I have an idea and I am looking to take it to the next step by developing a MVP. What do you recommend I do? Hire a freelance web developer, find a co-founder, find a mentor?
First, hat tip to you for being a young entrepreneur. Keep it up!
If you have the funds to build out your MVP, hire a developer and possibly a mentor. If your idea is marketable, you don't need to give up equity by bringing in a co-founder.
If this is your entrepreneurial venture, I would recommend you do retain a coach to help you see all the things you may not know.
Have you already done your SWOT analysis? Have you identified your target market? What is your marketing plan? What will be your operating expenses?
There are lots of questions to ask. If you would a free call, I'd be happy to help you in more detail.
Just use this link to schedule your free call...
No one has the answers that you seek (that sounds like Jedi)...
You have to understand your own skills and abilities -- and where your ability and the demand in the market cross paths...
The simple answer:
1. Follow your own instincts and do things differently than others
2. Save all your money - like seriously don't buy anything you don't need
3. Get your financial education first (this is where a mentor can speed up the process)
4. Invest your money wisely and prove you can manage it
5. Now start a business
But no one wants to follow that path because it "seems" too slow.
First off - remember that no one will ever do it for you. And no one will ever have the recipe that you need because there is no perfect recipe. Business is as much an artform as it is science. There are many ways to win and more ways to lose. Think about improving yourself first and foremost. Learn as much as you can about money first. Then go for your passion. For most entrepreneurs, they refuse to get the financial education first, so they dive in head first and learn through massive failure. This is a painful path but if you are persistent and willing to grow, you'll eventually get there. Other Clarity members mention getting a mentor. As a youngster you have both an advantage and disadvantage. Older people will think your "ideas" are cute and they will be patient with you when you fail...on the other hand, most successful people do not spend time with people like you because they know 99.9% of you are posers. You think you want a business, for this minute. Then you want to go party and watch TV and be a "consumer" psychologically. So smart people make you prove that you can do all these basic self-discipline steps on your own first. Call the Small Business Association and go through all their steps first -- then you will have proven you even deserve to get a mentor. Likewise, you can shortcut the whole thing if you or your family is connected to generous wealthy people. Call them up, ask them if you can share an idea with them over lunch to get their feedback. After doing this 30 times, some awesome person will volunteer to help you and the doors will open from there. Never give up. Be patient.
Another path is follow "Think and Grow Rich" exactly. Napoleon Hill lays out a recipe for success, but most people are too lazy or have too little willpower to follow it.
Your best bet in my humble opinion:
If you want to build a MVP - ask someone to loan you money and buy the AppSumo course for starting a business. In fact, email Noah Kagan and demand a copy. Tell him that you will pay him back with interest when you make your money back from his course. Appeal to his honor and passion as an entrepreneur and just get his damn course already. Watch the Youtube videos with Noah and Tim Ferriss. This is the way to bootstrap a MVP in the modern age. Don't re-invent the wheel. Use tried and true recipes that have already worked for others just give it your unique spin. Even if you can't convince him to help, you will learn a lot in the process -- I promise he will give you that.
If you want to be a business owner, you have to start thinking about all the reasons you can win (like convincing Noah so you can keep your money to start your business) and just get to work. Everyone will tell you that you will fail. Just smile and remember that no one has the answers ;-)
Oh yeah, and when you have money to take it to the next level, then pay a Clarity coach (NOT YET). See above how Kevin extended a free invitation to talk? Take him up on it and prove to yourself that you will take action. Prove to yourself that you are serious. Prove that you are willing to do the work instead of getting stuck thinking too much.
Follow the Lean Startup methodology. Step 1, talk to potential customers and see if they'll buy what you're selling (ie. validated learning).
Reaching out to someone who's done it before is always a good idea.
If you're 16, odds are you have enough time to learn & build it on your own.
It will very low risk and everything you learn along the way will stay with you.
Congratulations on being a young entrepreneur. First I would say to make sure you have a coach. A coach is vital to your success.
Then I would say make sure to identify your target market. Then market to them the idea of the product or service. I would not recommend creating a prototype without knowing if anyone will be interested. This will save you time, effort, and money. Also if the market doesn't receive your product, make some adjustments to find what works. Stay with it. Welcome to the entrepreneur journey. Best wishes!
That's amazing. Many successful entrepreneurs have started in their teenage years.
I definitely think a freelance developer should be hired and I interview web designers, so I can act as your CTO and find you the write web developer.
I am not sure you need a co-founder unless you want someone to share your ideas and implement them with you or if you have too many ideas for one person to implement.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is for you to plan.
1. Write a business plan - You can find many templates on the web for business plan.
2. Write a marketing plan which will include viral marketing and social media.
3. Right a finance plan on how you plan to pay investors.
Getting the word out:
1. Find investors once you have your business plan written.
2. Attend angel investor meetings in your area
Getting the Assistance You Need:
1. See if there are other people in your school who would want to join you and help get things done.
2. Hire a lawyer to write you up a partnership deal / agreement / contract.
Great going! I have actually mentored a few teenagers who created businesses.
My advice -- read a business book a week. Take 3 things from the book and put them to use. If you're not sure where to start, you'll find a link to my books list below.
Start with the book a One Page Business Plan(r) I have a description of the book at www.CoachMaria.com/books/ Put your ideas into words in a way that help you plan for your start-up and business growth on one page.
1) Find a mentor or someone that inspire you and keep you on the right path
2) Focus on 1 business at a time
3) Avoid shiny object syndrome
4) Read & learn everyday
5) Develop healthy habits to maintain and fuel your success
I started doing business when I was 20. I'm now 25 and loving every second of the entrepreneurial world :)
Congrats for starting business so early and best of luck! :)
Find a mentor. A mentor will provide you so much insight that will allow you save time and money on your project. I also recommend you "fail fast". What I mean by that is start taking steps to get data, don't worry about being perfect or making mistakes. You're young and you can use that to your advantage. Look at other young entrepreneurs and learn where they hang out and who they follow on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. The mechanics of a business isn't the most important part. It's the implementation of the idea. It's actually "taking action" so you can get your prototype crated. Then you can tweak it and get more data. The exciting part is your in the mindset of working for yourself instead of a boss. That is a powerful mindset at the age of 16 for sure.
