Startups don’t need documentation. Stereotype that can cost you

As a startup owner, you care about early validation, seeing if your idea lives or dies. Saving each penny, proving your concept, getting qualified into the race we call market – documentation is the least of your concerns. Heard that, thought that? Me too, but years in product teams and I learnt better –  information can be the bridge between surviving and  thriving.

There are points in your product lifecycle when information can pave the way to product success. The trick  is to pick the right form of documentation and present the information in the most delicious and digestible way.

My assumptions are: your product is usable and smooth in every possible aspect; it brings something new, caters to different types of users, or solves several problems.

Here we go.

Before

To buy or not to buy

Often customers need direct and specific answers to their problems (marketing materials aside).Will I get analytics to a single form or page? Will I see exposed locations or only a heatmap?

Many people are impulse buyers, but there will be those who make informed decisions and those would be your faithful customers. Provided that you satisfy their inquiries. And usually resource centres or information portals give them an exhaustive picture and uncover the possibilities in details.

Neutral

Up in the air

Once your customer decides to choose your product, welcome, you are a tossed coin. And you’ll face questions and doubts and all the music of user experience. That’s when a help centre comes to the rescue  – it helps, advises, guides and shows other offers between the lines.

There is never enough when it comes to exposure.

After

There is no limit to successful

The customers buy your product and become satisfied with the decision. But the product can make them even more successful if they learn how to use it to its fullest.
That’s where training materials come in handy and bring you customer to the point when they see the value as you meant it.

Neg

Support like a boss

Cut the costs and raise the efficiency of support with knowledge bases.


A little belated disclaimer – I do not think that these cases are exhaustive or applicable to all startups, but I think that you should give it a thought or ask documentation experts before deciding if information matters 🙂

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