Teaching entrepreneurship is difficult.
Teaching it to 50 smart kids can at times get rough.
Teaching it to 150 students distributed across 50 groups with very interesting ideas across 25 odd domains will make you get up at 4 am in the morning after catching a few winks past midnight just so that you can keep up.
The gist of this two week experience is that there is really no good material or text book that allows you to:
- Clinically dissect your business and link your customers pain to product features,
- Your product features to pricing,
- Your pricing to segments,
- Your segments to customer reach.
There is material that covers portions of the above questions for instance how to segment your customers (basic) and craft a segment specific marketing strategy (advance) to reach them. You can also pick up a good book on pricing and conjoint analysis (advance statistical techniques) to link features and pricing and how much should a new feature really cost a customer. And if you look deep enough and long enough you may find a few pages that link pain to features or pricing. But there is no one text or reference or article that you can pick up that pulls all of the above together in a hand-out-able form to a class or a group of practitioners.
Much less 150 smart kids who are hanging on to your every word and expect you to deliver on your promise of Nirvana…
So far we have dealt with the Persona of a customer as well as the many ways a product could be described via a product feature grid. Let’s see if we can integrate these two posts with (a) to (d) above.
Let’s start with pain
Pain is real and needs to be felt strongly enough by the customer for him to open up his wallet and pay you for relieving it. If it is not felt, is not compelling enough for him to pay for relief than you are not interested in it.
At times you need to see (in your mind is also good) the customer to feel the pain. Sometimes you feel the pain first and then find the right customer. At times the person who is suffering is only an end user and the ultimate customer and decision maker is some else who may or may not be motivated to help out and relieve the end user.
For instance moving forward with the example of a network of resources for part-time working women, I am an author and getting an editor to edit my book is a pain. If the book is already delayed and need to be finished, the pain is strong. But I want an editor who has done this before, who is comfortable with my style and the subject area in question and is someone that I can work with easily and comfortably. Ideally someone that I can work with on my next book also, but I can’t decide till I get a chance to see her portfolio, speak to her, exchange a few emails and ask her to edit a few sample pages.
What is a feature?
A feature is an attribute of a product that impact pricing, distribution, marketing, sales, appeal, costing and functionality of that product. How do I link a feature to pain? For the above pain (the author in search of an editor), I must have a large enough pool of candidate to create a reasonably large pool of applicants. Then I must make it easy for the applicant and the author to interact without creating too much of a burden. And if I like a few editors I should be able to see their portfolio and invite them to bid. That is linking pain to a feature.
If the network of candidates is large enough, I can possibly charge for a job listing. Or get the applicants to pay a bit for them to bid for projects of a certain size or stature. I may only allow a limited number of applicants or a limited number of views. That is linking pricing to a feature, which in turn is linked to a pain.
A segment is generally a large enough group that can be treated as a collective but small enough for it to be specific.
How many authors (an end user who is a buyer on your resource network) are there? How many editors (an end user who is a seller of services on your resource network) are there? How many types (young, old, fiction, non-fiction, low end, high end, reliable, unreliable) are there?
So English language editors in Karachi, who have a degree in creative writing, have worked in the US, are available to work part time and are currently looking for a project is a segment. So are those are not looking for a project. As well as all authors based in Karachi who are using this platform to locate good editors for their books that are ready (segment) as well as those whose books are not ready (another segment)
How do you reach a segment? This is where we go back to finding the voice of the customer. If you know him well enough, you know where to reach him and with what message.
Jawwad Farid is a serial entrepreneur who is the author of Reboot and the founder of Alchemy Technologies (http://www.alchemya.com). He is also a regular contributor to the DesiBackToDesh blog (http://blog.alchemya.com ). This post is his third post in a series of posts written for his entrepreneurship class at SP Jain Dubai.