If I’d thought too deeply about every product I developed, I wouldn’t have launched any. Many times, I put products out first and then perfect them later. That’s how I build businesses.
I remember when I started my investment courses. I began with a problem. Here I was, a career professional with no savings or assets. I knew if I didn’t do something about my situation, I would be poor. At the time, there was no easy course to teach me about investing in Nigeria. Banks were too technical and tight-lipped. And so, I began a personal journey of discovery. I scoured the Internet and asked my banker friends questions. I cold-called asset management companies requesting for meetings. By the time I was done, I had developed my first investment plan which I executed over a 3-year period. After that exhausting experience, I swore no one should have to go through what I did. Instead, I would codify what I learnt into a simple video course for others to learn from. And that’s how my first investment course was born.
I’ve developed a couple more products since then and started a few businesses. Here are my insights about product development.
1. Start small. This means, whatever you are doing should fit into your bedroom until you’ve tested a pilot version in public. Sometimes until you introduce what you’re working on to the market, you can’t fully maximise it. So stop overanalysing and launch already.
2. Do things yourself to save cost. I created my courses, recorded & edited my raw videos and did my own voice-overs for social media promotions. I only spent money on finishing and not the raw product. That brought down the cost, until each product could pay for its own expenses.
For my courses, all I needed were a laptop, Internet and video editing software. I didn’t have the funds to do a professional video recording, at the time. So, I found a work around. With screen recording software, I was able to create videos from PowerPoint slides and then added my voice. I hosted the videos on Teachable, instead of wasting time upgrading my website to accommodate videos.
3. Provide as much information as you can online to remove unnecessary interactions. Also create FAQs.
A lot of times, the reason people contact you for direct sales is because your online store doesn’t work. Keep things simple. Have a single sales page that links to Paystack or Flutterwave for payments. Let people have a time frame for when you will respond to enquiries or payment confirmation. If people must talk to you, keep only one active social media platform that you can easily monitor. Also have a Whatsapp business line.
Now, this is very important. Customers typically ask the same questions over and over again and they rarely take the time to read your website FAQs. So, keep standard answers handy on your phone or laptop and simply copy and paste when clients ask those questions. It saves time and serves as a guide for the person handling your sales channels. If your website is pretty clear enough, when prospects make enquiries, simply redirect them to your sales page.
4. Don’t spread yourself thin at launch. When I launched my course, I sold on Facebook first. This is because I had built a strong community there and some of my followers were friends/family in real life. It’s also easier to curate product feedback in the comments section of Facebook than on Twitter, for instance.
If you’re launching a physical offering, commission a small quantity first via a budget producer on Alibaba and then sell to your immediate neighbourhood. That way, you can deliver yourself and not have your pilot programme frustrated by delivery guys. Based on customer feedback, you can decide whether or not to scale up.
5. Set up your admin quickly and cheaply. You need a basic admin structure to effectively sell products. Register your business early. You can use an online service like DIYLaw to save time and headache.
Build your website with a simple drag & drop template from Wix. Plug in payments via Paystack or Flutterwave in minutes, and use same to generate invoices. Sign up to Canva to design all your marketing graphics. For more technical stuff, outsource cheaply on Fiverr. Use Calendly and Zoom to schedule meetings.
Download your account statements in Excel every month and include simple comments describing each expense or income. Then pay a young accountant to develop your monthly management accounts and annual audited accounts.
Stop reinventing the wheel. Use existing and accessible platforms to minimise cost.
6. Build goodwill. I’ve been active on social media for years. I’ve blessed people and so when I started my businesses, people also blessed me with their custom and patronage. That’s how life works.
The good news is, social media is perfect for introverts like me who hate “hustling”. You can sell without physical interaction and deliver real value.
7. Separate your fans from your customers. I developed a sub-set of my mailing list for people who have bought my products in the past, or who have interacted with my product links. I typically archive every one else after a certain period.
Those who desire free information can continue to interact with my content on social media. However, I keep the premium stuff for those who pay, as I did not come to Lagos to count bridge.
If you would like to learn more about the investment course that I built, please visit this page. To book an experiential investment planning session with me, kindly drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading.If I'd thought too deeply about every product I developed, I wouldn't have launched any. Click To Tweet I put products out first and then perfect them later. That's how I build businesses. Click To Tweet