How to gain a competitive advantage by speeding up time to market?

How to gain a competitive advantage by speeding up time to market?

Time to market is an important metric that all businesses need to address. If you are not fast enough, you will not be able to take advantage of business opportunities and could be at a serious disadvantage in the market. It therefore has an impact on revenues, costs and competitive advantage. But what exactly is time to market? What decisions should be considered to achieve faster time to market? How can we measure and speed up the process? In this article, we will explore these questions.

The time to market is the time required from the time a need arises through development to the time it reaches the market.

What is the time to market?

Time-to-market (TTM or T2M) is the time it takes from the conception of an idea, through its development, to the final product or service being brought to market, i.e. to the customers. 

TTM is affected by all actors involved in the development of a product or service. The term is most often used for the introduction of new products or services or new features and functions. 

As new entrants have clear advantages in terms of market share, revenue, sales growth and overall competitive advantage, time to market is one of the key KPIs or metrics for product development. 

What is the importance of time to market?

Time to market is important from both a quantitative and qualitative point of view. There is a best time to launch a product, and it is not necessarily the earliest date. Although in some areas, such as software development projects, speed is an advantage.

Timely implementation requires quick learning and adaptability, as well as flexibility. 

But in today's fast-changing business environment, there is also the pressure to be first to market, which is a huge advantage. Before other companies come along with similar products, you can build brand awareness and product loyalty. If the time to market is too long, we may find ourselves in a situation where our competitor dominates the market and we have to work to catch up. This will result in low profitability. Nevertheless, it is important to assess the best time to launch a product.

What are the advantages of a fast time to market?

Now let's see how rapid market introduction can benefit us!

1. Revenue growth

The faster a product or service reaches the customer, the faster it generates revenue. Overall, this means an increase in the revenue-generating capacity of the product.

2. Lower costs 

In many cases, the shorter the time to market, the less it costs to produce the product. This obviously reduces costs and increases the profitability of the product.

3. Increase potential market share

When customers and users do not yet have a choice of other solutions, a much more significant market share can be gained.

Time-to-market (TTM) stands for time to market.

What to consider in terms of time to market?

As we have already seen, getting to market quickly has many advantages for a business. But there are also important business decisions to be made about whether it is worth it.

1. Fast time to market vs. product quality 

It is useless to be first in the market if your product or service does not meet the most basic expectations. It is essential to present at least one MVP (minimum viable product) to the public. Speed is not the only decisive factor. Companies that are slower to market but release a much better product can gain a bigger advantage.

2. More resources versus cost control

More resources can speed up the market access process. However, for businesses where cost control is a priority, this is something to consider, as it can lead to a significant increase in project costs.

3. Trade-offs

It is also essential to consider compromise solutions. For example, which features to include or not to include. In most cases, some features should be preferred over others to improve time to market. However, omitting critical features may make the product less attractive to some customers. It is important to find the right balance.

How do we measure time to market?

Measuring time to market is essential for development. It is measured in units of time, in months, weeks or days, depending on the type of product.

Measurement can be done by starting to track as soon as the business decides to implement an idea. And the monitoring ends when the first version is launched and becomes available for purchase.  

Some businesses have specific key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance and assess efficiency. These can vary from company to company. For example, some companies have a measurement formula that they monitor from the moment an idea is approved. Others start the measurement process when resources are first allocated to the project.

There are some who measure when the product is first put on the market. Others measure when the first person or company buys.

One problem with measurements is that we may not be able to compare like with like. Some projects are more complex and complicated than others. These projects require more resources and usually take longer to implement. This means that comparisons between different projects can become difficult.

How to speed up time to market?

Time to market is an accelerator in several ways. The most obvious solution may of course seem to be to bring in more resources, but this may not be the most optimal. There may be projects where, for example, more people creates more problems and slows down the process. It is therefore advisable to assess beforehand whether more resources will make the work more efficient.

But let's look at what else we can do to accelerate market access.

1. Use a minimum viable product (MVP)

Go to market with a product that is far from complete but solves the customer's problem. This is not without risk, but it can give us a significant competitive advantage if we can achieve first-to-market status.

2. Measuring and evaluating results

To make progress, it is always important to measure what we do. We need to look at the time spent and identify where we can improve. It is worth involving team members in this and brainstorming where valuable hours can be cut.

3. Clarifying the processes

During projects, it is worth thinking carefully about the processes, what we are doing and why. By streamlining workflows, you can save a lot of time and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and factors that can significantly slow down progress.

4. Automation

Automation is the best way to speed up workflows. In addition, it has the huge advantage of reducing the risk of errors, which waste a lot of wasted time.

5. Agile way of working

The agile methodology is used in project management and in software development in particular. Work is done in short sprints and development is iterative. This approach helps speed up product development.

6. Flexibility

Flexibility helps you cope with constant change more quickly. This could be, for example, changes in legislation or competitors introducing products that require a change in strategy. This can speed up time to market.

7. Proactive risk management

If risks are not properly managed, this will affect the time to market. It is important to identify potential risks at the outset of a project and take steps to mitigate them. This will minimise their potential impact, which can reduce delays and shorten time to market.

8. Outsourcing

Outsourcing certain jobs and tasks can speed up time to market. This is particularly true if it is a core competence of the outsourced firm.

Is a fast time to market important to you? Agile trends are gaining ground in projects and in the life of organisations and support the timely introduction of products and services. Develop your practical toolbox and gain international qualifications! Deepen your knowledge in our agile training courses!