I hope this served you.
Remember... be a servant,
I became an entrepreneur very young too. So here is my advise. Don't think too much if your idea is good or bad, find a problem a specific group of people have and then offer them a way to solve it and charge for it. (Follow lean startup) keep it simple!
Hope this answers your question. It would be great to know if you actually went for it!
most of the foregoing are spot on. Find the one that suits your style. No use putting the correct shoes on the wrong feet and then trying to run. The suggestion way up top about engaging a Business Coach gets my two thumbs up (yes I am a Coach) and I wish I'd have had the option when I was starting, growing, buying, selling and reviving my own businesses. One specific that can slip by is to avoid ongoing recurring expenses, things that self renew every month whether you use it or not. For the first while there are economical ways without that monthy cash drain out of the gate. Enjoy your business :-)
Find a mentor who has been down that path and may be able to connect you with valued partners, resources, and buyers.
Hire a freelance web developer, preferably one recommended, and be sure they sign an non-disclosure agreement.
Watch "Shark Tank!"
Many young people have used my book Core Value Proposition to test their idea and prepare a basic development plan. I'm here to help.
So I joke with my friends about this all the time. When I hear about a high school kid building some million dollar app, I say if programming was as easy as it is now when I was 16 with all the free time I had I would be a millionaire too. If you have the money to invest in a freelancer and you have a well thought out idea then that is one rout you can go, but this might be a good time to learn some development yourself. If learning yourself is not an option then I might suggest perhaps you might want to entertain the idea looking for a technical co-founder in you network. I know some people oppose adding a co-founder at this point but I think there are a few thing you should keep in mind. Depending on how validated your idea is already you probably have to do quiet a bit of iteration and feature changes to get to MVP and that will cost increasingly more money. The other thing to take into consideration is your age, some investors will be apprehensive towards investing in you (not your idea) so to over coming that your app will probably need to be further along. Both of these concerns are addressed by bringing on a technical co-founder, yes you will lose some equity but what good is having 100% of nothing.
First of all, you are amazing. Secondly, yes do all three, hire a freelancer, find a co-founder, and find a mentor. Then follow all of my advice below.
Always specialize and find a niche. But do not find a ditch instead of a niche. Let me explain.
You can actually find several or even 100's of niches and specialize in each. Note that this very different from trying to appeal to everybody with the same product. However, nobody on here will be able to tell you the gaps in the software development market. But, I can tell you how to find the answer to your question. You can do this through testing, pre-launching, and launching. Your potential customers will give you the answers if you follow the techniques below.
Test, test, test. You should run several split tests using different videos within the campaign and drive customers to take some concrete, measurable actions. This action can be signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, signing up for a White Paper, signing up for a free bonus, etc. But you have to key each of these along with the video to make sure that the actual video is driving the actual action.
I am sharing other information from my other posts below in hopes that this also helps you.
Boot Strapping or Million Dollar Marketing. Here is the formula.
I am adding information below that I have shared with others.
If you were looking for a doctor, you would go to a hospital. If you were fishing you might use worms even if worms disgusted you. You would not use ice cream to catch a fish even if you yourself love ice cream for obvious reasons. The fish nor the customers don’t care what you like or what you want. They only care about what they want. Customers instinctively think “What’s in it for me?” Understanding this is the key to marketing. And understanding marketing is the key to get whatever you want in life or business.
For investors, try contacting owners of existing similar companies. They have more money and experience than you. Have them sign an NDA when possible before discussing your business proposition.
So, here are several of my marketing solutions:
Here is $10,000 worth of information for free and in a nutshell. (each of these proven concepts could actually be worth millions of dollars in the right hands).
I like your idea. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as say, it is a great idea. So...don't give up. But don't keep beating your head against the wall either. You have to get over the wall.
You have to quit focusing on marketing and sales tactics and focus on a strategy. How do you to this? You have to come up with a really solid USP. Why would a customer choose you over others similar companies? Find the answer to this before you continue with your marketing strategy.
Secondly, you need an irresistible offer.
Thirdly, you need to offer an unbelievable guarantee. By doing this and following the directions below on pre-launch and launch you should be a lot closer to getting real solid customers.
I didn't actually invent the pre-launch or the launch. Concert goers are very familiar with winning concert tickets by calling into radio stations or winning VIP treatment, or back stage passes, lunch with a star, the list goes on.
Likewise, if you look at "professional wrestling" or boxing, or MMA, the whole fighting before the fight is just a pre-launch. Unfortunately, even heroin dealers use a pre-launch technique better than most business people. PT Barnum was doing this for circus goers over 100 years earlier. And I can only imagine the pre-launch of the Romans for the Gladiator Fights.
In more recent history, every type of business from Retail Stores to Real Estate companies have used multiple pre-launch techniques. Believe me; tourists are bombarded with Condo deals when they visit Disney Land.
This is similar, but different from lead generation, another power marketing concept along with backend sales techniques (I don't have the enough space to discuss these and other powerful techniques here). But I use these techniques in my own businesses including offering free information packed newsletters and encouraging my clients to move up my sales ladder because it is best for them. Most do move up the sales ladder as their ambition and drive increases. Some move all the way up from the very beginning. Both benefit from this, one just takes longer to receive the benefits. Others will never take a chance on becoming successful.
Okay, to pre-launch campaigns for SaaS platforms, a startup, or any product or service. Simply, come up with a taste of what you have, ask a serious question and answer it. At the end of the end of the first "answer and solution" set the potential client up with another problem that is very familiar to them. Convince them that you have the answer. Follow this technique several times. Most do this repetition 2 or 3 times, but a famous golfer has sent me literally dozens of how to videos in order for me to take the bait.
