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Session 05: Blu-Tack & Sellotape, Building Your Product with Adam Farah

Expert Guest: Adam Farah (ZazuAfrica.com)

KLP: In this session, you will learn if how to build your product on a budget and market test it without overspending.

Free Resource: Product Development Planner

Developing a brand new product from scratch can be a costly and time-consuming process. Thanks to modern technology, however, we can now use lots of online resources and apps to prove a business concept without having to sink a great deal of time and money into its development.

Adam Farah joins us to discuss his experiences of developing two different products in two very different ways. Cavalry, a roadside assistance app, was built from the ground up over the course of a year and landed a coveted spot on the Ignite accelerator program. However, Adam admits that during the development of the app, he was building what he wanted, and what he thought customers wanted, rather than what they actually wanted. It was development based on assumptions rather than real-world tests. That idea was shelved and in hardly any time at all, Pip™ was born.

Adam and I quickly developed the idea of a concierge service in the form of an invisible app. This time around, the customer conversation was vital to the development process. We spoke to as many people as we could and validated the idea. Rather than try to build an app that would take care of everything, we focused on one key event that would be applicable to everyone – birthdays and how not to forget them.

Rather than code something from scratch, Adam looked to freely available resources that could help us validate the new idea at the minimum cost. First, he used Zapier to link other apps into a process flow. This would allow information on customers’ important birthdays would automatically get logged in a calendar and their message would appear on Slack. After speaking nicely to Twilio to get some free credits, we could then text those customers back.

The response from customers, as well as growth, was phenomenal. In almost no time at all, we had validated an idea with no outlay whatsoever. Very soon, the version of Pip that we had put together using free tools had even started generating revenue.

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We’d validated the idea through meaningful customer conversations with a carefully crafted avatar. We then produced a minimal viable product using freely available resources. This MVP then allowed us to test a single base assumption: Would people trust us enough to give us the information we needed to provide them with value? It turns that they did, which then allowed us to track a single KPI that would indicate how well the product was doing. Simple steps that will help direct the next stage of the process.

Progress is often hindered by the search for perfection. But we can learn so much more about ourselves, our products and our customers if we have an imperfect product out there, than a perfect idea still sitting on the drawing board. The feedback from customers can even change what your product can or should be.

That’s why it is all important to get something out into the world. And now, with the tools available to everyone, you can get your MVP online with minimal technical know-how and at very little cost.

Links:

Quotes:

  • “We wanted to be quick, be as lean as possible and try and nail it early on or fail fast”.
  • “You’re going to build your customer base by adding value, not by seeking profit.”
  • “Build. Test. Learn. Repeat.”
  • “If you’re on the wrong ladder, you need to get off quickly and it’s much easier to do that on the first rung than the top.”

Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!

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About the author, Mark

Mark Asquith is a serial entrepreneur who has built globally successful design, marketing, software and digital businesses since he quit his real job in 2005.

A passionate podcaster, global keynote speaker and helpful bloke, Mark is the co-founder of Podcast Websites and the creator of Excellence Expected. He has a terribly embarrassing beard.

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