Rule #1 in Product Creation

We’re continually finding ways to bring new products to our customers. There are literally hundreds – if not thousands – of facets to the digital business world that are continually evolving, and as creators and marketers, we’re an integral part of that evolutionary machine.

People are always asking us How do you do it? And while there are certainly a bunch of nuggets of advice we could throw out there, there’s always one that we can’t stress enough.

Rule #1 in Product Creation: Never Reinvent the Wheel, Just Make it Better!

Folks, we’re not here to create a brand new niche with a product that’s never been seen before. I mean, sure, you can argue that you may have a revolutionary idea for a product that carves out its own spot in the industry, but those products tend to be few and far between – and those types of products that turn out to be a success are even more of a rarity.

As serial entrepreneurs, what we’re looking to do here is to hone in on an aspect of our industry and find new ways to improve it. For instance, we saw that there was a huge disconnect in our sales funnels at the checkout page. Here were a few of our concerns:

  • Customers were abandoning their carts at the checkout page
  • Customers were getting ‘hung up’ on the numerous fields for their information
  • Opt-ins were less successful because of the effort it was taking for customers to repeatedly fill in personal information at each opt-in screen
  • Vendor payment systems were not being integrated into a payment processing system that was useful to the customer and business alike
  • Affiliates weren’t getting paid instantly for their efforts when a customer funneled through the checkout page, hindering their fervor to continue the hard work

We could see that there were numerous payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree to name a few, but none of these were as useful to the business as they were to the customer. Additionally, they weren’t getting to the meat of the matter when it came to initiating more sales for a business. They were merely the payment accepter.

We’re not in this business to just ‘receive payments’; We’re here to make the sales happen and to make the most of each sale at the same time. That means higher tickets – and more of them!

So rather than reinventing how people pay for their products, we created a new system that improved on the old ways of online payments, and that’s how Pay Kickstart came about.

And that’s just one of our products, but each and every one of our products started with an analysis of the current process to find the pinches in our sales funnels. From there, we sought new ways of catering to our customers’ needs, which only helps to widen the funnel in the end.

When you’re at the drawing board, it may seem easier to reinvent the wheel. But the wheel has already been invented — your goal is to make it better.

There are hundreds of startups out there, and to think that you’d be able to actually ‘reinvent the wheel’ with a new product is almost unrealistic. We’re not saying that there are no new ideas to be had; Rather, we’re wagering to say that there’s a much bigger need for enhancing the ideas that are already out there than to come up with a new product altogether.

There’s always room for innovation, but when it comes to product creation, it’s efficient innovation that drives the most business.

You don’t want to push another product out that others are already selling. Back to our Pay Kickstart product…There are a ton of payment processors already out there. Rather than making just another processor, we were looking for a system that tied these processors together as a more efficient ‘middleman’ between us, the customer, and the payment method — a system that benefited all three at the same time.

The goal is this: Differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s not about who does it first; It’s who does it best.

Your mind is probably already swirling around your most recent ideas or products. Did you follow our rule? As you continue to grow and churn new ideas, keep these three things in mind:

  1. When your back’s against the wall (as it will always be in the startup environment), adopt a ‘David vs Goliath’ mindset. Sometimes you’ve gotta take the leap to know whether or not you’ll succeed, but you can set yourself up for success by stocking your toolkit with the following:
    • A Badass Team
    • A Great Product
    • Make Your Customers Love You
    • Be Awesome Enough that the Competition Respects You
  2. Your product needs to be a game-changer that disrupts the ‘machine’. You’re improving on the wheel, so make sure it’s disgustingly disruptive to the status quo. Think about Tesla’s electric cars — they’re building on the foundation of prior electric cars (which built upon gas-powered cars before them!), but they were so different that they became the baddest electric car in the industry, and now they’re the go-to product.tesla
  3. Learn from the failures. While it may sound pessimistic at its core, we all must face the realistic fact that there will be some failures along the way. Use these as a springboard for the creation of better products down the line. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’re reinventing your own wheel instead of improving on others’!

You’re in this market probably because of a few reasons, but at the forefront, you’re likely here because you thrive on entrepreneurial spirit. Make sure you’re putting your efforts and ambitions into the most efficient ways of product creation. Rule #1: Don’t reinvent the wheel – just make it better!

To do this, arm yourself with these bits of advice:

  • David vs Goliath Mindset
  • Disgustingly Disruptive Products
  • Evolutionary Failures

Your products don’t need to carve out a new spot in the industry, but they can easily push out outdated products in an already-existent niche. You’re aiming to make the industry better, not create a new industry altogether.

You tell us: How has your product improved on the status quo?