Customer First Product Creation and Development for Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

Building a business from scratch requires two things:

something to sell;
someone to sell it to.
Now, that might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many people leave out the first step, assuming that they already know what it is that the market needs. In a recent interview for Mixergy, Sam Ovens revealed many techniques for creating a business from scratch, but one stood out in particular – Talk to the Customer First.

The process works for physical and information products, as well as services, and even software as a service (SaaS).

There are a number of ways to put yourself in touch with your potential customers, such as emailing them, offering to call at a time that suits them to talk about their main pain points, and developing the relationship from there, and which you choose will depend on the industry.

Extracting the Product from the Customers

Once contact is made, it’s important to allow them to relate their issues in their own words, without preconceptions, or offering any one solution. To enable them to actually think about what is important to them, it is also useful to ask them to rank their issues in order of importance to their business.

Having extracted a list of issues, and selected one that can be solved with the skills at your disposal, the next stage is to deliver a solution, on paper, to the potential customers.

Their feedback, at this point, will help shape the product offering, but also will need to be filtered. Not every suggestion that they make can be carried through, and not every tweak that they offer will make sense.

A bit of back and forth will be required until most of the customers are happy with most of the features.

It’s vital at this stage (product development) to remember that you shouldn’t be offering features, but helping the customers to identify shortcomings or needs, and tailoring features to meet them.

Fixing the Price Point

With a rounded out product to offer, it’s time to fix a price point that will be enough to keep you interested beyond the initial roll-out. In the same way that an investor needs a large enough share in a company to provide them with the potential return to keep them involved, the entrepreneur needs to generate enough revenue to remain keen.

Remembering that in a B2B context, the price is just another business expense, but in a B2C context, it represents a personal investment, a sensible price can be fixed that everyone is happy with, if not necessarily ecstatic.

Finally, with a product designed, and price fixed, it can be offered to the market.

The package can first be offered to the initial customers (at a discount) and then to a larger collection of the potential customer base by way of a validation of the usefulness and price of the offering.

By paying up front, the development can even be partially, or completely pre-funded, removing one of the major obstacles for getting a product to market.

Using this process to extract the product and price from the customers themselves, the business is much more likely to succeed than if the product was developed in isolation and presented to the market as a fait-accompli.

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How to Find a Hungry Crowd For Your Product Creation and Development

For any type of business to succeed product creation and development has to be a part of their overall business plan. For most people through finding and creating products that people want can be tough if you do not know how to go about it. By not having a formula or plan in place you will find yourself just spinning your wheels and your business struggling to try to stay above water. We have some tips to help you with product creation and development so you can market them to your customers and others who maybe looking for your services.

One of the main keys of product creation is finding out what people want. This is not as hard as it may seem. Finding what people want will take you a little bit of work, but it can be done with just some proper research. Many people tend to think you have to pay a company thousands to do the research for you. That is just not true unless you’re rich and can afford to toss money around. All the leg work can be done by yourself quickly and efficiently once you know the steps you need to take. Now let’s get into those steps to your first product creation and development.

On the Internet your best friend to help you create products for your customers will be forums. There are millions of different types of forums on all kinds of subjects. This means no matter what type of product you want to create there probably is a forum about it. The main reason we use forums is because people post questions and problems they have. By visiting these forums you can see what needs they have and get to work on a product to fix the problem. Two of my favorite places to visit are and The Warrior forum located at Big-boards is a listing of forums update daily showing the largest ones around. The Warrior Forum deals mostly with Internet Marketing, but has so much information you will want to visit it daily. Most people just try to guess what people need and that is a big mistake with product creation and development. You must actually see what people need so you can create what they want. Most people buy products because they solve a problem they have.

Developing your products is something you should take very seriously. Ask questions in forums, this will help you understand the needs of your potential clients. Quiz your customers past and present on what they need. By compiling all this information you can create products that people want and need. If you do this your business will continue to prosper no matter what type of economy were in.

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