Sell Now and Plan Later
There are different schools of thought on when a new company should sell their first product. One group seems to think a product should be well designed and operates with minimal bugs. The second philosophy is to build a bare-bones product and let the market tell you what to make of it. My stance is usually with the latter group. So many would be entrepreneurs get so tied up in making the perfect business plan or product they end up with planning paralysis. The former group does have some ground to stand on though. If the products still has so many kinks that only the experts of your product can give feedback, it probably needs more work before introducing it. The solution to this is to create a prototype of your product that communicates the value to the main user.
I am mentoring a class of entrepreneurship students at the University of Louisville and they have created a concept for a device to save energy, but at the same time it uses energy in innovative ways. I am interested in how they will pitch their product to investors, as it requires hardware and an application. One solution (there are many) is to create screenshots of the application that are nonfunctional but still delivers the message of the benefits the user will get. Hopefully they will spend more time getting real feedback from potential customers and less time on the details.
I have currently developed a product of my own. The aesthetic design of it is very important but my goal is to have a only a functional prototype finished in less than a week. I’ll spend the time I could be developing my product and more time getting input from people who will actually be in my target market. The way I keep myself in check is by following the 80/20 rule. This rule in short, states that 20% of my efforts give me 80% of my results. If I question my current activity I’ll stop and think if the outcome will deliver 80% of my goal.