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Typical Task Plan

Things you should have done and verified already.

  • Personal Assessment. Is the product compatible with your passions, strengths, abilities, experience, and values?
  • Customer Assessment. Who is the target customer? What is the demographic and profile? Where do they go for information about solving the problem you think they have? How real is the problem? How urgent is the need to find a solution?
  • Product Assessment. Will it actually provide a compelling solution to the target customer? Is it technically feasible? Is it economically feasible? What are the product and infrastructure costs?
  • Prototype. You developed a very lean mockup or illustration of the product to present to potential customers in your test group in order to adequately portray your vision.
  • Verification of Assumptions: Does the initial test group of probable customers react positively to the value proposition? Does the test group react positively to the product idea in terms of it being a compelling solution?
  • Business Assessment. How large is the probable market? What are the most appropriate channels for gaining awareness and interest? Do you know how to transact purchases? What are the activities and resources required for fulfilling product orders? Do you have an experienced and competent and committed management team to run the business?
  • Initial Assumptions List. By doing all of the above, you should have developed your very preliminary assumptions into a good set of initial assumptions that have a good chance of surviving more extensive testing in Definition and Validation.

Things you will do in Confirmation.

    This is for a fictitious product. For your product, there might be steps you don’t have to take or steps I didn’t mention, or the order may be different. This is just a guide and you will see more information on these steps as you go through Confirmation.

  • Refine the customer profile based on the testing you did in Assessment. Re-work the market reduction exercise to make sure your probable market assumptions are accurate.
  • Prepare the marketing message. What’s your slogan and the marketing message that appears to be the most compelling?
  • Prepare the virtual communication devices. Find a web designer, get a domain name, find a hosting company, and build a simple web site that delivers the vision and benefit statement. The web site also has to have a form to collect customer feedaback.
  • Prepare the personal vision transfer device. Make a more useable and functional mockup or prototype of the product. The purpose is not to have a fully functional product, but instead you need to make it so that the features and benefits can be easily understood by the target customer. If there is any confusion about the problem, the solution, and the way your product provides that solution, you will not get actionable feedback.
  • Prepare the personal communication plan. Using what you learned in customer conversations in Assessment, develop an opening statement and value proposition script. The goal is to open a non-threatening conversation, fully explain the problem, verify the urgency of finding a solution, and get honest reaction to determine potential market acceptance.

    Remember, your marketing plan will be different for the business type you’re proposing. If you’re starting a consulting company or a personal services company, your approach will be more personal contact than virtual because you’ll be relying on networking more than search engine optimization for your web site.

  • Activate the virtual Awareness channels you determined appropriate in Assessment in order to drive traffic to the web site.
  • Develop a plan for finding people to talk to in person. Identify physical or virtual networking groups, web sites, or places where your target customer congregates or meets. Activate the process of getting to them and starting the conversation, whether it is in person or through blogs or social media.
  • For the revenue side of the profitability equation you need to prepare a set of questions that will determine value in the eyes of the customer, at what price does the product become valuable enough to induce them to buy. Profitability = revenue – (product cost + infrastructure)
  • As your confidence in marketability grows, find and talk to engineers or suppliers about the technical and economic feasibility of the product. Start to tighten down the tangible product and infrastructure costs. In a service company, think through what activities and resources you need to actually start the company when that time comes. This will give you the “expenses” side of the profitability equation.
  • Activate the customer communication plan to determine if there’s a problem, if there’s an urgent need to solve it, if your product offers a compelling solution and what revenue model and pricing structure they will accept as appropriate.

    There are more things you will add to this as you progress through this chapter.