Big vision, no money. How to monetize your product.


Big vision, no money. How to monetize your product.


How great is your product idea? Well, every idea is great, but not every product idea can monetize itself. The product development process is crucial in deciding whether or not your product can be pushed to production. Not everything is about money, but if your startup isn’t profitable, why waste your energy trying to make it work?  This article will be especially important to you if came up with an idea, but are unsure if your vision can bring about growth or monetization.

Below is a 4-step guide to develop your idea how to monetize your product.



This is the first stage when a startup is throwing out ideas. Maybe you saw a new trend on Google Trends, or heard of something cool, new, and exciting in a newspaper that is specific to the market you want to target, or it can even be cultural. This is important to determine if there is demand for future users of your future product. That being said, I have two recommendations for idea thinking.

  1. Design Thinking is a method for problem solving and divergence is one of it’s core tenants. Use divergent thinking. It’s prominent with our designers. Basically come up with as many ideas as you want but don’t dig deep quite yet. That’s just a summary but what it can do for your product is huge. Here’s a helpful PDF on how Design Thinking could change your product. 
  2. The one thing you SHOULD think about, is to question each idea with this: Is there some sort of user demand for the product ideas? If there is only a small demand you are out of luck. That idea won’t monetize.

Idea generation takes research and enterprises have that as advantage, where small businesses may be limited.



After generating a bunch of ideas, you need to pick just one. How do you do that? Use the Agile methodology to deliver ideas quickly and as often as you can. Now that you have your list you can do some unofficial product testing. You can ask opinions from workers, survey your target market, and refine your idea. Remember, use Agile to find out what works for you as early as possible. I have two tips when developing your idea hypothesis. If you need more help on the Agile methodology take a look at the 10 key principles.

  1. Make a list of your competition. This will heavily influence your decision especially if someone is already doing your idea, what would make yours different? What’s your sustainable comparative advantage
  2. 2Don’t get too complex in idea features, it’s trouble. Keep it simple until you’ve developed your idea. Your future users might be too overwhelmed and detour fast.

After you do some refining and screening, you will have a great hypothesis of an idea from the initial big pool selected. Looking at your company as merely a vessel of an experiment forces you to be rigorous both in defining the problem in the market, how you set about to solve it (your product idea), and the methods you will use along the way.


Concept Development

After you have your idea hypothesis you need to do some serious analytics with what your company can offer for your new product idea. Do you 1. Have the money, or 2. Have the resources? To answer these questions you will need a small Marketing Plan. In our last series, we mentioned you can take immediate actions on your marketing plan when you’re just starting out. You don’t really need to write a Marketing Plan (See How to write a Marketing Plan… Don’t!). But at this stage of determining whether your initial product can monetize or not, you should have a small one. More or less include this:

  1. Determine the places where your product can be present with market segmentation. Choose 3.
  2. Do a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your product brings in the market.
  3. Determine the target group in your market segmentation is important.


Product Development and Commercialization

Now you have your generated, screened, and developed your product idea. The next step is to actually develop and commercialize your product.

  1. Make a prototype (you will need webdesign and webdevelopers) Here are 22 Prototype tools you can use for your web or mobile product. And here’s why building a prototype (any kind) is so important. 
  2. Do market testing. Based on your results, you can decide if you want to move forward into production and commercialization of your product. Why do market testing?

Repeat the above process until you achieve favorable results about your product. Once you’re happy with the results and have a product with a relatively good demand, then you can launch your product and do promotions for your new product. That validation will essentially monetize your product.

 Author: @keswanberg

Kate Swanberg Product Specialist

Loves building apps, getting users & keeping them. Data-driven marketer with a strong background on project management.

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