You might think that giving the answer to a solution makes your product less valuable and your opinion less valuable. If you think that…then you would be wrong. Heck, look at what I have given out in this answer alone. But, this is just the microscopic tip of my business and marketing knowledge. My experience is if you give you will receive. That is…if you know what to give, how much to give, and how to receive.
I am not trying to convince you to call me. Frankly, most people cannot afford to call me and I am very selective about who I accept as my clients. Besides, I am pretty busy with my own businesses and consulting with some very high paying customers. However, I would need more info from you before I could have a greater impact in helping you.
Most solutions involved this: Ask, Ask, Ask, then Ask again.
Concentrate on the 3 M's of Marketing. I have come up with 7 M’s of Marketing, but 3 will do for now. These are Market, Message, and Media. They come in that order.
Who is your target market (customer, clients, buyers, users, etc.)?
Tailor your laser focused message for this target market.
What is the best media mix to get your message to that market?
Here's what you do...first, take steps to make sure that you are actually selling something that a hungry crowd wants like a baby wants milk, then…make an offer that is so incredible that they cannot resist. Secondly, do all the work for them. Make it so easy to make the purchase now that they can do it virtually without effort. Thirdly, give them an incentive to act right now. Fourthly, offer an almost unbelievable guarantee. Fifth, offer a bonus for acting now. There are many other incredible steps in my playbook, but these steps should help the novice to the professional sell anything.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. These are one and the same. Don't get off track. What we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since in the last couple of thousand years.
The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.
Ask, Ask, Ask. Have thick skin and learn from each "mistake." In a short while, the market will tell you what you need to do and who and what you need to ask. But get started now, even if that just means asking a contact on LinkedIn.
While you are thinking, you might as well think really big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.
Make decisions quickly and change decisions slowly…unless you are actually going off a cliff.
Remember these two 11 letter words...persistence and consistency. They are two of the most important tools ever invented.
Even better yet, remember my 411 Rule of Achievement – It consists of (4) eleven letter words for super achievement (also an 11 letter word). Here it is, my 411 Rule of Super Achievement:
Consistency can change even the smallest
Possibility into a big time
Persistence + Consistency =
By the way, I get a lot of people asking me if I can take phone calls for free (a free sample). Sorry, I can’t. I respect Clarity.fm and what they are trying to accomplish. And I wouldn’t if I could. The information that I offer is just too valuable to give away for free. I used to give information away for free and nobody used it. I found that when I charge $3,000/hour people paid attention and actually used my unique techniques, strategies, and tactics. Without taking action on this incredible information or paying someone to take action, you will not succeed no matter how “lucky” you may be.
Treat everybody you talk to and everybody you meet (including yourself) like each is your number one million dollar customer.
Remember this for most people who really want to achieve a dream:
First: Your dreams are important and those who don’t support and believe in your dreams either don’t understand your desire and ambition or they have some other reason (many times reasons they themselves don’t understand) for not wanting you to spend the time and effort necessary to achieve your dreams.
Secondly: If you haven’t achieved your dreams and goals so far, it is not your fault. I know that this goes against what you usually hear, but it is true. Stop blaming yourself. You have a whole world of obstacles that are truly to blame. You only need to figure out how to go over, go under, go through, go around, or go with these obstacles in the direction of your dreams.
Thirdly: Fear is normal, but don’t give into it. Use it to motivate you and guide you.
Fourth: You are right; there are probably some people who don’t want you to succeed.
Fifth: Keep this in mind, there are people competing to get there first, do more, have more, invent what you are considering inventing, or simply trying to win. Believing in yourself and what you are doing is part of a powerfull strategy for winning over your competition.
I also always suggest that everybody at every stage work with a coach, mentor, or consultant. Heck, it works for Tiger Woods, every team in the NFL, the NBA, and etc. We all need guidance and support.
Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.
Michael Irvin, MBA, RN
PS – Many people have “Upvoted” my answers. Thanks to those who do this. I really appreciated.
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Congratulations man! Some short tips.
- have a coach that understand you are young enough to take responsibilities and take you seriously.
- who you want really reach? No b*****t target market, define it! .
-test the market with some free tools/webside or crowdfunding campaign first.
CREATE MOMENTUM, continue feedbacking your BM and get feedback from all the people. I was selling newspaper at 14 years old. none were taking me seriously so i went to some old guys, made them selling my papers and payed per commission. I made more money at the end :)
To have a burning heart for entrepreneurship is a great thing. But you would miss the two other element of success - enough knowledge and enough experience. I propose, in order you continue to feed your fire, you continue to read and try on the technological part of the business. Those are changing so quickly, you have to understand where it all comes and where it goes. Simple money-making story, will destroy the great idea of any great business.
all the best
Wow, congratulations on wanting to be an entrepreneur. This is a good decision and am sure you are going far. I will advise you to find a mentor who is successful in the same niche. With a mentor, he or she will help you overcome challenges and help you understand the business better. Entrepreneurship is hard work you need guidance, you need a lot of learning and a lot of research to succeed. Any good idea can thrive but it needs so much focus, knowledge and commitment to be successful.
Good luck, the sky is the limit for you.
I have a new advice for the young entrepreneur an advice that starts before the hire a freelance web developer, find a co-founder, find a mentor. It is an advice that starts with soul of start-up, it starts with CUSTOMERS.
A start up is a young company founded by one or more entrepreneurs to develop a unique product or service and bring it to market. By its nature, the typical start-up tends to be a shoestring operation, with initial funding from the founders or their friends and families. One of the start-up’s first tasks is raising a substantial amount of money to further develop the product. To do that, they must make a strong argument, if not a prototype, that supports their claim that their idea is truly new or a great improvement to something on the market. Though a vast majority of start-ups fail, some of history's most successful entrepreneurs created start-ups like Microsoft (founded by Bill Gates), Ford Motors (founded by Henry Ford), and McDonald's (founded by Ray Kroc).
