3 Key Pieces of Product Advice for Scaling Tech Companies in Canada
Scaling can be an enormous challenge because it involves clearly defining your company, setting the right goals for the future, and determining how to use innovation to continue fueling profit. Without a crystal ball, it can seem nearly impossible to achieve these tasks. Luckily, there are people out there like Ken Sandy, who’s been helping IT, mobile, e-commerce, and other tech companies strategize their product management. Ken is one of the experts in the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program, and he has some great product management advice for scaling tech companies in Canada.
1. Never Stop Innovating
Have you ever wondered why a company with an established and trusted product with years of history in the consumer market would bother to come up with a “new and improved” version? Well the answer is that just because you’ve found success doesn’t mean you’ve achieved perfection, and there’s always room for improvement.
When you’re scaling, it’s integral that you “continue to iterate and validate your product,” Ken says, because even though “you’ve been able to successfully build a company and build revenues around your initial product doesn’t mean that you’ve got it right the first time.”
One of the best ways to fuel innovation, according to Ken, is to get out there and talk to your customers about what they like about your product, what they dislike, how they use it, and what improvements they’d like to see. Innovation is what your company was founded on, and innovation must remain a key component as you scale: “maintaining that innovation, maintaining that kind of desire to iterate, and most importantly, getting out and validating with your customers” is the only way to deliver value to a wide and growing range of customers, says Ken.
2. Only Focus on Profitable Ventures That Will Benefit Your Customers
This doesn’t mean something has to be profitable immediately, but you should focus your efforts, attention, and resources on ideas, ventures, and products that have the opportunity to become profitable. The easiest way to achieve this is to ensure that your customers are being served well by your products, and that any new innovations and iterations will be equally successful at providing solutions.
Ken feels that product managers can be of immense benefit to scaling companies because “a product group manager actually adds more value after a start-up has found their early customers.” This is because they act as a representative voice for the customer within the company. “Product management is really that core role that creates a solution to an unmet need or a problem that a target customer has, in a way that is truly valuable, and very, very usable,” says Ken.
3. Continue Thinking Globally
Ken believes many Canadian companies think globally right from the beginning because they come from an inherently international culture. This is of particular benefit to tech companies. Technology is a universal branch of knowledge, and developing products with a global mindset makes Canadian tech companies especially adept at “solving a problem much, much more generically across all the different companies and all the different cultures,” says Ken.
Being a tech company in Canada comes with its own benefits and limitations, but Ken feels that the global and multicultural nature of Canadian society puts Canadian companies at an advantage. He says that as long as you continue innovating and focusing on profitable ventures as you scale, then you’ll continue finding success.
Product management frameworks and strategies for scale-up companies are just a few of the topics we explore in detail as part of the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program. Find out more at http://www.scaleupprogram.ca.