Colleagues from the Forte Group have collected an armful of tips for those who believe in their business ideas and want to make money from them.
Use idea matrices for B2C or B2B startups.
So, you have several ideas, do you choose between them and have doubts?
Eric Stromberg, former co-owner of Oyster, a booking service bought by Google, has shared on his Medium blog a B2C matrix to help entrepreneurs looking for a promising direction for their project.
The matrix describes the consumer markets and the tactics that the company can use to release a unique product for a given market. Some cells contain examples of already existing startups corresponding to the topic.
For example, the Prisma app could be just another photo processing app, but the technologies chosen by the project founder-led to the product’s viral success.
The application processes the photo using a neural network, after which the image is recreated from scratch – instead of simply applying filters. Artificial intelligence technologies are of increasing interest today. You could well occupy a free niche in the field of interest to you, be it sports, finance, cooking, or shopping.
Another example is the Uber taxi calling and paying app, which has revolutionized the road passenger transportation market.
In the Stromberg matrix, Uber refers to the “on-demand” tactic – the founders of the company came up with the idea to create an application that would allow people to order a car at the right time, in the right place. In addition, Uber can be attributed to another tactic also featured in the matrix – it is a product created for use on mobile devices.
Also, the application allows you to place an order directly without the need to communicate with intermediaries (call center operators) and automatically pay for the service by linking your card to the application.
Focus on the area for which you would like to create a product – or consider a few of your most interesting industries in parallel. Describe what problems and tasks your future development should solve. If there are already competitors with a strong product in your chosen category. Then it might be worth focusing on free niches.
Eric Stromberg also created a B2B matrix that you should check out if you want to develop a product/service for companies. For example, the Atlassian company, known to all developers and project managers of the world, appears, which have created software that greatly simplifies, systematizes, and optimizes the software development process. A feature of the company’s tactics is a package offer.
For example, the flagship products Atlassian Jira (task setting and tracking) and Confluence (project collaboration) are unobtrusively offered in combination with each other and with other company products.
Check out the idea: useful services and Walt Disney method.
It can be a disastrous step to start developing a new product based solely on your market needs ideas. It is much better to get feedback on potential consumers’ vision and track their reactions and readiness to purchase it.
There are dedicated resources for testing both the idea and the product at an early stage. On them, you can get advice from entrepreneurs, feedback from potential buyers, and an idea of how the majority perceives the idea.
For example, on the Proved service, you can describe your idea, the central problem, and how it can be solved with the help of the product you have conceived. You can also choose the target audience – starting with territorial location, ending with age, and belonging to a certain social group. The respondents will do the rest: their quantity and volume of analytical data depend on the chosen tariff plan.
You can also use time-tested methods – for example, the Walt Disney method. Disney invented and used a way of testing ideas, which he called Imagineering (a combination of imagination and engineering).
The idea was considered from three different positions: dreamer, realist, critic.
- The dreamer has many different ideas and no barriers, no criticism and censorship.
- The next stage is the position of the realist. The realist transforms the dreamer’s ideas into something real and realizable. He asks how the idea can be implemented. What tasks its implementation consists of, which of the existing products does the idea look like.
- The critic views ideas in terms of their flaws. He cares how viable the ideas are and whether the process is worth implementing them.
Decide on a strategy: SWOT analysis.
Once you have made a fundamental decision (decided on what your business will do). You can move on to the next step – choosing a strategy. At this stage, try to assess the market, the opportunities it provides, and development trends.
Decide on goals: both global and for a specific period.
Conduct a SWOT analysis of your project, highlighting Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
- Strengths are the characteristics of your project that give you an advantage in the market.
- Weaknesses are characteristics that put your business at a disadvantage.
- Opportunities external elements that can use for the benefit of the project.
- Threats are elements outside the company that can cause problems for your business.
If your idea is not new and you plan to push competitors and carve your niche. Try a building strategy and focus on your advantages. Emphasize details that will be meaningful to the end consumer and may influence the choice in your favor.
Document the strategy with an action plan, provide a clear description of the product, set goals, and describe potential buyers. Subsequently, follow the process while making the necessary changes by the changing market conditions.
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Select contractors: staff or outsourcing
So, you have a clear vision of the product, you have decided on a strategy. The next step is to determine who will bring your idea to life. Whether you will assemble your team or use outsourcing services – the success of your project depends half on this decision. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.
The obvious advantages of your team:
- you choose people who will implement the project of your whole life together with you (why not);
- you can build a closer emotional connection with colleagues, use an individual approach in terms of motivation.
One of the main disadvantages when looking for a team from scratch is timing. It happens that the search for one employee delayed for six months.
Pros of outsourcing:
- saving time on recruiting – everything will done for you;
- All the main risks and responsibility for solving problems with the replacement and search for new personnel is borne by the outstaffing company.
The disadvantages include the risk that if you terminate your cooperation with an outstaffing company, you can lose the whole team at once. In addition, rapport with the team may not be as high as with staff members.
Collect and analyze feedback: testers, Kickstarter, Product Hunt
You put together a dream team, started to implement your idea, and got the first results – a minimum viable product.
This product with a basic set of features will be enough to introduce your prototype to early adopters and get feedback for further development. Naturally, collecting information through a minimum viable product will cost you several times less than developing a product with broader functionality.
Once you’ve created an MVP, your job is to present it to future customers. To do this, you can use:
- Betabound testing community, whose members will test your product for free.
- Kickstarter – among other things, it will show the demand for your product;
- Product Hunt platform – with the right approach, it can draw tremendous attention to your project.
This is testing your product for viability. Moreover, this is pushing the market: using minimal resources. You can understand how the market reacts to the development and its components and get a portrait of customers as close to reality as possible.
Feedback from potential customers is received and analyzed – it’s time to take action to bring your project to perfection. Please make the necessary changes to the product and its presentation based on the information received.
Well, like everything? Can I run it?
Yes, everything is ready, and you present your creation to the public. But this is only the beginning of a long journey. Ahead are adjustments to the marketing strategy, the constant collection of feedback, improvements, and changes in the product, and, importantly, the promotion of your project (publications on target sites, email marketing, blogging, and social media accounts ).