For me, starting is the easy bit. But I know this is not always the case for everyone. Ideas flow into my head every day and quite a few of them I truly believe would have legs if I chose to pursue them. Obviously that would not be possible so I have to simply get the ideas out of my head and on to paper, to clear my mind and enable me to focus on what I’m doing now.
Every now and then an idea niggles at me for a long time and no matter how much I write it down and get it out of my head, a bit of it stays and pokes at me until I do something about it. As was the case with the M Notebook.
But where do you start with it all? I’ll share with you below my general process:
- Name ideas
- Ideal client profiling
- Mapping out the sales process
- Exploring pricing and product options
- Working out the nitty gritty
This is not necessarily done all at once or in any particular order, more so, especially in the early stages, as things pop into my head. The fine tuning of the information comes later.
Let me break these down for you…
Sometimes a name comes easily, sometimes it’s like drawing blood from a stone. It’s important to consider your name as it will be tricky to change it later on. However big, or small, you would like to go with your product or service it’s important to do your homework with names. Check that there’s not already something else out there with the same name; Companies House WebCheck, search for registered trademarks on the IPO website, take a look at site like https://www.namecheckr.com/ and http://knowem.com/ to see which social names are available and do a Google search to see what comes up. Ideally you want something that no one else has, is easy to spell and pronounce and is memorable.
Ideal client profiling
You’ll hear me bang on about this quite often, but if you do not know who you’re going to be selling your product to then really how on earth are they going to know your product is a good fit for them? Mapping out your ideal client or clients is essential when it comes to any new product or service. Especially if you have more than one. If that is the case you’ll need to create profiles for each type of person you’ll be selling to so that you can create a targeted, effective marketing plan to reach them. Where do they live? What do they do for a living? Why would they need or want what you’re offering? How will it benefit them? What difference will it make to their lives? These are just a few of the questions you need to be asking yourself. If you’ve already been playing with names you may find that once you get clearer on your Ideal Client this may affect your name choice.
Mapping out the sales process
Once you know who is going to be buying your product you’ll be able to get a good idea of how the sales process is going to work. How are you going to be ‘touching’ your customers? From first moments through to the time of sale and what will happen next? Where and how will you be spending your marketing budget and efforts? How are you going to support the client before and after they buy. How are you going to build a relationship with them so they buy again or tell their friends? Will it start with a free ‘hook’ to and then follow a set route to purchase or is it straight in to buying? Knowing the path your customer will take makes marketing much easier because you can show them the way.
Exploring pricing and product options
There will always be many different pricing possibles when it comes to creating a product or service. Do you go for small numbers and a bigger price tag or high volume and low price? There will never really be a right answer to this, only the right answer for you once you’ve looked at the sums. Knowing who will be buying is also a big part of this process as that will dictate the money available to buy what you’re offering. There’s benefits to both routes but the key is knowing your numbers. Explore what all the possible costs would be before you commit to taking the idea any further and always allow a certain amount for things you don’t anticipate as there’s usually other costs that come up along the way that you hadn’t thought of. I like to use a spreadsheet and then play with the numbers. You can soon find out whether your idea is viable or not.
Working out the nitty gritty
If you’ve done all the above in basic brainstorm fashion and it’s looking promising, then it’s time to really drill down into more detail about each one and start doing some market research. Maybe get a prototype done or test the water with some trial runs. I’ve found the feedback from doing this results in a better end product or service. If you get down and dirty with your details and it still looks great – then perhaps it’s a winning idea and you need to be making it happen! 🙂
Creating new things is always exciting. The thrill of the infinite possibilities that could be on the horizon. The reality is that the process of bringing a new product or service to life always requires hard work and going into it blind is never a good idea. Get your basics down on paper and then step forward from there. If you can, get the support of someone who has been there before as this can help you bypass some of the pitfalls, motivate you when the going gets tough and be your sounding board every step of the way. When launching anything new, never underestimate the power and importance of your support network, both personally and professionally.
Last but by no means least; have fun with it. If you’re not having fun then what is the point? New adventures in business should inspire you and excite you. Life is too short not to be passionate about what you’re doing and just because it’s business doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Definitely make fun part of the process.
Good luck! 🙂