Launching a new product: 4 Things to Analyze (Case study of a dating industry included)

When you’re thinking about launching a new product, you need to think about 4 things first to make sure that you have a high chance of success.

They are: Industry, Competition, Customer, and Company (including Product).

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(Image credit: economiaefinanza.blogosfere.it)

1. Industry

-Industry lifecycle (is it emerging? mature? declining?)

For instance, in the online dating industry my company is in, it is a mature market and there are lots of small and big players.

-Is the industry growing?

-Is it heavily regulated? Any legal issues?

-What is the barrier to entry and exit?

(The higher the fixed cost, the higher the barrier to entry.)

-What drives this industry? (Is it brands, technology, etc)

For instance, the online dating industry is driven by two things: innovative technology + marketing.

-How profitable is the industry?

2. Competition

-Who are the major players and what market share do they have? Is it monopoly? oligopoly? etc.

For example, in online dating industry, there are about 3 major players which have been around for a decade or so, and they hold 60% market share total.

-Product analysis: any differentiating factors?

-Distribution channels, suppliers, target customers

-pricing strategies

-any substitutions?

3. Customer

-Who’s our target customer? (Segment by channel, by product, region, type)

-Figure out any trends and needs

-Willingness to pay, price elasticity and sensitivity

-Which Distribution channels do they like?

For example, do they want to buy online? on mobile? in the supermarket? in the store?

4. Company/Product

-What are your product’s differentiating factors?

For instance, my product, Funfundate, sends you 2 daily matches and lets you pick which one is hotter, thus gamifying the product and positioning it as “a social matching game” instead of an “online dating service.”

-is it a commodity product or premium? (which affects pricing)

-Pricing- How much would we charge for? What’s our revenue model like?

-Cost of manufacturing/building and distributing the product

-Then, Predict revenue/year

-Then, figure out if you can break-even?

For instance, it costs you $1 million (fixed sum) to build a product, and $500K of variable cost per year. But if you can only make $300K per year given the number of customers you predict and price you set, you cannot break even ($300K<$500K), and this doesn’t even take into account the initial cost of $1 mil.

-Can you finance the product? how?

<Summary>

Do you think your product will be successful in your market? How big is the market size? How competitive is the industry? Can you differentiate? Can you fulfill the needs of your target customers? Is your product expensive or cheap? How can you finance your product?

If you analyze the industry, competition, customer, and company (and its product), you can at least avoid some pitfalls. This analysis alone doesn’t gauge success or failure, but you can get a deep insight into your market and know what you are signing up for. Think strategically and objectively. Don’t fall into a trap of loving your “idea” too much because it can mislead you in determining whether your product will be successful!

 

Bio: Emily is the marketing director at Funfundate, a social matching game dedicated to connecting people with like-minded singles nearby in a stress-free, fun way. She likes to cook, travel, and read books.

 

References: Marc P. Cosentino’s Case in Point, Michael Porter’s Five Forces

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Five Things to Keep In Mind Before You Start Your Own Business

Please note: This article was actually my guest post for The Secrets of Entrepreneurship. The blog has a lot of great contents too, so please go check them out!

Five Things to Keep In Mind Before You Start Your Own Business

Thinking of starting a business? Globally, more and more people are jumping on board to start their own businesses. Unfortunately, a few years later, a majority of entrepreneurs give up their dream venture for various reasons: they can’t find a way to make money or find any investors, the industry is too competitive, or they just can’t get enough traction in the market. However, most entrepreneurs don’t realize that failure typically stems from giving up too “soon.” They don’t see that entrepreneurship is a battle not only with their competitors but also within their inner self. In other words, you have to fight the battle with yourself.

That being said, you would probably have heard many entrepreneurs saying that starting a business involves having to face lots of small and big challenges. Indeed, entrepreneurship requires mind control, optimism, and tenacity. Therefore, it helps if know what entrepreneurship entails before you even write your business plan. Here isa list of five things you need to know before starting your own business.

Five Things to Keep In Mind Before You Start Your Own Business

1.Know the definition of failure in the realm of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs willingly accept and embrace failure, which is viewed not as an obstacle but as astepping stone to success. However, when you are starting a business for the first time, you might find yourself not being able to cope with failure very well. It does take time to get used to failure, especially if you’ve rarely experienced a major failure before. As an entrepreneur, you need to treat failure more lightly and view it as a mistake that anyone can make. When a mistake is made, most people learn from it and move on, making sure that they won’t make the same mistake again. Likewise, when you fail, what you need to do is to take out a piece of paper, write down a list of reasons why your business failed, and learn how to avoid making the same failure next time. Ask your mentor or other entrepreneurs about how you can improve. If you follow this solution, you won’t waste your precious time and energy blaming yourself or making yourself depressed.

