I started with the best of intentions, specifically those intentions were to begin my latest project using best practices. Here’s what I did.
- Came up with a host of different ideas
- Toyed with them for several months, made little pokes at them
- Boiled the ideas I had down to a small handful of ideas
- Started talking to some people, all friends, about the ideas and the reaction was very positive
- Started building an MVP
The Good News
The idea is a good one, it’s timely, I have friendly businesses ready to take the BETA product (MVP) in and start implementing. Also I’m only a couple of weeks away from having a fully functional, albeit minimally functional, product ready. The system is built on a solid CI framework. I built it relatively inexpensively. It’s pretty slick if I do say so myself.
The Bad News
I didn’t follow any particular business methodology to get here. I don’t have throngs of businesses lined up already waiting for me to sell it to them. I don’t have a big list in this market to sell the product to and I didn’t walk through the product development roadmap that I should have.
The Product Road Map
What I should have done is this:
But what I did do is this:
- Formulated a hypotheses, specifically, that local businesses don’t do proper marketing and certainly don’t maximize technological leverage in their marketing and end up resorting to services like Groupon that are in the end bad for business (google and read some of the horror stories or talk to a couple of recent Grouponers if you beg to differ) and cost them a ton of money. I hypothesize that the average business owner or manager does this for a couple of reasons.
- Business owners are BUSY they truly have a hard time carving out part of their day for marketing.
- Business owners are too busy running their businesses they don’t have time to learn how to leverage new technologies to handle their marketing they’re making pizzas, or delivering cakes or whatever so DIY is not an option or it is expensive because you need people internally or from the outside.
- The only thing Groupon has that you don’t have (you the business owner) is a list, a big local list of customers and the reason you don’t have it is because trying to build a list or train employees to help build your list while you’re in the throes of business is muy muy difficult.
- If I gave you (the business owner) a system that automatically built your list without you having to do anything at all really (except be smart) and then I gave you the power to communicate with that list wherever they are from wherever you are and I made it so dead simple your grandma could use it you’d never need to give up 75% of your revenue to an aggregator again and your business would boom.
- Chatted about this hypotheses with people I know.
- Mocked up a solution.
- Hired a developer and bought some other resources started developing
- Talked to some more people, still friends
- Made a little early pivot
- Have a BETA product about ready
So what are the steps I missed? Mainly the customer interviews, hopefully this isn’t bad news but right now it’s time to correct course. So this is my short term goal (5-7 days) is to figure out what my customer interviews should look like at this point. I know who I should be talking to now it’s a matter of formulating the questions, reaching out and asking those questions, then compiling the answers.
I’ve been thinking about why this hasn’t already happened, why I didn’t do this already. I think that is another post.