Feeling Stuck? Try These Tips Before Starting Your Next Project
Some actual sound advice from people who have "done it"
While it’s easy to start a company, managing one is not. It’s one of the toughest, most grueling, and exhausting experiences you can put yourself through. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can also one of the most rewarding.
In this edition of MakerOS Biz Tips, we will be exploring how to build, survive, and thrive throughout the process of creating and running a successful product development service.
Where to start?
"If you build it, they will come."
Yeah, not true…
Before you spend a dime or build anything, the most critical thing you can do is research everything there is to know about whatever it is you’re thinking about.
And even before that, start by creating a filing and note taking structure that makes it easy for you to organize what you find.
We’ve always found G-suite/Google Drive to be the best option for creating docs as they’re always backed up, accessible on any device, and you can share them with anyone.
Ok, now that you’ve done that, we can get started.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to build just yet or already have an idea, you should start by answering these questions. They’ll help you figure out what you don’t know and give you a stepping stone to the next phase.
Create a business hypothesis.
Designing an effective hypothesis helps you determine the specifics about what you are trying to prove and keep you focused on how you want to do it.
Make sure you’re focused on what you will and won’t do for your clients. Straying from this will take you away from what you do best.
Who is your product or service for?
You need to have an intimate understanding of your audience. Do not be foolish and think you can swallow whole industries right off the bat and serve everyone. Start small but keep the bigger picture in mind for the future.
Identify your "beachhead" market. Establishing a beachhead is a military term meaning, in order to break through enemy lines, a bulge or portion of an entry point needs to be established before a full-on assault occurs.
This is probably the most underrated step to take in launching a new service. Without understanding your customers, you understand nothing. Don’t ever forget about customer discovery. It’s more important than what you actually build.
Know who the people are that have the buying decision to purchase your product or service. You will be marketing and selling to them.
What are your potential customer’s current pain points? You will be building your service to directly cure their pains.
The best way to get these answers is to interview and survey a sample set of people or businesses that you think meet your criteria for a potential customer. Then take the data and see if there are any valuable insights and if they meet your hypothesis.
Everything mentioned above should be documented. If you only have this "idea" in your head, you will fail. You need to be clear and concise with your thoughts so that you can actually explain what your plan is to anyone walking down the street.
Quick, shameless plug: you can document everything with MakerOS. Seriously, we’ve designed it to be easy to record every conversation, file, and payment on a per project basis. Schedule a demo with us to learn more.
Get early validation
Test your idea by trying to convince your most cynical or honest friend, family member, or mentor that they need your service. This is what I call the "baseball bat" method: if your idea can stand up to someone beating it with their proverbial baseball bat of arguments, then you very well may have something.
By doing all of this you’ll take what you’re thinking about from just an idea to something that actually has some substance. You’ll know what sort of business you’re going to build, who it’s for, how you expect to make money, and have already started to get validation by telling people about it.
Remember, a lot of people get here. This is Step 0.
MakerOS is an efficiency platform with all of the custom order management features a 3D printing business needs to collaborate with clients and better their workflow. Request a demo to speak with a member of our team on how we can make your company better.