2. Your previous work experience doesn’t really matter.

Your previous work experience can help you in somecases. For instance, when you’re looking to hire someone, you can tap into your network to help you find a talented employee. Your network can introduce you to a journalist, influencer in your market, investor, and so on. However, in most cases, I don’t see how your work experience can make you a better entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship requires different skill-sets because you have to work with scarce resources like a small team, a small office, or a small amount of money. Patience, persistence, and resilience will be more important than anything else. However, ifyou want to work for another company before starting your business, I suggest you work for a start-up company less than 2 years old. Otherwise, you won’t be able to learn much about how entrepreneurship works.

3. Don’t create a product just because “you” need it. 

It’s usually a silly move to create a product or service that “you” want to use, because you may as well be the only one who needs it. Your friends and family might also tell you that it is a good product, but it is still not enough. Your focus should be on your target customers.Talk toyour target audience, observe how they think or live, and find out what they need most. That should be the starting point of your business model. Of course, you need to be passionate about what you are building, but do not build something just because you want it. Build something a lot of people need so that you can make an actual business out of it. Without money flowing in, it is not going to last.

4. Don’t be afraid of soliciting feedback.

It is very important to stay open to people’s feedback and opinions about your business. You need to figure out what people like and don’t like about your product. By doing so, you can simplify your business model and focus more on people’s needs. In addition, share your ideas with as many people as you can, because no one’s going to steal your ideas. Your ideas will also be modified and tweaked based on people’s feedback and reactions.

5. Build a revenue model from Day 1.

Even if you plan to offer your product for free at the beginning, you still need to build a revenue plan from Day 1. Research how your competitors make money and benchmark them. For instance, if you’re building a social game like I did, there can be many ways to monetize the product: virtual currency, virtual gift, subscription, advertising, and so on. You have to think about at least 3 possible options for monetizing your business so that once your business attracts enough users, you can pick one that fits your business best.

(Image credit: Flickr.com)

My guest post link: http://www.entrepreneurshipsecret.com/five-things-to-keep-in-mind-before-you-start-your-own-business/

[Entrepreneurship Tip] 3 Things you need to know before starting your business

Starting a business is not the same as working on a school project. Often times, when you’re starting a company, it’s a battle not with your potential competitors but within yourself. In other words, you have to fight the battle with yourself. Every day, you’re given a new challenge and you have to resolve it somehow and then move on. Whenever you’re angry or frustrated, you just have to get over it. It requires mind control, optimism, and tenacity. I’d like to give you a list of things you need to know before starting your own company. Whatever you plan to build, you have to know what you’re getting into. I hope my startup advice will help prospective entrepreneurs, especially if you’re under age 30.

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1. Your work experience won’t matter.

Your work experience can help you in the following cases: 1) you’re looking to hire someone and you can tap into your network to help you out. 2) you’ve made some connections at work and may know a lot of people who can introduce you to a journalist, target customer, investor, etc.  Other than these two cases, I don’t see how your work experience can make you a better entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship requires a very different skill-set because you have to work with scarce resources like a small team, a small office, and a small amount of money. Patience and persistence will be more important than anything. So, if you’re thinking of working for someone before starting your business, I suggest you work for a start-up company less than 2 years old. Otherwise, you won’t be able to learn how entrepreneurs work.

2. Don’t create a product just because you need it. 

It’s typically a silly move to create a product or service that “you” want to have because you may be the only one who wants it. Your friends and family might say it’s a good product, but they might actually not use it themselves. Instead, observe people carefully and find out what they need. Of course, you need to be passionate about what you’re building, but don’t build something just because you want to use it. Build something a lot of people would want or need so that you can make an actual business out of it. Without money flowing in, it’s not a business.

3. Have a clear revenue model in mind

Even if you plan to offer your product for free, you still need to have a clear revenue plan set up. For instance, if you’re building a social game like me, there can be many ways to monetize the product: virtual currency, virtual gifts, subscription, advertising, and so on. You have to have at least 3 options for monetization so that you can pick one that’s best for your business in the future.

Do you have any other tips you want to suggest? Please let me know by leaving your comments here! 🙂

(Image caption: Flickr.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ter-burg/5807930178/))

For Girls:5 EASY steps to make men fall in love with you

When you are on a first date and you really like this guy, it’s pretty hard to hide your feelings. But it’s also important that you make him fall in love with you as well.

 

Here’s 5 easy steps you can use to make him get infatuated with you.

[Caveat: You will have to be a little bit manipulative (I would prefer the word “strategic”)!]