In India I have worked at several start-up companies all had the same aim was how to get attention of customers to make more and more revenue for themselves. Potential customers think in a thoroughly rejecting way: they look for a reason to reject your product. Only by assuming that mind-frame can you develop the insights and innovations necessary to come up with the right innovation. Only by intensifying the consumer’s rejection thinking can you get him to take a fresh perspective on your product or service. Every day, you and millions of other potential consumers make thousands of decisions. You are not consciously aware of most of the decisions you make, but you make most of them the same way, by reflecting on the drawbacks involved, and then picking that course of action with the fewest drawbacks (or the least painful ones). Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize winning economist, referred to this as “satisficing.” Instead of optimizing satisfaction and choosing an outstanding product in terms of its aspects in one particular area, we compromise on the best so that we do not get the worst in some other aspect. We don’t settle for the best in one area, but the least bad in all areas. The only way to understand how consumers make decisions is that they do not accentuate the “positive,” but the “negative.” The process of deciding is not about including more options and facets, but about exclusion. The analogy is one of a funnel with a lot of screens and filters inside: a lot may be poured in at the top, but only a small amount makes it all the way through to the end point (the decision by the consumer to purchase the product). Too many marketers think like street vendors. Their pitch involves a brief focus on one attractive point about their product. Take a walk with me some Sunday afternoon, around the Toluca Portales. So many happy couples and families; so many opportunities for street vendors. The balloon vendor attracts a crowd by making a sound of a strange bird. The popcorn vendor makes the sound of a steam whistle. The churro vendor sells not so much on sight, as by the smell of the donutty mixture hitting the hot oil. And then there is the vendor of the little wind-up toys. The child sees one and wants it. All of these vendors hope that their potential customers will think just like four-year olds, overly impressed with the first impression attractive aspect of the product, making a purchase decision before the unfavourable come into their minds.
The adult decision maker can’t keep the unfavourable from jumping into his mind and dominating his decision. The adult decision maker sees the cute helium balloon and thinks, we are going to mass in ten minutes, and do I want this balloon of a red devil soaring above me at church? The adult decision maker sees the popcorn, churro or snow cone vendor and thinks: will the kid be done eating in ten minutes? Probably not, so do not buy it now. Of course, when the family gets out of church is not a better time, because then they must go to Aunt Maria’s for Sunday dinner. Then the adult decision maker contemplates that windup toy. His child’s initial fascination is more than matched by these sober calculations: is it a safety risk? will it break before he loses interest (in which case junior will start to cry)? or will he lose interest before he breaks it? (in which case it was not a very good investment either), will junior be making noise with this toy all during mass? The adult does not have to come up with ten good reasons for not buying the toy: one is sufficient to veto the purchase. This rejection mind-frame dominates most product decisions that adults make. To make a sale, you must get beyond the (all too often unannounced) concerns, each standing as a sufficient obstacle.
Here are some businesses and the concerns involved.
AIRLINES: I fly a lot; I have to if I want to live in one country and show up for work in another. Each time I fly, I think how much I would like to avoid it. Most of these reasons are just reasons to avoid flying in general, but some reasons translate into avoiding specific airlines.
1. Those baggage limits bother me. Sometimes I want to bring more weight, more bags, an oddly shaped bag, or a live animal. Several times I have driven two thousand miles just so that I could bring something with me that I knew the airlines would bother me about. (Opportunity talking: if an airline just relaxed those baggage limits, they could get my business, at least on certain occasions.)
2. Losing Luggage. The only thing worse than not being able to bring luggage is to bring it, check it, only to have it lost. One airline (United) in particular has lost so much of my luggage I shall not give them another chance, even if the flight were free.
3. Getting to the airport is a hassle. I hate those shuttles. They arrive early, or late, and the drivers go like crazy to make the next pickup.
4. Parking at the airport is a worse hassle (which is the only reason I even consider the shuttles).
5. I must revisit the whole transportation hassle when I arrive at my destination. I would prefer to drive 300 miles to Phoenix from Redlands just so that I have my own car there when I arrive.
6. The food on the planes (and in the airport) is so bad that I started packing my own food even before some airlines stopped providing meal service.
AIRPORTS: I hate using airports, but as with airlines, I have to, in order to avoid the alternatives. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of airports that I have never used, and probably never will. It would be more precise to say that there are only a handful of airports on my list of potentials. All the other airports have at least one rejection factor that meant that I scratched them off my list.
1. Wrong city. Topeka may have a great airport, but I never had a reason to go to Topeka or the surrounding area, and doubt that I ever will.
2. Wrong route. Maybe the airport is close to my destination city, but my departure city is not on the other end of a route that it services.
3. Wrong airline. Some airports are limited to a few airlines. If they are the airlines that I refuse to fly (because of their unfavorables), then I have no reason to use the airport.
4. Too far. They are building a new airport for the Mexico City area, and putting it east of the city in Texcoco. Since I live west of the city, that makes the new airport too far. They can build it, and I hope it draws some crowds away from the airports I do use, but I won’t use it.
5. Too large. I hate LAX and a few other mega-airports that are just too big to be efficient or convenient. I just don’t want to go there. I will drive a hundred miles to San Diego just to avoid LAX.
6. Too small. Some airports are just too small to have a critical mass of essential services. I’ll wait until they grow a little.
7. Parking. At some places (e.g., LAX) the parking is just too confusing. At other places (e.g., Tijuana) there just are not enough long-term spots.
8. Public transportation. LAX strikes out again. There is no way I can just catch a public bus that takes me close to home.
9. Too far between connections. This is not just a function of size. Some relatively small airports put way too much distance between connections.
