There are millions of ideas for startups, but which idea is best to create a sustainable business?
Obviously, a well-tested product is the way to go, but how do you ensure that you will get customers?
Our Lunch and Learn this week at Hub was presented by Tony Aitchison of Green Beaker Consulting and Solutions (GBCS), who has shared some wisdom.
The best way to guarantee success is by using the ‘Cycle of Innovation’, a six step principle that can help any entrepreneur or company become a sustainable business.
Step 1. Brainstorm
Spend time thinking of problems that occur in your life. This can be at work, at home, at school, or anywhere you find difficulty in your life. What hasn’t changed in a while?
Now out of the best ones, think of whether this a problem for everyone. If so, great, if not, junk it.
Now that you have your problem, brainstorm solutions.
Step 2. Strategy
The next step is to determine a possible strategy for how the product could work in the market. We find a stepladder approach to be the best form of an implementation strategy. Some questions you might want to consider are:
• What possible revenue model would a customer be willing to play?
• How many customers are there? Age? Gender? Location? Single? Married? Family?
• How much are people willing to pay for the product? What is your break-even point?
• How would it be able to reach the market? Advertising? Leveraging connections?
Step 3. Design
Once you have the strategy, it is time to design the product. We recommend grabbing a clean piece of paper and start sketching. Try to come up with three different designs of what it might look like and what functionality it has.
Step 4. Development
Out of the three designs, pick the best. Now think, how can I build this? What personal strengths do I have to contribute?
If you can build it yourself, great, if not find individuals or companies that have your missing elements that are willing to contribute to the project.
Once you have assembled the team – build it.
Step 5. Prototype
Not everything works well the first time, but this is where you test it. Speak to your friends, family, and strangers. Strangers are the best people to speak to as they can be completely honest with their opinions.
Ask them questions including ‘how often might you use this product?’ and ‘how much are you willing to pay for it?’.
These two questions are crucial in developing a new product.
This is also where you tweak and do small improvements on the prototype to enhance the product.
Step 6. Launch
• The fun part: launch the product! Aim to sell an achievable amount within a set time so you’re working for a target.
• For a sustainable business, grow your target each month. If you’re setting realistic targets but not reaching them, then something might be wrong. Analyse the way you have reached the market.
• The best way to find these problems is to continue the cycle. Go back to Step 1.
Repeat this process and you are on your way to success!