 

Image caption: Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoetnet/4850787275/)

 

 

1. Compliment him (but don’t lie)!

You know the book called “Compliments Make Even Whales Dance”? On a first date, you can make him happy by complimenting him on…pretty much anything you can find! His outfit, cute smile, great sense of humor, great voice, his awesome career or educational background, his awesome body…

(Caveat: You shouldn’t be lying when you’re complimenting your date. For example, if his clothes are shabby and seem like he bought them 10 years ago, you shouldn’t say his outfit looks amazing. He will notice that you don’t mean it!)


2. On a first date, wear sexy clothes (but not too showy)!

Wear something cute and girly, but add some sexiness to it. For instance, you can wear a cute blouse that emphasizes your narrow waist, or match it up with blue or black jeans that emphasize your curvy bust. Anything too showy is not very good on a first date if you are looking for a long-term relationship.

 

3. Develop active listening skills.

When he talks, show that you actually “care” and are curious to get to know more about him. Try leaning toward him to show that you’re listening, or at least nod often! A small change can really help boost your chance of being asked out for a second date!


4. Let him know you’re “compatible” with him.

If he likes to eat delicious food and you happen to be a good cook, then let him know (with enthusiasm)! Finding common interests and talking about them (and sharing your stories about them) will make the conversation much more engaging and fun!


5. Don’t call him first, but answer sincerely when he calls.

Be hard to get. Wait till he calls you and asks you out for a second date. But when you answer his call, you should show that you’re happy to hear back from him again (but don’t be too excited), implying that you had a lot of fun on the first date!

 

Easy, right? What are your strategies to make guys fall in love with you? I would love to hear from you!

Advice: 10 Things Everyone Should Know by 25

When you turn age 25, you realize that life is not what you once imagined it was. When you were in college, nothing can be too challenging: when you study hard, you can get a solid grade. If not, screw it, you can just do better in other classes and make it up somehow. You feel that you are quite in control of your life, because everything is pretty much organized. You attend classes, work part-time or intern, major in any study you like, make new friends, hang out with new friends, etc. However, when you reach 25, you start feeling a little unstable in life. Bad things can happen unexpectedly, your long-term plan doesn’t really work well, and life doesn’t flow the way you want it to be. You may start to learn that nothing comes easily, and you need to make some kind of effort and form your own strategies to get what you want.

For my young blog readers who will turn age 25 soon, I compiled a list of 10 things that every man and woman should know by 25.

 1. Don’t compare yourself to other people.

Every human being is different. You are unique. It doesn’t matter if your mom’s friend is super hot, smart, dates a billionaire, has a dream job, or lives in a high-end apartment. Comparing you to your friend would only make you feel inferior and depressed.

2. Find a “secret” mentor.

Your secret mentor could be Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Hillary Clinton, or anyone you admire. Your secret mentor will live “inside” your heart and teach you how to live the life you want. Your mentor will encourage you to work harder towards your goal, develop good habits, and surround yourself with good friends. Analyze how they lived their life and learn from them!

3. Learn how to have fun.

If you spent all your time studying, it’s a sign that you need to go out there and have some FUN! Go clubbing with friends, try bungee jumping, date all kinds of people, fall in love at first sight…there are lots of ways to have fun!

4. Live in another country.

If you’ve only lived in one country so far, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and live somewhere else, at least for a few months. Living in another country will broaden your perspective. It’s also a ton of fun!

5. Meet people outside your social circle.

If you are a type of person who hangs out only with a certain group of people, it’s time for you to expand your social circle! Making friends with all kinds of people will make you become a more open-minded, sociable person!

6. Fall in love passionately.

I’m not saying you should fall in love “often” but when you do, you should do so with all your heart. Loving and caring for someone enthusiastically is one of the best experiences and memories you can have in life.

7. Become Mr./Ms. Independent!

Are you still relying on your parents or friends to help you make good decisions? You need to try making decisions and choices by yourself so that you can develop a good judgmental skill. You can’t rely on others forever!

8. Keep in touch with old friends

You will be constantly making new friends at college, social events, work, pretty much anywhere you go. But you still need to stay in touch with a few good old friends! Good friendships can last forever and truly enrich your life.

9. Try something new. Take risks.

I strongly encourage you to try something completely new, like starting your own small venture, doing a random internship, travelling to a third world country, and so on. It will make your life much more exciting!

10. Do not be afraid of failure.

This doesn’t apply only to entrepreneurs. It’s okay to fail. In fact, you will make lots of mistakes in life. If you find yourself in a slump, don’t get too emotional or frustrated. Learn to overcome obstacles quickly. Improve your mental strength, and you will be able to stay mentally strong in all circumstances.