Be a Madonna or be La Callas… and no one else!

This is crazy I know, … After the second blog where I took  intellectual examples to explain some parts of the entrepreneur journey, this time I’m going mainstream, I’m diving into the pop culture…

So what do I call a Madonna product and what do I call La Callas product ?! …. you’ll get it by the end of this blog.

The previous blog ended with assumptions we’ve made about the market for our product, while this blog will focus on how to confirm (or deny) our assumptions. From there, we will tailor our product into a Madonna or La Callas shape !

La Callas: “Respect me, I’m La Callas, my voice and my charisma are unique, don’t even dare to compare anything or anyone else to me!”

The naughty Mahdi: “blablabla… and Madonna is singing that she is like a virgin! “

Back to the 90’s, during an interview, Madonna said an amazing statement: “I’m not the best singer, I’m not the best dancer, I’m not the best entertainer, I’m not the most beautiful woman, I AM MADONNA, the only one who is a beautiful/Singer/Dancer/Entertainer”. 

When you build a mainstream product, you need to keep in mind that you will never have the best price, the best positioning, the best production techniques, the best packaging…. but your product must have the maximum of these characteristics. (I must admit that I was about to take the example of the Coronavirus since its market is big and includes different aspects, but I have enough of this! I think Madonna is sexier than Corona, if you don’t agree I’m sorry to tell you that you are definitely infected) 

Academic Mahdi: “For clarification, the best price, the best positioning, the best product, the best packaging are the best according to your customers and not according to you! Never forget that as an entrepreneur you’re a customer’s employee !”

But sometimes, it happens to you to be in a niche’ market (which means that your market is probably small and very specific). How many people will invest money and time to go to an opera for a 5~7 hours classical music show ? Only a very small number of customers (That explains the costs of the niche products). In this example, our product will be Like La Callas, all the focus is on her voice. All the focus of your product will be in one or two of its characteristics.

So somehow, you need to decide (according to your assumptions) if you’re a Madona or La Callas…. but even though, this is an assumption as well. You can figure out that your Madonna isn’t a real Madonna but is more La Calasse and vise versa ! This is why you need to meet your potential customers to get to know them, not to sell your product but to prepare yourself to tailor it in order to have the easiest sellable product.

For the following steps, the biggest error made is to create online surveys! Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Go out (right after the quarantine), meet with them in person, discuss with them and hear their opinions and their thoughts. If you’re not ready for that, then sorry but you’re neither Madonna nor La Calasse, you’re like Thalssa (A wonderful crew from algeria that has made only one album and disappeared… I mean no one will get to buy it)

Madonna: “(singing)… touched for the very first time…..”

So let’s get in touch with your potential customers for the very first time to conduct some Target Customers Interviews.

In the previous blog, we talked about the PERFECT clients (determined with age, location, interests, revenue…), you need now to find at least 10 people who belong to this target to interview them.

This interview will be divided into two parts, the first one is focused on the “problem they are facing’’ while the second part is about your product. (If you remember my blabla on this in the previous blog, you would remember that this is an academic approach. Now,only Academic and Mainstream Mahdi’s are talking…the others are quarantined!) 

Naughty Mahdi: “What about me, did you forget about me !”

Madonna: “I don’t like him, he’s just using us!”

Academical Mahdi: “Sometimes we need to kill some items and some parts that are important for us (and from us) in order to move further (You will understand this later in this blog).”

La Callas: “I’m already dead !”

Interview Part 1: The problem

Keep in mind that in this part you should not talk at all about your solution. You need to have inputs from your potential clients. 

After being sure that these potential clients are facing this problem, hereafter is a sample of  questions you can ask them:

● How do you currently solve this problem? Do you use any product/ Service ? What are they ?

● Where or from whom do you buy these products or services? 

● Are you satisfied with these solutions? To which extent are you satisfied ? 

● Who is the decision maker for buying this product or service? Is it you or someone else? 

● What are the criteria that are used for evaluating alternatives? 

● How much do you spend each week/month/year on these types of products or services? 

● Would you accept an alternative solution? Why?

● What would be the ideal solution for you and how would you measure its value? 

Now you’re done with the first part of the interview, you need now to present your solution (your product/service). Be sure to describe all details of the user experience including how ongoing services will be delivered.

From here, you can start the second part of the interview asking for feedback on your product. Ask specific questions such as: 

o Would you…? 

▪ Use my product/service? Why or why not? 

▪ How much and when? 

▪ Would you pay for it? How much would you?  o What fears would you have in trying this solution? o Who would be the ideal supplier? / Where would you want to buy it? 

We all know that a project holder considers his idea/product/service as his baby. She/He is sure that it’s the best offer ever and that it can be a great and big business. Keep in mind that you’re surely wrong (you’re almost the time wrong). The aim of this interview is to show you actually where you are wrong. So embrace the feedback and people’s thoughts (I know it’s hard, especially when there are long months and years of prototyping behind, but this is very important to be able to step back and rethink everything). Let go of the old version of your product ( Madonna, La Calasse and Naughty Mahdi, I hope that you understand me now).

You’re FINALLY done with your interviews, you have now a lot of assumptions and many pieces of customers’ needs, you need now to combine them in order to create a modified Solution Design for your product.

At this moment, forget about the original idea of product/service you were thinking of, start a new page, with a new offer. You can easily be lost after that many steps, here are some questions that can help you organise your different ideas and all what is happening in your head:

a. What have you learned from the way your potential customers are currently facing the problem?

b. What have you learned about the customers’ feedback on your solution?

c. Now provide a new description of your product/service and how the user experience will look like. 

i. How and where people will get to know your offer?

ii. Is there an on boarding or purchasing process? Please describe.

iv. Will customers require any kind of support to ensure happiness/success? 

v. In the customer’s view, (not yours) what is the best added value of your solution compared to your competitors?

Here you go ! You have a clear idea on your dream product/service.. and make it look like Madonna or La Calasse !

But wait, we made assumptions, we made studies on markets and on customers, but all these don’t mean that you can from now be a MADONNA or LA CALLAS ! you’re still far ! You need first to build your MVP the Minimum Viable Product! And this is the topic of the next blog ! Stay tuned

Madonna singing: “and your heart beats, next to mine…. la la la la”

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