Have you heard of the Harry Potter books and movies? The majority of individuals have; the books are now undeniably a global phenomenon. They almost didn’t make it to print, though. J. K. Rowling’s first novel was turned down twelve times before a publisher agreed to let his eight-year-old daughter read a few chapters. He knew the book had the makings of a hit because she was so eager to find out what occurred next in the plot.
If you want to know a product’s true potential, you must test it with the correct target users. This will save you time and money – after all, there’s no use in building anything if your target audience doesn’t want or need it.
But how can you test a product that you haven’t yet created? By creating an MVP (minimum viable product). The difference between an MVP and a prototype is that an MVP must actually work. If you’re a baker who specializes in intricate wedding cakes, for example, a successful MVP may be a miniature version of your most ornately decorated cake rather than a single plain sponge. Your clients will enjoy all of the cake’s tastes and admire your craftsmanship, but the MVP won’t take long to prepare.
You must test your MVP after it has been generated. This might entail professional user testing, which would entail hiring a researcher to observe people using your product. Alternatively, you may post a simpler version of your product online and get feedback. If you wish to open a shop, you could start with a market booth or a pop-up shop.
Testing your MVP in the real world is an important step in transforming your concept into a product that your target user can interact with. Of course, the goal of testing is to find problems as quickly as possible, fix them, and test again. So don’t be discouraged if certain things don’t function right away.
Once you’ve created a usable MVP that people like, you’ll need to take it a step further and ask your target users to put their money on the line. The author, for example, provided a free online course to encourage individuals to write every day. When it received a positive response, she put up a paywall, allowing participants to pay a nominal charge to continue the course. She knew she was onto something when that worked out. Users who are genuinely enthusiastic about your product will be willing to pay for it.
When you have a brilliant idea, it’s typical to keep it to yourself for fear of someone else stealing it. However, keeping it to yourself might be harmful, as it prevents you from receiving valuable input that could help you develop your concept.
As intimidating as it may seem, if you want to build a successful business, you’ll need to learn to convey your ideas to people, and you’ll need to master the art of the pitch to do it persuasively. When you pitch, you want to express your vision in as few words as possible. Your goal is to persuade and sell an audience on the merits of your proposal. It’s critical to rehearse your pitch on as many people as possible, including your pets, family, friends at the bar, and anybody else who will listen! Pay attention to your audience’s visual indicators; are they engaged and nodding along, or do they appear to be about to nod off?
Continue to tweak your pitch to make it as attractive and succinct as possible to maintain your audience’s attention. How? Remember that great pitching is about how you communicate as much as it is about what you express. The audience will not buy what you’re selling if your shoulders are hunched and your head is bowed, even if your tale is engaging. Fortunately, confidence-inspiring body language can be trained. Standing straight, planting your feet, and staring directly at your audience are all good things to practice. You’ll not only appear more confident, but you’ll also begin to feel more confident.
When you’re ready to present your work to an audience, start pitching to anyone you believe might be able to provide you with useful feedback. Take the time to listen carefully to people’s comments, as frightening as it may be, and make a note of them. Feedback is a gift that will aid in the refinement of your concept. Remember, this isn’t a personal matter, therefore the more critical you can be, the better!
After you’ve gathered all of your input, you’ll need to decide out how to deal with it. Listen to any recordings or read through your notes, then jot down people’s comments on Post-it notes, using direct quotations so you don’t misunderstand what they say. Write down the primary takeaways and the particular actions that may be taken as a result of each key concept that surfaced in the feedback. You’ve just taken the first step toward a better understanding of your concept.
What is the best way for entrepreneurs to learn how to succeed? It may come as a surprise to find that they must first learn how to fail. Failure is so vital that students at the elite Singularity University, which is based on the NASA campus, are given an assignment in their first week that requires them to go out into the world and fail as often as possible.
Why are you so fixated on failure? Because those who are at ease with failure recover more rapidly. They don’t take it personally and are willing to take chances. These are the characteristics of a growth mindset, as defined by Stanford Professor Dr. Carol S. Dweck. Entrepreneurs that think in this way are far more likely to succeed — not because they don’t make mistakes, but because they know how to cope with them.
Teddle’s founders had to realize their startup plan wasn’t functioning in 2012, and they had to admit it. Despite their best efforts, the website’s user statistics remained stagnant. When they looked at the data, they discovered that 75% of the people who came to their site were looking for cleaners, which was a service they didn’t offer. With that knowledge, they were able to pivot and establish a new online marketplace for cleaning services using their existing infrastructure. Hassle.com was a tremendously successful service that was later sold for millions of pounds.
If you approach your own setbacks with the same growth perspective, you’ll be able to see if there’s a way to refocus your project in a more promising direction. This could mean focusing on a different problem, allowing you to be more particular about your target market. When the author learned that her online writing accountability tool was particularly useful to academic authors, she was able to tailor her marketing materials to specifically target them, resulting in a significant increase in sales.
However, occasionally none of these efforts are fruitful, and you’ll realize that the wisest course of action is simply to give up. There’s nothing wrong with it — in fact, facing reality head-on and knowing when to alter direction is extremely gutsy. Even the most successful businesspeople, such as Sir Richard Branson, have a history of failed projects, such as Virgin Brides and Virgin Cola.
Failure should not deter you from pursuing your aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur, as Branson did. You simply need to dust yourself off and start again after a period of relaxation and contemplation, armed with better self-awareness and business experience.
Assume you’re in the proverbial dragon’s den, pitching your business to a group of hardened investors. “How big is your market?” one of them says, the inquiry you’ve been dreading. It’s one thing to have a fantastic product that users enjoy; it’s quite another to have a product that can attract a large enough market to be lucrative. To expand your idea, you’ll need to identify the correct marketing tactics to expand your core group of early customers and attract a larger audience.
This, like all elements of starting a business, is a trial and error process. When the soccer software I Am Playr was first released in 2010, it attracted an astonishing 50,000 users. However, 20,000 users left quickly, and the team was unable to recruit new ones. They worked feverishly to improve their product and find new methods to appeal to people. They hit the jackpot six months after their launch when they came up with a feature that paid players for sharing the app with five friends. Suddenly, they were getting 80,000 daily users, and they continued to grow. Instead of simply conducting a mass marketing campaign, they were able to motivate its core customers to recruit their friends.
What distinguishes some marketing strategies from others? By fully listening into the needs of your unique audience, you’ll be able to prevent a lot of stabs in the dark. While still in school, George Burgess began inventing the technology that would later become Gojimo, a study app. He began by attempting to broaden his market by obtaining as much traditional media attention as possible.
While this drew notice, it didn’t help him increase his user base since he’d made a crucial marketing mistake: he’d overlooked the fact that his student demographic didn’t read newspapers. He only came up with the correct marketing strategy after listening to his community: targeted Facebook ads during exam season, when students were cramming for examinations. The number of users skyrocketed. Of course, it’s important to realize that development isn’t a goal in and of itself. The size of your target market is determined by your company’s ideals and goals. You might decide to focus on the quality of engagement rather than the amount of users.
Check out my related post: How would you deal with uncertainties in the future?