10. Too confusing. LAX strikes out again. Why a “Bradley terminal” instead of numbers or letters? Why some airlines depart from one terminal and arrive at another? Airline passengers are trying to assemble logical cognitive maps, and there is no excuse for making that process so difficult.
ATMs: Now a trip to the ATM is part of my daily ritual, but fifteen years ago I was a cautious adopter. There were many barriers which were eventually removed, but some financial institution could have sped up the process and got a new customer by removing these more quickly.
1. Complicated. At least initially, it was confusing going through the different screens. I could have overcome this in five minutes if some bank had set up an ATM inside the branch and had an attendant walk me through the steps.
2. Fear of getting mugged. There are still some locations I will not go to even in the day. One brilliant move was putting ATMs inside of public places (like malls and police stations).
3. Fear of bank errors. My wife had a bad experience with a debit card, so I cancelled that card, and just have the regular ATM with no Visa logo. I once went to a new bank to open an account, spending over a half hour with the paperwork, and then the deal breaker emerged. This bank only had debit cards, no plain ATM. I cancelled the new account.
4. Tellers are easier. For the first ten years of the ATM, many customers concluded that tellers were still less fearful and less risky. One bank (Bank of America) decided to pull tellers off the line in order to encourage its customers to use the ATM. (Of course, the long lines also encouraged many of its customers to check out the other banks as well.)
BANKS: I have accounts at a dozen different banks, and I am a former customer with as many. There are some banks I will never be a customer of (and some I will never be a customer again). Here are the rejection factors determining my selection of banks.
1. Location. This is a deal breaker. I will never be a customer of the First Bank of Tulsa because I have never been there and will probably never live or conduct business there. Even a southern California bank, with too few locations, would not become one of my banks.
2. Bad teller service. As I conduct more of my banking online, by mail, or by ATM, I need fewer and fewer teller contacts, but when I need to see a teller, I want prompt and effective service. One bad experience of service is usually sufficient for me to cancel the account.
BATTERIES: I hate batteries, the kind you have to put in flashlights and small appliances. I love my solar powered radio because it does not use batteries. Consider the unfavorables of batteries.
1. Shelf life. You never know how long they will last. More specifically: too often when you take them out of the package and put them in the device, they no longer work.
2. Wrong size. I don’t understand the need for all the different sizes. All I know is, when I need some batteries, that’s the size I don’t have, while I have all these stocks of dead batteries which have not been used because they are the wrong size.
3. Expensive. Enough said.
BOATS (and yachts, and jet skis). I don’t own a boat bigger than an inflatable Sevylor. The temptation is great, because in Long Beach I live right by the yacht harbor. The favorables are all there, but so are the compelling unfavorables (which might explain why they say that the two happiest days in the life of a boat owner are the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it).
1. Cost. Yes, all of these water toys are expensive to purchase.
2. Maintenance. All of these require regular maintenance and/or repairs, everything from refinishing the deck to changing the oil in the motor. The greatest motivation for maintenance is that without it, when you arrive at your water destination with your boat, it does not work. (Of course, sometimes that happens even when you kept up with the maintenance.)
3. Training. As they get more complicated to operate and maintain, they require more training. The only reason people get the training is that when they try to do without the training, the level of frustration is much higher (and people avoid the unfavourable).
4. Storage. Everything has to be somewhere, and when the boat is not in the middle of the water with you at the helm, it has to be somewhere else, perhaps a berth, perhaps in your garage or backyard. That is a cost of money and/or space.
5. Transportation. If the boat is not stored in the water, it must be stored somewhere else and brought to the water. You will need a trailer and an apparatus of getting the boat into and out of the water.
6. Dangerous. Regardless of the amount of training and maintenance, boats are accidents waiting to happen, accidents in an environment which humans are unlikely to survive.
7. A better alternative. Renting a boat when you get there seems to avoid problems 1,2,4, and 5 and maybe the guy renting it to you will give you an impromtu version of the essentials of #3 training, and hopefully, he carries insurance for #6.
CABLE: For a long time I didn’t have cable TV service at my Redlands house, and still do not have it at Acapulco or Long Beach.
1. No time to watch TV. The first thing that popped into my mind when I see an ad for cable is: “I don’t have the time to watch all of those channels.” My situation changed when my aged father moved in with me and spent most of his waking hours in front of the television.
2. Installation. I knew it is too complicated to do myself, and I heard that it is a problem coordinating the right time with the cable company. Verizon’s easy installation convinced me.
3. Pricing. I have heard that they start you off with low rates and then jack them up after you have become accustomed to the service. Verizon finally gave me a great deal.
4. Alternatives. There was broadcast TV, until it went digital and I had to deal with the unfavourable of those conversion boxes. Also Fox kept putting on those “reality” shows and amateur talent shows, so those unfavourable got too high.
5. Disreputable companies. I had heard too many stories about poor service. Finally, I found a company (Verzion) that gave me good phone and FIOS internet service, so I decided to try them for TV.
CELL PHONE: When they came out, I tried one for a couple of months, but got rid of it.
1. Too complicated. Forget all the bells and whistles. Just give me an on/off switch, a dial tone, and big buttons. That might make me a late adopter psychographic that is on the wane.
2. Carrying. Maybe the young generation likes to wear these on their belts as a fashion statement, but I still do not have a place for it.
3. Charging. We are back to the battery thing again. Why can’t it just get charged by the sunlight or by the natural movement of my body?
4. Sound quality. I could not hear the voice on the other end half of the time. The newer phones are better.
5. Risk of loss, theft. I never really had it lost or stolen, but I was always misplacing it (once again, it never had a convenient place for carrying or even storage.)
E-BOOK READER: Many publishers have tried to convince my students that instead of buying traditional textbooks, a better alternative would be to purchase an e-book reader and then “cartridges” for the specific textbooks (at about half price) needed that semester. The way the salesmen calculate, the average student could save hundreds of dollars over a four year education. Most students have balked at this sales pitch, and I think they are demonstrating caution based upon perceived unfavourable.
