Just starting out? Here is a quick primer on Product or Service Development

A quick thought on product development…
 
If you have a great product, yes, it will eventually sell itself through viral and referrals and recommendations but HOW do you get to the point where you have enough investment to actually make it awesome?
 
That’s the catch. Here is what I see:
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Method 1: run ads –> get traffic –> get customers –> make profit = ability to spend on product development. Rinse and repeat and grow your audience and profit each time.
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OR
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Method 2: You invest and take all the risk –> product development = awesome product (hopefully) = great customer experience = customer referrals, recommendations, and viral = probably lower ad spend in the long run. Put all profit into the product and customer experience.
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Somewhere in these two approaches to creating a great product or service, you put money back into product development, assuming that is the business approach you want to take (it doesn’t have to be though, there are other methods to product development like surveys, customer-driven development, open source leadership, etc)
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Personally, I think method 1 gets you quick results and feedback early on and lets you pivot quickly if necessary based on customer input. But you need to be open to it. This approach works well in collaborative product development: build the product they want with their input early on.
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Method 2 is better if you really believe in the product or service and are willing to let the customers do the talking for you after you built it.
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The way things are going, people have less and less time and even if you have an awesome product, they still may not put their effort in unless they are well incentivized (monetary via an affiliate, proud to be a member of your tribe, outstanding customer experience, want to help you grow, etc).
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Just think of the last time you bought something fantastic and went out of your way to leave a review or recommendation. Probably not that often, unless it’s a restaurant. Nothing like a meal to get customers talking about it 🙂 (good or bad!)
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They do say that the customer isn’t always right. If customers lead product development, Apple would never have made the iPhone and changed an entire industry. Or maybe the smartphone was inevitable anyway.
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My gut feeling with most of the Entrepreneurs I see: If you are just starting out, feeling lost, or not having the success you thought you would, isn’t it time you take an honest look at your business and start listening instead of talking? Maybe you don’t have all the answers.

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