When developing a new product one of the questions that always comes up is if we want to develop any options or variants. Personally I believe simplicity is key, especially when you’re just starting out.
When you have just one simple product, you can really focus your efforts on the quality of this product, trying out different ways of marketing it, creating the best customer experience, refining your logistics, etc.
For multiple products or variants on the other hand, you’ll definitely add a layer of complexity to most of the aforementioned. For example, I usually like to have at least 3 variants of any product ads. So when you have multiple variants, you’ll have to multiply these efforts as well. This really increases the overhead of anything you want to do.
Another thing to consider is that people also face analysis paralysis. Meaning that there is a risk to presenting people with too many options to choose from. At some point they will decide to just not buy anything at all.
There is this example I remember from Steve Jobs’ biography where Steve went through the product lineup at Apple after he just had returned to the company. There was such an extensive lineup of different computers that it became very difficult for anyone to figure out which one they should be. So Steve took a whiteboard and drew a table with two rows and two columns. At the top he wrote “Personal” above one column and “Business” above the other. Then at the left side he wrote “Mobile” next to the first row and “Desktop” next to the other. These were the products they were going to focus on going forward and it made it really easy for anyone to know which computer they needed.
Now this principle seems to have been lost at Apple since then, but I can definitely see why Steve made this change at the time! Focus is important, especially when you want to scale a business.
As I am thinking about the next product I want to develop I’m definitely leaning towards creating just one simple, but very well-executed product. And thinking really hard when and if any options, variants or even all-new products will be added.
The world is abundant and discovery of new products has never been easier. Because of this I feel you can really make a difference by doing one thing exponentially better than everyone else in the market.