1. Meet your customer segment
Although it sounds crazy, many companies and entrepreneurs who want to venture into the market with a product or service, do not know their customer segment. Knowing the clients and having a feel of the market is essential to starting our business on the right foot. In this initial stage, we look for the characteristics of Early Adopters. It is essential that at this stage, we go out and interview real users, with the insights we obtain we can accurately and deeply describe our customer segment.
2. Delivery of the solution
This is a common mistake, to deliver the solution without knowing our user. If we have not talked with them we can not know what problem we are going to solve and therefore we do not satisfy the client’s needs, and we go out to the market with a product or service that nobody wants or will use and of course, nobody will pay for it. What should I do? With the premise that we know our user and his problem, we design a solution that satisfies them. In this stage, we apply creativity, technology, and market knowledge. If it is new, we must invest in depth in order to know the smallest detail and know what we are talking about. Courage in this stage, most likely not hit the solution in the first exchange. The original idea will be modified as the knowledge of the market and our user base increases.
3. Business Model
We have our customer segment, we know what their challenges and problems are, we know the market and we have devised a solution to the problem. While it is true that a business model can be designed in the first instance, it is time to capture it, with the CANVAS Business Model.
At this stage we do not mention the BUSINESS PLAN yet, it does not make sense to write a plan when we still have doubts about our idea. However, it is important to define certain issues that we can visualize through a Business Model. Through the WB, we will understand if the idea is on the right track, that is, how we will generate income, how we will distribute our product/service, what is the cost structure, who our allies are, resources and key activities. Another advantage of the BM are the hypotheses and how we can test these hypotheses. In the methodology we work with in Nelson Romero Mentoring, the hypotheses are defined in the kick-off meeting and from there we connect with our client segment in order to have a starting point with the client. Within the hypothesis, a key is how this will formulate and if they are willing to pay for that solution. Each hypothesis must be contrasted in the market, there lies the success or failure of the entrepreneur or entrepreneur. The fundamental thing to launch your idea to the market is the validation of the hypothesis without investing a large amount of money. That is why it is important that you can count on my experience as a contribution to your endeavor. I have already gone through these stages both in my corporate career and in my experience as a consultant with other companies and entrepreneurs.
4. Validate product / service
Bingo! we already have the best solution and above all we know how we can generate a business with it. In this phase, we will know if our business idea is feasible, be it a physical, technological or service product. Here we will test or test whether the business idea can become a reality and how our segment’s reaction will be to the solution. Below, you will find some applications that you can use to make a prototype depending on whether it is a product or service:
- Software: programs such as POP , Prot otyper Free or any other similar will help you to create a prototype without having to make an investment in programming.
- Hardware: plates like Arduino or Raspberry Pi , you can get out of trouble in most cases.
- Physical product: 3D printing or even cardboard is an excellent option that allows you to test some hypotheses.
- Service: in the following publication you will find examples that can be very useful.
Once you have the prototype, we move on to the next stage and each time, we get closer to the most anticipated moment.
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5. Solution interview
Presenting a product or service to our segment has a whole strategy behind it. We can not waste a special and long-awaited moment; We should not go to this meeting and this ends up being a waste of time for both. The objective of a demo or prototype of the product is to obtain the opinions of our client, see how he behaves, and above all get the most insights in order to improve our version and add functionalities, especially if we talk about theological products. As mentioned, the demo serves to see how customers interact with the product, if the user experience is pleasant, if it generates problems and very important if our solution solves all the problems.
In order for our meeting to be successful, we must let the client interact with the product and note and notice what our early adopter does. The final objective of this stage is not to SELL but to learn in order to adjust those faults and to go out to the market with a solid product. Remember the following ” Good demos do not need a perfect product prototype, they need the right approach to the present audience “
6. Modify the product or service
With the insights or comments of your customers, both positive and negative, we redefined the product to arrive at a more approximate solution to reality. This solution does not mean that it is final or loaded with more features. It means, a solution that satisfies the biggest problem of your customer segment and that will be what you throw your company to the market. Without enough comments it is very likely that you design functions that later do not work, or that are not worthwhile for your clients and that you stop developing others that are important to them.
7. Prepare your financial projections
Our startup is taking shape little by little and the moment arrived that many do not like. Carry out the first financial scenarios. The financial plan is one of the most important modules within our nascent startup, through it we can visualize our sales projection, general expenses, salaries and salaries, direct costs that impute to the income, for example, commissions, costs of supplies. Once we have this data, we can put together the statement of results or gains and losses as well as cash flow. This basic information is the one we are going to use when we go to the various funding agencies to raise capital.
8. Build your business plan
Whether the company is online or offline, it is necessary to build your sales funnel. What is it? This is the way your customers go through the different phases of the purchase process, from when they meet you until they finally buy and recommend you. It is essential to build this funnel when you are starting your business. Many times, entrepreneurs want to move on to the next phase, expand and grow their business, viralize it using growth hacking, but for what? You still do not know how your client behaves, which channels are the most effective, why you lose potential clients. All this is best done when you still have few users. When you still move a manageable volume of data. It will not do you any good to do a marketing campaign, invest a significant amount of money if you do not know how the customer’s purchasing process is.
Launching a company to the market is not just a marketing campaign, the important thing is the data that allows you to make decisions, prove that the BM will be profitable and that the product or service engages your user.
In short, when you still have little mass of users, it is time to do tests, experiments and tests. Because the clients that you have, will be Early Adopters and they will forgive almost any experiment you do with them. Also, if you have co-developed the product with them, they will feel part of your startup, and will be willing to help you at all times because you are really building something that gives them a lot of value. ” The key to the success of your company is in your Early Adopters “
For this to make sense, it is essential to know the essential metrics that will allow us to make the best decisions.
9. Exit to the market
We are reaching the most anticipated moment. Everything indicates that our business idea is going from strength to strength, summarizing: we know our customer segment, we know its challenges, objectives and problems, we have solutions to those problems, we have validated each of the hypotheses with the market, we designed the prototype, we validated it with our user, we made the pertinent modifications, we elaborated our financial plan, we know how our conversion funnel will work. The big day has arrived! Let’s put our Startup in the market.
Doing so depends to a large extent on the sector in which your business idea is located. One of the keys that I stand out for almost any business, even before your idea starts to take shape, is to generate an online community. Generate or at least in the first steps enter an existing one and little by little create yours. Why? because that will allow you to share your knowledge, position yourself as an expert and, of course, make your business idea known. In this aspect, without a doubt, a blog will help you a lot and will be a key piece in your marketing strategy.
Whether your business is offline or online, having a good marketing strategy, it will also be a key element for you to reach your goals sooner or later.
As you can see, in these 9 rules, the only formula to achieve success is: work, strategy, measure results and make decisions in an agile manner.
Throughout this process, Lean Startup methodologies and the experience of others who have already tried almost everything will be key to reducing the risk that every innovative business project or idea has. Starting a business venture is an exciting challenge that will give you great satisfaction, but you must follow a methodology that allows you to be in direct contact with the market from the first minute.