Posted by: Tyler
Last updated: November 26, 2022
Partnering with a product is a lot like investing in it, except that instead of investing money you'd most often be investing time - something that may actually be worth more than money.
It's critical that you know what you're getting into before making any sort of commitment to a product or business partnership. Investing your time, money, connections, or whatever it is that you're bringing to the table, is limited. So you'll want to make sure that you select the right product to commit to.
To help you do this confidently, you need to research the product and its market the same as you would do as a developer prior to building it, or a stock prior to purchasing it.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. What market does the product fit in?
Is it a B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) product? That's important to know because it changes things such as how you'd market the product.
Is it in a highly-regulated market that will require certain licenses and maybe be really hard to crack?
Is it in a growing industry? A dying one? One that you're familiar with? You might be a great partner for this product if it was in a certain industry, and a not-so-great partner if it's in another.
2. What problem is the product solving in the market?
Is it clear what the purpose of the product is and where its solution fits in the market? Is there a clear or big enough problem that needs to be addressed?
How do you resonate with that problem? Does it make sense to you? Do you agree with the product's solution? Even if you agree that there's a problem, if you don't love or can't get behind the product's solution to the problem then you will have trouble spending your time growing it.
3. Who are the product's competitors and how does it compare?
What companies or products already exist in the market, solving the same or similar problem? What sort and level of resources do they have at their disposal?
Could they try to replicate this products solution? Have they already?
Having existing competitors isn't always a bad thing. It could actually validate the growth potential for the product. And large competitors are often sluggard, leaving them vulnerable to lose market share.
4. What are the opportunities?
Whether sluggard competitors, or state-of-the-art technology, what are opportunities for this product?
Could it be a growing industry? Innovation? Capitalizing on others missed opportunities?
Identify potential wins for the product.
5. What are the threats?
Alternatively, what internal or external threats exist for this product? What is the potential for new competitors to enter the market? Or existing competitors to replicate your technology?
Is there cause for concern that the existing partners might not give enough attention to the product that it needs to grow?
Make a list of potential misses or failures for the product.
6. Who are the current partners?
Who are the current partners, what are their experiences and skills? Have they had prior success or failure in growing businesses?
Do they speak the same language as you? Are they in or near the same time zone (if that matters).
Have you gotten along with them so far?
7. What is the current path for growth?
What does growth look like for the business? Have the existing partners expressed any possibilities? Can you make a note of a few growth paths that would be worth pursuing?
Before partnering, give thought to what would make the product successful and how you might be able to help it grow and product revenue.