Will the right product sell – it depends!
by Roger La Salle
My last blog talked about finding the market need and of course the best way to do that is to find a product or service that is selling well and simply make it better, or “innovate it” if you like!
This is classic low risk business, unlike some of the disbelievers that scorn incremental innovation or making improvements to what is already well accepted, believe it or not, this strategy can be a game changing and highly disruptive strategy. Further, it’s virtually risk free.
Some game changing increments
Let’s take a product firmly embedded into every household in the 1920’s, the wireless. Let’s innovate that and add a picture, now you have TV. Highly disruptive and zero market risk. One could well argue the same about bringing colour to TV, or speech to movies and so on.
Let’s take the taxi for example, a commonly used means of transport, and innovate that offering to create UBER. In the accommodation industry “Airbed Accommodation”, again a new way of booking a room now made simple and with vastly reduced cost.
Similarly with the old fashioned telephone tethered to a wall by a cable, let’s remove the cable, classic incremental improvement with no market risk.
There can be no doubt that looking at everyday activities and creating small changes provides a great way to build a business with little or no risk. But there are caveats.
It’s not always easy
The above mentioned innovations, though in essence incremental and lacking in market risk, all took a long time and significant expense in development. However that said, the market risk in these was in essence negligible
Will any product be OK?
Unfortunately not, as too many innovators and start-ups find out the hard way.
Just taking a common product and making it better is not the answer without the essential ingredient of “a route to market”.
I am sure at times we have all been appalled at some of the well-respected branded products, brands we trust but that have delivered real trash to the market. One may ask, how can this happen, how can these products get through the supply chain? The answer lies in them already having an established distribution network.
As an American man many year ago once said to me, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve got, you gotta have distribution”.
What’s the lesson?
Whilst innovating widely used products or services may be the key to business success, unfortunately, if you lack that vital element of distribution you may find the going tough.
Perhaps you can use the internet and e-marketing to gain traction and thus disrupt the normal distribution model, but this usually a slow and can be very frustrating. Further, if your product involves low cost mass production and thus high start-up costs, your now back in the area of high risk!
**** END ****
Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organisations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.matrixthinking.com
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