Where to begin?

Creating a successful product is not a technical or organizational issue – it is always a business and sober calculation.

Need to start with the questions:

  • Why and who needs it?
  • Who and how much can pay for it?
  • What is my interest and how much money do I want to earn?

If even in optimistic forecasts your new “product” is not needed (no positioning), will not be able to pay off (too little demand), or you cannot get what you want (you can’t be 33% happy) – the result will be much worse. Your clear answers and preliminary calculations slightly contradict each other? Scrap the project and do not start anything at all!

It’s impossible to make a small cake in your kitchen and feed the whole city with it. One single factory can’t make Christmas decorations for the whole world, but even if it could, then delivering fragile products will break all deadlines and consume all the profits. So resolutely reject “hopeless ideas” and look for a demand for something else.

I repeat once again: Abandon everything that “doesn’t take off.” Right now!

Time is the most valuable resource, do not waste it. Read some books, go on a walk, look around. You will immediately find many other, more promising options.

It is better to calculate everything and quit than to spend years on a “dead end”.

Create first or sell first?

On one hand, selling “air” is not an easy task. On the other hand, a “first-class pure snow pile” is very difficult to sell, especially to the inhabitants of the Arctic.

From the perspective of benefits, it is better to “sell” first, especially if you can immediately get some working capital, and only then look for or manufacture a product. But you still have to close the deal, and if there is a shortage of goods or the complete absence of components instead of profit, you can get penalties.

If your product is something new and unique, but at the same time consumers do not believe that such a thing is possible “without touching it with their hands”, you will most likely have to create a test batch before the start of sales.

But if your product is a service or an online service, then “pre-sales” help determine which parts of the solution are most in demand by customers and which of them are willing to pay. Based on this information, you can immediately focus on creating the required product elements, and not guess the user’s needs by “poking a finger into the sky”.

There are proven business methods: Customer Development, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Lean Startup, and more. All of them are focused on identifying customer needs, followed by a series of short experiments, to confirm or refute hypothesis. This approach allows in a short time (3-12 months) to create a solution that meets the needs of the market, which is actually used, and for which people actually pay.

  • If you can sell without a product, you should sell.
  • If you are not believable without a product, you need to create its demo examples.
  • If the product is not fully defined, pre-sales can help navigate the needs of the market.

How to do it from the other end?

If you want to sell something on the market, then those are the necessary steps (in the reverse order):

  • Satisfy the customer or give the opportunity to return the money.
  • Deliver the product or give the goods to the customer in hand.
  • Accept payment from the client in a convenient and understandable way.
  • To convey information about the product / service to a potential client.
  • To produce goods (or collect its components) in the required quantity.
  • Create a product or service.
  • Come up with a product / solution.

As you can see, only the last point touches upon the “idea” stage, the two penultimate “do” stages, and all the remaining items are the “sell” stage, which are the business itself.

Even if you remove the concern for the “level of happiness” of the client… The necessary conditions for any business model are: take money from the buyer and deliver the product in the expected time.

It is very hard to sell a product without reporting information about it. It is unlikely that someone will pay for the “smoke and mirrors” or decide to spend money on something that he has never heard of. There are exceptions, of course…

“Solving problems from the end”™ is a useful practice not only in business. This approach is often used in different areas.

  • Engineering: we need to connect our solution to standard input / output devices even at the prototype stage.
  • Logistics: we need to fit everything into a standard container, pass through a tunnel in the mountain, do not overload the plane, etc.
  • Medicine: we need to keep the injured patient alive.
Solve business problems in reverse order. First, do everything to receive money and satisfy the customer, and then you can do the distribution and production.