It is very typical. Whenever you start a new business, one hundred percent of your time is spent on making your product better. Awesome Idea + Awesome Product = Awesome (and by “awesome” I mean “money making”) Startup, right?
Well, not really.
The typical thinking here is this. You will create this amazing product or service and the customers will immediately rush in to buy it. And, being a perfectionist of course, if you don’t see the sales, you tend to blame―what else―the product. The product has to be improved, improved, and improved again until that mysterious BIG DAY comes, when an influx of customers, users, funds and venture capitalists will make your company a superstar! And yet the days go by and then the years, and the situation seems to be staying the same. What could possibly be the problem? One possible problem has to do with the fact that no matter how much time you spend on improving your product, the mysterious BIG DAY may never come until you start using what we call
The “One-One-One” Technique.
The “One-One-One” Technique has to do with planning your project so that for every one unit of time spent on:
1) the development of your product, you spend one unit of time on
2) marketing and at least one unit of time on
So what in the world is so special about this idea?
Marketing can never be an afterthought. For many successful startups, it has to do with spending an obscene amount of time developing those “silly” things such as detailed product descriptions, instructional videos, that Q&A section to help users get around your product, a service, or a website. And how about infographics to make your process appear as simple as possible? The reality is that often marketing takes just as much time, if not more, than creating the initial product, and those of us who have launched at least a couple of successful products in the past know its importance.
Sales, a third element of your startup, is just as important. Sales has to do with placing an actual human being in front of your product. Here we are talking about live seminars, webinars, and what is commonly known as a “human being” to present your product to. How about that toll-free number that leads a potential customer or an investor to a live person? Or a live pitch person who will present your product in front of that important executive in your industry? Whether you are pitching your idea to new users, or to a venture capital firm, sales has to do with getting a pretty good handle on your sales pitch using the marketing materials you have created and the willingness reach out and to respond to your potential customers or investors at a moment’s notice.
Now the obvious question is this. How can you possibly focus on your marketing when you are still stuck in the product development stage? And how can you possibly start working on sales when you still haven’t finalized your marketing materials?
The answer is, as always, somewhat counterintuitive, and if you are familiar with launching a new product, you may already know the answer. Specifically, the best time to start developing your marketing materials (your education videos, your “how-to” help sections, your Q&As and your animation) is precisely during the time of developing your product. This will not only help you showcase all of your product’s most important features, but will save you a ton of time in the future.
Similarly, and as always, counterintuitively, the best time to start “selling” your product is before your product (your website, your store, etc.) is complete and the proverbial opening ribbon is yet to be cut. The feedback you will get from users (or customers) of your “beta” product will likely become the invaluable input you need to make your product better prior to its official launch date.
“Authentic Startup,” Author
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