1. Complicated. Any new technology is complicated, and the student fears not being able to use it. Until a critical mass of students starts using it, and then showing each other how to use it, the salesmen may have to demo the use of e-books.
2. Lack of compatible cartridges. It is not sufficient to say that some or even most textbooks will be available on cartridges. If one professor requires one textbook without a cartridge, the student has to go back to purchasing the old-style textbook.
3. Resale value. Students see their textbooks as an investment as well as a cost. Unless a new edition is coming out, students know that they can resell their textbooks at the end of the semester and get up to half their money back.
4. Alternative: used textbooks. What the salespeople fail to understand is that the e-books are not just competing against the new hundred-dollar textbooks, but in most cases, against the fifty dollar used textbooks.
FLASHLIGHT: I hate flashlights. Here is a great opportunity for someone to come up with an innovation that overcomes a lot of negatives.
1. shelf life. This goes back to the problem of batteries. When you finally need the flashlight, it is no longer working.
2. Breaks easily. There is something about those bulbs and the on/off mechanism that makes them just too vulnerable.
3. Positioning. I do not have three hands. Usually, I need the light so that I can perform some task with my hands. I want a flashlight I can position, or at least set down without rolling away.
FLOWERS: I no longer buy flowers to send to my wife or mother. Flowers have too many problems.
1. They die. I guess that’s part of them being fresh and perishable.
2. Delivery. On those few occasions when I used to purchase flowers, delivery time was the key: on Valentine’s Day, not the 15th of February; on my anniversary, not the day after.
3. Flower shops were all concerned about their attractive features: “look how festive this arrangement is” and never about my concerns. Sorry, flowers are not worth it for me.
HOTELS: We select hotels by a process of elimination.
1. Location. I do not need a hotel in Lawrence, Kansas: I’m not going there.
2. Ease of finding. I rarely make reservations anymore, especially on driving trips into Mexico. Too many hotels are simply too hard to find. So, I prefer to keep driving until I find a hotel that looks acceptable.
3. Getting there. When I am flying into a city, one thing I must worry about is getting to the hotel. I have even stayed at boring airport hotels, simply because they were easier to get to. Hint: having a free shuttle to the airport overcomes this unfavourable and is a major deal maker.
4. Wait staff hassles. I do not want to have to summon a bell hop to show me how to work the air conditioning or give me a glass of water. I want all the conveniences in my room and available from the outset.
DIAL UP INTERNET: We all started this way, but most of us did not stay because of the problems.
1. Too slow. As we perceived the need to do more (e.g., download music) we needed more bandwidth.
2. Telephone line. Remember your Aunt Ethyl trying to call up and she kept getting the business signal because you were online? Juno solved that problem by allowing you to download your email and work with it offline, so Juno had my email business for many years.
JEWELRY: I hate it and never buy it or wear it.
1. No need. The first thing that crosses my mind about jewellery is that I don’t need it.
2. Risk. Here is something small and valuable, too vulnerable to loss and theft, which means I must find a safe space to store it, and then insure it.
3. Inheritance. If the jewellery is so valuable that it becomes a family heirloom, that I must worry about who will inherit it, and what I tell my other heirs?
JUICER, FOOD PROCESSOR: We see their attractive features demonstrated on the infomercials, but I never think past the unfavourable.
1. It will not work, at least not as demonstrated.
2. What a mess to clean up. I would rather just buy the juice and throw the carton away.
KNICK KNACKS: If my wife is in the car with me, and I pass a garage sale, I will not stop if there are knickknacks.
1. They will take up space.
2. The novelty will wear off, sometimes by the time we get home.
3. They break easily.
LAS VEGAS: Although they heavily advertise their attractive features throughout southern California, I try to avoid this desert resort. I don’t gamble and don’t fear getting sucked into to gambling, so that is not the reason.
1. Crowded. I have never seen the place with a manageable number of people.
2. Unfriendly. Especially when it becomes apparent that I am not there to gamble or see the shows, the level of service I get deteriorates rapidly. I just don’t feel comfortable being there.
LUGGAGE: It has taken me over fifty years of traveling to find a piece of luggage that I actually like. Most pieces of luggage have one or more of the following problems.
1. Too small (at least for what I want to carry).
2. Too large (at least for where I have to put it).
3. Not durable (at least according to what airline travel requires).
4. Does not protect the contents. Too often I have to place my things inside of hard boxes or cans inside of the luggage.
5. Not flexible in size. What I need to pack does not match the dimensions of the luggage.
6. Hard to carry. Why did it take so many years to invent wheels and handles?
7. Hard to find things inside. I know it is in this bag, but where?
MOVIE THEATER: It is a rare occasion that I visit a U.S. theater to watch a movie. As much as I love movies, there are too many unfavorables, and it only takes one of these to keep me away.
1. Theater is too far.
2. Theater is showing the wrong movie.
3. Ticket prices are too high.
4. Popcorn is too salty.
5. Popcorn is too pricey.
6. Parking is too difficult.
7. Audiences are too obnoxious.
MILK: I have just about ended purchasing milk in the U.S.
1. Shelf life. I am only going to be there for a few days, and it hardly seems worth it. I won’t be able to finish it.
2. Complicated types. Is the blue carton the 1% or the 2% or the lactose intolerant? This decision is not worth two minutes of label reading with the refrigerator door open, so forget it.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT: I don’t have one and probably won’t purchase one for a child.
1. Where to store it? My mother’s organ was a main feature of her living room for many years. My daughter plays, but how do we move that thing into her smaller home?
2. Lessons are expensive and inconvenient. I remember when my daughter was learning, we had to readjust our schedules to accommodate for the music lessons. Never again!
PET FOOD: I love cats, but I do not have one now. One factor deterring me from ever having one again would be the hassles of pet food.
