How to create a new product, business or campaign, that delivers a fruitful harvest for juicy results.
We love building things for the satisfaction and enjoyment it brings, but the formula to ensure a fruitful outcome has been learned by just as many failures.
Every adversity, every setback, every failure has within it, the SEED of an equal or greater benefit.
- Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich -
We create fruitful formulas to help our clients overcome a business challenge, and when we're developing something new, we apply the Fruitful Creation Cycle. This ensures we don't miss a critical step in the product development process, but we have also found its applicable to other areas too. Our formula for the fruitful creation cycle can apply when you are starting a business, new promotional campaign, building a brand or development a new product or asset. This cycle can also be repeated to keep growing your product or business exponentially.
At the centre of the cycle is something new.
A new product, a new strategy, a new business. This is the seed for your harvest and the process is how you make it abundantly fruitful. The checklist for your seed idea includes the following elements:
It aligns with your passion.
It aligns with your purpose (business or personal).
You (or your team) have experience or expertise in this field.
You have resources at your disposal (time, money or equipment).
You can see a healthy profit margin or a way to make money consistently.
I recommend you can answer yes to at least four of these points. If you are evaluating different options you can compare these components by rating each of them out of 10.
PLUS an essential ingredient, is it MUST solve a problem for the intended audience. This is critical for market demand.
The fruitful creation cycle is broken down into 9 key stages:
Cultivate & Create
Let's unpack each of these now.
Step 1 - Calculation
Know your numbers!
What problem are your solving and what is the size?
What is your planned market position and how big is this opportunity?
What are your costs for both set up and operating?
Who is your key target audience and what is the size of this segment?
What is the market growth rate or trend showing?
Set your key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets.
These are crucial steps in the planning process, so do not skip it.
When you are repeating the cycle, this step is conducting analytics to learn from your previous actions and see what's working, what can be improved and what did not deliver the return.
Step 2 - Calibration
The calibrate step is about adjusting your approach, strategy, direction, product or business based on the external factors you have learned in step 1. You may shift your brand position, your target audience, your product functionality based on what knowledge you gain on your market. Always be prepared to adapt or pivot from your original idea. The power of the pivot can be gold.
If you are on a repeat cycle, this is the adjustment based on your learnings of the first or previous cycle whether is has been the launch or a promotion. Compare your results to your targets with your KPIs. How did you go?
It is important to note, I have never repeated something without making a few adjustments. You can always improve your strategy, your design, your message, your product, so delve deep into the data, insights and listen to the market so you can continue to exponentially grow. The later cycles will be more profitable than the first. Even if you have achieved exceptional results, you can find a way to amplify it, reduce the costs to deliver it or the time and resources to execute it. This progressive innovation drives the profit margin and your continued success.
This Next step is where good entrepreneurs become great.
Step 3 - Courage
With every new venture, new promotion, new product, there is always an element of risk, something unknown. There is an investment of money, time and resources.
This is when courage is essential to take the leap forward.
So many ideas that are great and have merit, do not make it as the decision-maker does not have the courage to try. And it goes without saying, 100% of those fail.
"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."
- Suzy Kassem
So to help you make data-driven decisions, use the fruitful decision-making framework and go for it! If your idea is validated, it solves a key problem and there is demand, then it comes down to your strategy and execution to make it work. Belief in your ability to make it happen is all you need. Remember this cycle is ongoing and with the analytics and tweaking steps, you can get it right. Back yourself and go for the extraordinary.
Courage is one of my favourite values and is part of the mindset of successful entrepreneurs.
Step 4 - Cultivate & Create
Step 4 is the stage to grow and improve your product and develop your new business, asset or promotion. This is when you develop your minimum viable product (MVP) and get it market-ready for testing and validation.
You can do this as part of a collaboration or create something from scratch. This is not the stage to spend your entire budget on the project. Save some critical funds for product refinement and marketing later on. You don't want to end up with an unfinished product that had all the potential and a great roadmap that you couldn't afford to implement. I have seen this happen and it's heart-breaking. You've done 90% of the hard work and you know what it needs to succeed but you're at the end of your business runway.
If you do hit this roadblock, try to get some seed funding or crowd funding to continue.
While you are developing the product, it's ideal to have a team of advisors around you that know the market, industry and also have some end users that you can consult for feedback. Remember you are designing this product for your customer and not for you. Make sure the most important features for them are the most accessible and invest in getting those right first.
