uncover the truth, no matter how unpleasant it might be to hear or how difficult it could be to make adjustments. When a small business owner lets product management get entwined with stakeholder expectations and other outside forces, a fog is formed that keeps them from seeing the reality and acting on it accordingly.

Further Complications

The need to approach product management with an unbiased point of view is just one reason why it’s a particularly complex part of owning a business. The other reason why small business owners must give special attention to product management is the complexity of the process itself. The truth is a lot can change from the first stages of product development to the final analysis presented by seeing the real-world extent of the product lifecycle. Small business owners can’t simply count on a first draft product gameplan to get them a victory. They need their product management process to roll with the punches and adapt to sudden shifts, something that requires dedicated attention.

Ways to Make it Easier

Fortunately for small business owners, dynamic and effective product management is possible without having to hire on dedicated personnel. By using product management software, owners and their existing employees can jump right into the process while keeping it separate and distinct from other parts of the business. What’s more, they can insert eye-opening insights and make major adjustments along the way without it requiring a page-one rewrite of the entire business approach. This is owed to the roadmap design of the software.

What Is a Product Roadmap?

At its heart, a product roadmap is a visually powerful way to express the path a product is expected to take as it gets established in the market. This can be used to get everyone with an interest in the business itself, from investors to employees, on the same page regarding the status of product development as well as other key stages of product management. It can also be used to effectively explain why a product elimination recommendation was reached, and other oftentimes unpopular decisions made by product managers. If the data and research suggest there’s a high probability of a business losing its way on its present course, a roadmap tool becomes the key to finding a new path forward. It highlights where the obstructions are and gives small business owners the opportunity to navigate around them.

It’s easy for small business owners to make the mistake of thinking product management is a process they can mix in with other aspects of the company. This can leave them avoiding the tough truths about the product they are developing and subsequently diminishing the chances of success. While the attention required for optimal product management sounds like a full-time job onto itself, much of the work can be done with the right product management tools available. These can help ensure small businesses are developing and selling the best products possible.

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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.