I’ve found, through experience and observation that many small businesses (with good intentions) initially focus on the wrong areas. I’ve even observed these behaviors in the wild (i.e. startup accelerators) when a group of strangers take up residence in a conference room and begin to plot world domination. But somehow they get lost in a Bermuda Triangle of strategy, superfluous jargon, opinions and egos – leaving little done at the end of the day with no real result.
To be honest, once upon a time, I too started with an initial focus on all of the wrong things – marketing, public relations, business development and so on. These things are instrumental along the way. But they mean absolutely nothing without one simple thing – a viable “almighty” product.
How to Develop an “Almighty” Product
Developing a viable product that is sellable and shippable should be your main priority. And if you’re on that path, or possibly your second or third startup – you know how important this idea truly is.
When you get started down the product development road, one of your main challenges will be locating, selecting and hiring reputable suppliers and manufacturers.
But don’t panic. Over time, this process can become second nature and systematic. So, if you have an idea and you’re ready to turn it into a tangible product start with these four steps:
1. Admit that you know nothing.
This is hard for some of us, myself included, but it’s important to start any business endeavor with a blank canvas. Be willing to “hunt and gather” as much information as possible.
This doesn’t mean that you should aimlessly wander about hoping and wishing that a finished product will manifest itself on your kitchen table. Instead, start where you are.
Fact: Fashion designer, Ralph Lauren had no experience in fashion design, yet he now presides over a Polo/Ralph Lauren empire. “I didn’t know how to make a tie,” Lauren confessed to Vogue in 1982. “I didn’t know fabric, I didn’t know measurements. What did I know? That I was a salesman. That I was honest. And that all I wanted was quality.”
Lesson: It’s not what you know that makes you great. It’s your willingness to admit what you don’t know and move forward intelligently to acquire what you lack.