1. Expensive. At sometimes, I think it cost more to feed the cat than to feed me.
2. Cat will not eat it. She was finicky, and we never knew if she would eat what we had bought.
3. Smells bad.
4. Hard to clean. Those special dishes were cute, but difficult to clean.
5. Hard to open, more difficult than containers of people food. Was this designed to keep the cats out? Well, it kept the people out, so I changed at least one brand because of this.
6. Containers too big. Hint: how about a meal sized container so that I do not have to refrigerate the remainder? (which she would not eat anyway because it is dry, cold, and hard).
7. Containers hard to dispose of.
PUBLIC TRANSIT: As much as I hate driving, when I am in southern California, I drive almost everywhere. The reason is simple: the downsides of public transportation outweigh the downsides of driving.
1. Routing. I want to go to the library or shopping, but the routes are all geared for someone going to the county hospital or the welfare office.
2. Schedule. The only people who find the schedules convenient are those who can plan their whole day around a bus trip.
3. Multiple short trips. I have about five different places to go to. Do I have to wait for five busses?
4. Place to carry and store things. With my car I can put stuff in the trunk, and then drive to the next spot, then bring everything home.
5. Proximity to undesirable people. Most of the people I meet on a bus I would not invite into my home.
6. Stations, platforms, and stops are unappealing, places I don’t want to be.
7. Drivers who will not stop, make change, or give information. What a difference from Mexican bus drivers! There the driver rents the bus and gets to keep the fare. The driver stops anywhere for a passenger and is motivated to treat the passenger nicely.
RADIO STATION: In the U.S., I spend most of my waking hours listening to an AM or FM radio station. Yet, most stations I have never listened to, and will never listen to. I make my decisions based on the unfavourable: eliminating those stations that do not meet my criteria.
1. Wrong location. There might be some great North Dakota stations, but I never get close enough to pick them up.
2. Poor reception. There are some great stations that just do not come in clear enough; sorry KNX 1070, you don’t serve the Inland Empire.
3. Wrong programming. If you’re playing rap, I’m not listening.
4. Too many commercials. If it sounds like a long block, I’m switching to another channel.
5. Obnoxious commercials. Sometimes one commercial is enough to get me to flip away if it is obnoxious enough. Sorry, KFI.
6. Boring announcers. Sorry, KFI, after Bill Handel you have about fourteen hours of “more boring talk radio.”
RECREATIONAL VEHICLES: I don’t have a motor home, and never expect to purchase one.
1. Storage. I am not going to be driving it most of the time. It looks too big for my driveway or garage, so does it take up most of my backyard?
2. Gas mileage. Just how much does it cost to drive a hundred miles?
3. It looks hard to steer.
4. Overnight hook-up fees at trailer park. Now its starts to compare unfavourably with its main alternative: the hotel.
RENTAL CARS: It has been many years since I have rented a car at my travel destination. The unfavorables are simply too great.
1. Cost. The basic cost of per day or per mile would be tolerable, but there are those add ons: taxes, insurance, gas refilling. You never know what you are going to have to pay.
2. Hard to get to pick up site or home from drop off site. The whole point is that I am starting off and ending up without a car. This is usually a deal breaker.
3. Wait for a car. One firm permanently lost my business because I had to wait for half an hour to have a car ready. (I had made a reservation and arrived on time.) The excuse I got was “the car is being vacuumed”). That sounded like “the check is in the mail” and why didn’t they ask me my preference: dirty car now or clean car later. Time was my key concern, and waiting for it was an intolerable factor.
4. Downtown parking. After I have the car, where do I put it when I am not driving?
5. Alternatives. The more I used rental cars, the better the alternatives looked: taxi, public transportation, local friends. I have even driven out of state instead of flying simply because I would rather have my own car at the destination rather than relying upon a rental car.
RESTAURANT: I don’t eat in restaurants that often, but when I do, I select solely on the avoidance of unfavorables.
1. Location. The restaurant must be in a location convenient to where I am or where I can get to. Few restaurants have such compelling features that I am going to drive there and look for them.
2. Type of food. Ninety percent of restaurants offer food that I prefer to avoid. I scratch them off my list. Other customers scratch restaurants off their lists because of food aversions, religious objections, etc.
3. Wait staff. Some are too slow; some are too surly or too aggressive. The buffet alternative looks better and better to me, especially because I also get to see the food.
4. Price. In addition to being too expensive, some places will not accept credit cards.
5. Fear of fraud. Especially with foreign restaurants, there is a growing fear that some employee will take the credit card number and use it fraudulently.
SPORTS: I no longer go to professional sporting events. The attractive are strong, but…
1. Cost of tickets
2. Traffic to and from the game
3. Parking cost and hassles
4. Bathroom availability and delays
5. Cost of food, drinks, souvenirs
SATELLITE DISH: I have thought of this as an alternative to cable several times, but I figure that it has many of the same problems as cable, plus
1. May not work well in certain locations
2. May not work well in certain kinds of weather
SHOES: Although my closet is full of shoes, each year I buy a few pair, but when I do, I always use the approach of outlining the rejection factors.
1. Wrong size. Most pairs of shoes in the store would not fit me, so I immediately eliminate them from consideration.
2. Wrong style. I am less fad conscious today than I was several decades ago, but there are some styles that just do not suit me: scratch them off the list.
3. Uncomfortable. Perhaps when I was younger, I would have put up with an uncomfortable shoe for style’s sake, but not anymore.
4. Unsafe. If the sole is slippery or the toe gets stubbed, I do not want it.
5. High maintenance. My shoe polishing days are over.
6. Not water resistant. It rains often enough for me to worry about this.
STORES: Whenever I need to purchase something retail, be it groceries or household items, I consider which stores are on my list of possibles. There are more stores that don’t make the list than do. Notice that some have more than one problem, but really, all it takes is one to get off the list.
1. Location. Some stores are too far away, and just not worth the drive, even for an expected savings on price. (Sorry, Safeway, you’re not close enough).
2. Too expensive. Some stores have earned a reputation of charging too much on too many items. I just don’t go to those places anymore. (Sorry, Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons.)
3. Waiting in line. Some stores are associated with long lines (Sorry, Stater Brothers).
4. Cannot find what I need, get in and get out quickly. (Sorry, again Stater Brothers, but since you remodeled, I cannot find anything.)
5. Limited selection. (Sorry, Trader Joe’s, I’m not coming for one clever thing at a great price.)
6. Won’t take credit cards.
7. Demand a special club card. That makes it more trouble than it’s worth.
8. Parking hassles.
9. Obnoxious other customers. (Sorry, again, Stater Brothers, the fussy kid capital).
SUV: I have about a dozen vehicles, and none of them is an SUV, and I probably won’t purchase one in the foreseeable future. Here are the rejection factors I perceive.
1. Risk of roll over. They might start making them safer.
2. The alternative is still affordable. I don’t have one car that will do everything an SUV will do, but I can still afford other cars: a sports car, a truck, a luxury sedan, that can do everything an SUV can do, only better. When the problems with maintaining so many cars becomes too great, then an SUV might look better.
TIME SHARE: I have been to a couple of their obnoxious presentations and that was enough to convince me that they were not a good investment.
1. Most firms in the business seem disreputable. If the deal is so good for the customer, why do they want to force you to sign now? Maybe because the more you think about it, the more obvious are the unfavourable.
2. The alternatives look better. Hotels turn out to be a lot cheaper and give more flexibility. Buying a vacation home is a better investment. Owning a time share gives you the financial responsibilities of a home, with the time limited private space of a hotel room.
WRISTWATCH: I do need to tell time, but I have a Rolex at home I never wear (and wish I had never purchased it).
1. Fear of breaking it.
2. Fear of losing it.
3. Fear of getting it stolen. I am even afraid that the Rolex will attract a robber who would otherwise have left me alone.
4. Fear of getting it wet.
5. Wrong style for my clothes.
6. Cannot see the time. The hands and numbers are hard to see
7. Does not have the features I want (alarm, etc.)
So, it stays home in a safe place, and I am not going to purchase another.
Decision making is not an event, with a beginning and a conclusion, but an ongoing process. It never really ends. It achieves some working points that serve as the foundation for action, but it is never really over. According to Payne, Bettman, and Johnson, authors of The Adaptive Decision Maker, people are constantly modifying their criteria considering past decisions and present realities. The process continues not just because new facts and alternatives present themselves, but because the priorities of consumers keep shifting.
If you have a business and wonder why your product “lost” the competition, well, it never really lost, it was just eliminated from the contest because of the rejection factors. It got disqualified by the potential customers’ rules. The good news is that there is usually another contest tomorrow, perhaps with the same customer and his revised unfavourable list, or with a new generation of customers with different priorities. Apple Computer lost out in the home computer segment, but came back with new products (e.g., pod, phone, pad). Its computers started looking better when they started using Intel Chips that could run Windows. Even Bank of America, and America Online, rejected by millions of former customers, have not completely lost. Some of their former customers may come back and give the redefined company another looks (but of course some stalwarts of bad customer service will probably go broke before enough of the former customers come back.)
Perhaps you think that consumers are foolish for being guided by the unfavourable, even to the point of becoming excessively fearful or risk averse. Your task in developing a product is not to criticize consumer thinking, but to understand it and use it.
The rejection mindset of consumers has been attributed to various factors. Psychologist Julie K. Norem in The Positive Power of Negative Thinking looked at pessimism, obsessive worry, lowered expectations, even the prevalence of the Murphy’s Law delusion as psychological defence mechanisms. Clearly, people are risk averse, and many risks are given exaggerated importance.
Dramatic risks are exaggerated, as in the case of parents who fear that children will find guns and start playing with them. More children are killed each year when left unattended with swimming pools than with guns.
Overall, however, using perceptions of the unfavourable to satisfice is quite consistent with mental health. Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of Choice: why more is less noted that the alternative to satisficing is to constantly attempt to maximize and be unsatisfied with any product or service that is not perfect on all accounts. This leads to dissatisfaction. “The drawbacks of maximizing are so profound, and the benefits so tenuous that we may well ask why anyone would pursue such a strategy.” To be less depressed, embrace satisficing.
Another distorted perception on present choices would be the past. Those things carrying the most weight are not part experiences, but previous decisions. It is the latter, more so than the former, that frame the present decisions with excess baggage. People do not want to admit that they were wrong in the past, and therefore tend to perpetuate previous decisions, wise or not. People might follow a losing stock until the company is bankrupt because they don’t want to admit that they were wrong not to sell previously (or admit that they were wrong to buy it in the first place).
The process of decision making never ends, but people do get tired of the process and want to call a temporary halt. When the customer says that he needs to think it over, he just needs some time to stop thinking. He has pretty much excluded your product, or at least finds that its further consideration is bothersome. You could ask him just what is it that he needs to think over, but that would presume that he is going to use the near future to gather relevant information (which he is not). In certain contexts “I’ll wait” or “Let me think about it” or “I’ll be back” is but a social courtesy, a euphemism for “No, and I don’t want to stay here and argue about it.” In other contexts, the customer leaves with a sincere intention to give the product further consideration, but a failure of memory or other unforeseen future factors prevent the purchase.
Now when the young entrepreneur knows how 95% of people will think of his company and products it will create be it located in Argentina, Laos, Beijing or New York, my advice is successful selling is leading the customers to where they want to go, to the solution of problems, not manipulating them out of their hard-earned money. The best sales “pitch” should be a series of pain avoiding steps.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath
Age doesn't matter!
Just keep going, I'm a young entrepreneur too and the best thing is that we have the modern skills and we have enough time to explore new opportunities. I suggest you find a co-founder who has the required skillset to develop the MVP.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me @InuEtc on Instagram.
I'm always available to help young hustlers for free.