Step 5 - Circulate to an Inner Circle
The circulate step is about telling people about your product and letting them test it. It could be a select customer group or a mini launch that enables some market research that will help you refine your offer and what resonates with your target audience.
The biggest mistake many entrepreneurs make, is trying to get their product perfect before they launch and then launching big. The trick is to test small and scale at speed once you see it all working. That testing and tweaking stage with an inner circle is imperative for the initial improvements and lessons to be applied.
You are best not to launch a full scale marketing campaign, until you have received that initial feedback to improve your product, service, offer or pitch. An organic sales process can teach you something vital to the long-term success. Is the product right? Is the message resonating? Are your systems and processes efficient? Trust me, no one gets everything perfect in the first roll out. You will learn something.
Save your marketing spend for when you have the formula optimised for converting sales.
So do they love it or is is so, so? Leave no doubt about this and don't just ask friends and family who think everything you do is fabulous. Constructive criticism is key.
Step 6 - Captivate
Ready for launch and marketing, step 6 is about captivating your ideal target audience with your offer. Create compelling creative that converts customers. Clever copy that connects, captivates and converts browsers into buyers.
The key to captivating an audience is to remember that people buy on emotion and then rationalise with logic later. That is where storytelling plays a role.
Developing Your Story.
So what is your story? What is the journey that brought you here? Why did you create it? How will it help others? What obstacles did you overcome? What is your offer? When and where is it available? Why must I buy it now?
By including your personal story or brand story into the sales process, you can expect a better sales result. You see people buy from those they know, like and trust. If they feel a connection with your values, have been through something similar or are still suffering the pain that you had, this will compel them to buy.
People connect with people before companies, so personal stories carry greater weight. If you don't want to be the face of your brand, find a customer and tell their transformation story instead.
Step 7 - Commercialise
Create a sustainable commercial model.
A commercial business model is a conceptual structure that support the viability of the business in how you plan to make money on a sustainable basis. It should include how your company plans to create, deliver and capture value for the customers as well as your business.
There are various types of commercial models available. The most popular I use include:
Subscription models for recurring income defined by a long term contract;
Membership model for recurring income that is month-to-month payment or annual;
Freemium / Premium model for a free version to try with premium features to purchase within the product;
Leasing model - they pay a fee for the use of your product, but do not own it and return it when they no longer need it, which is most suited to expensive equipment;
On-Demand digital model - people pay per use or view like an online course or live event;
Consumable model - they pay for product and consume it for ideally residual income when they repurchase it again;
Affiliate model - you earn income when others sell your product on your behalf; and
Advertising model - your product is free for users, but you sell advertising space, sponsorship or brand endorsements within it.
You can include a combination of the above models or different models for different products. The model you select will define part of your sales and go-to-market strategy.
You want to understand which is the most attractive to your customer and that which extracts the best value for you and customer combined.
Your pricing should also form part of your commercial model and you need to decide whether there is an up-front payment, flexible payment plans (equal instalments paid over time) or payment following a trial period. If you have a high-ticket item, flexibility can increase the uptake by reducing the risk upfront.
Step 8 - Consolidate
What have you learnt? Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your team in the product review stage.
What is working?
Are there efficiencies you can make?
Can you get the same result by spending less?
What is the customer feedback?
What are the most common questions?
What are the most popular or used features?
What do customers regularly ask for?
What is the conversion rate?
How has our competition reacted?
Has the marketplace changed?
Are their new opportunities presenting themselves?
How do customers rate our customer service?
How can we improve?
What mistakes did we make? What did we learn?
What delivered the biggest impact on sales?
Where are consumers buying our product?
How do they make a decision to purchase?
When do they make a decision to purchase?
What is their decision-making process?
Have we AB tested our marketing message?
Step 9 - Celebrate
Always celebrate the wins. You created, launched and learnt in the first cycle.
Acknowledge your team, call out the good behaviours, those that went above and beyond to ensure the success.
Client testimonials. Speak to your customers and share their transformations that your new product has given them. The proof is in the pudding, so if you are getting results and creating positive impact that is something to celebrate and share.
Now your product creation process doesn't end there. You should always have a focus on innovation, new opportunities, expansion. If you stand still, someone will catch you, so keep moving forward to grow your business.
If you would like help developing your product roadmap, commercial model, go-to-market strategy or support the whole product development process, contact fruitful group to discuss your project.