2015 should be labelled as the year of experimentation for you. With so much info about how to do this, and that, you can paralyse yourself, and your business by thinking too much, and not acting. More importantly, you do all the thinking, and strategizing only to find out when you put your new marketing campaign, product, service, etc… to market…no one really cares about your new product / service / marketing campaign / video you think will go viral.
I’m with you, I analyse a lot, and in turn I end up making stupid decisions based off what’s swirling around in my head. Especially after reading books, articles, and everything else being fired at you, and I on a daily basis.
We think we know all the answers, and this is backwards thinking. We know what we know, but also we don’t know what we don’t know. Does that make sense? Or am I thinking too much? If it doesn’t make sense GOOD! One of my goals of 2015 is to confuse the hell out of you…HA!
Here’s what I, and you forget the majority of the time…it doesn’t matter what we think. It matters what THEY think. They being the customer / consumer. This happens in the startup world time, and time again. Some big headed teenager (okay, I’m generalizing here) thinks he / she can ‘change the world’ with a piece of technology. He / she goes out, and generates $$$ through investors, conducts research, builds a team, promotes their product, generates publicity, and then goes to market with their product / service and no one cares. This could have been thwarted by experimenting with REAL consumers with a shitty prototype of the product / service early on in the development stage of the product / service.
You could say the startup group learned something, and failure is the price of learning. I used to think that. Now, it doesn’t resonate with me. Using the model above, you only learn how to fail. If you EXPERIMENT from day one with REAL customers / consumers you’ll learn more in a week than you will in 6-months using the ‘business’ model from above.
Let’s put this experimentation into practice.
My wife, and I are planning on launching a restaurant / cafe with a twist (you have to have a twist with the current cluttered marketplace) either late this or next year. Ideas have been swirling in our heads from price points to location to food offerings, etc… However, we caught ourselves a couple days ago, and the light clicked – how do we know people are going to even want what we offer? Why go through the investment, planning, etc…if we don’t even know if there’s a market? More so, how will our potential customers even know if they want our product (think iPod or iPhone here, people didn’t know they wanted it until they had it, and then the iPod, and iPhone evolved to suit the customer)?
Here’s what we know:
A similar concept has worked in other markets
The overhead is not that high
We have a decent ‘test’ group of friends to experiment
We’re not talking focus groups here, we’re talking people, who will actually use our product / service in the future. This way, we can get honest feedback, and from our hypothesis of “This restaurant / cafe will work” we will be able to experiment to see if it actually will work. Of course, if we find a solid enough market, there will also be a TON of experimenting when / if this thing launches. The best part – we’re not going to wait until it’s perfect (which too many people do). What is perfect? Is it in your mind or the customers mind? All of your customers minds are different, so perfect to one person is anything but to another. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BEING PERFECT! It’s a word that shouldn’t exist as perfection does not exist.
Something to chew on
When Disney released Frozen they had no idea it was going to be as popular as it was. They made the regular amount of plush toys, and promotional items, etc… forecasting for a normal box office, and following. However, as you know, the movie exploded. It was a MASSIVE hit for Disney, and for months following its release you couldn’t get any toys, or more importantly stuffed Olaf dolls. At one point Olaf was selling for $80 on eBay. NUTS!
The point – if Disney doesn’t know whether or not a product is going be hit, how in the hell should you or I know? You, and I don’t have a clue just like Disney. We can forecast, and research, and rack our brains, but really it’s just wasted time, and money. Don’t over analyse. Instead get your product to market. Ask your customers questions, see how they use the product / service, and find out how you can make it better. Then keep testing, and experimenting because as your product / service evolves, so does society.
Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft