There are two ways to create a new product when you are starting out as a business owner or entrepreneur. The approach you choose can have a major impact on the success or failure of your business.
The traditional way to create a product is to lock yourself away in your study and tap away at your keyboard until your product is complete.
The BIG problem with this approach is that many authors, software developers and product creators spend months or even years creating their product only to find that when they finally make it available online – no one is interested in buying it.
In order to avoid wasting time, effort and money, many product creators are now adopting a “lean” approach to product development.
Lean product development involves testing the viability of your business idea before actually creating the product.
If the product seems financially viable, you then create a minimal viable product (MVP) and get it into the marketplace quickly so that you can start gathering feedback from real customers as soon as possible.
Here’s an example that illustrates how you can use a lean product development approach to test the financial viability of your next product, and bring it to market as quickly as possible.
Brian Turner was an architect who’s real passion was photography, and he was interested in exploring ways to turn his passion into a profitable business.
He started out by selling some of his prints at local craft markets, and he always got a positive response from the people who stopped by to chat and look at his photos.
While chatting to his customers, Brian discovered that a lot of people who owned powerful digital SLR cameras, didn’t know the first thing about using them.
In a flash of inspiration, Brian realized that he could help a lot of people discover the joy of photography by creating a beginner’s guide to digital photography. However, before starting to create the actual product, he decided to test whether people would be interested in his product idea.
To do this, Brian posted a sign on the community board of his local library advertising a 7 week course called “A Beginner’s Guide To Taking Great Digital Photos” – which would commence in one months time. He priced the course at $197 and indicated that there was only 20 spots available.
To his surprise, Brian’s phone started ringing the very next day and his course sold out in less than a week. He took this to be confirmation that there was significant interest in his product idea.
Brian then got to work and prepared the material he needed to run the course. As he was now working towards a specific, immovable deadline, he avoided wasting time and created the best possible course he could in the time that was available to him.
When he was done, Brian then conducted the course in the community room of his library.
The best part of doing this was that he was working with real people, and he quickly gained a much better understanding of what their problems and difficulties were.
While the members of Brian’s course thoroughly enjoyed his material, Brian felt that he learned as much from them as they did from him. Conducting the course allowed Brian to see through the eyes of a beginner again, and he was able to modify his course to make it much more relevant and engaging for his target market.
After running three photography courses at his library and improving the course each time, Brian was convinced that he now had a truly fantastic course to turn into an online training program.
So the next time he conducted the course, he used some of the money he had earned from teaching to pay a professional to film his lesson presentations. In this way, Brian was able to capture his teaching in a natural environment rather than feeling awkward in front of studio cameras.
By adopting a “lean” approach to developing his product, Brian was able to:
- Test the financial viability of his business idea before spending time, money or effort on it.
- Incorporate feedback from his target market to rapidly improve his product
- Get his product created quickly instead of spending months or years locked away in this study
So if you are beginning your entrepreneurial journey, or you are currently looking to create a new product for your business, I’d encourage you to think about adopting a “lean” approach to product development.
By testing your product idea first, and getting a minimal viable product into the market quickly, you will save time and money, ultimately create a better product, and avoid the heartache of creating a product no one wants.
Question: How else can you adopt a lean approach to testing product ideas, and creating new products in your business?