Starting a business from scratch is one of the most challenging things on earth to do! Luckily, there is help and resources more than ever to meet the needs of a Latinx entrepreneur building an innovative service or product. First and foremost, you may not believe you hold in your future, an ‘innovative’ technology product – especially if you are a ‘service’ business, but ‘think bigger’ to solve customer pain points to extend your offerings to customers one day. Could an app or software or moving your business digital or online via e-commerce be your next business 2.0.?
Traditionally, the Latinx community is seen as the 3 trillion dollar ‘purchasing power’ market of ‘consumers’ only vs. ‘innovators’ – so every one is coming after us to buy, buy and buy their consumer products! What about us being ‘innovators‘ becoming visible about our ‘entrepreneurship’ too! Recent research and data reports point to Latinx entrepreneurship, especially Latinas leading the Latinx entrepreneurial movement. It makes perfect sense, considering our ‘trend setting’ capabilities – we have insights on products that others don’t – problems to solve in our community and beyond.
So you have an idea…that’s awesome!
Here Are A Few Pointers To Turn Your Idea Into A Product:
Work Smarter Not Harder
First, dive into Lean Startup principles – a methodology that provides a framework to testing your idea, less wasting time and resources so you can bring your product to customers faster and ‘leaner’. – What is the problem/solution? Do you have insight onto the customer’s challenges, pain points? Through ‘lean principles’ you develop a ‘hypothesis’ then ‘get out of the building’ to do ‘customer development’ to put your assumptions about the problem to rest or develop new insights.
– Gain ‘Validated Learning’ Enough of a problem experienced by current or prospective customers to build a solution for them.
– Build A MVP. Based on your validated learning from customer pain points, you move forward to build a MVP (minimum viable product) , a prototype to test with customers. Your prototype could be an app interface, software or hardware.
– Protect Your Tech. If you have a ‘tech-based’ product – Are you offering or plan to build a product with a tech-enabled solution? Does that ‘tech’ have intellectual property (IP) or are you leveraging and replicating via a 3rd party technology? In other words, what makes it a ‘tech’ product…at its core and should you protect it?
– Build A Strong Team. Either during, before or after product validation. Not a large team by numbers, but a small and mighty team with domain experience, deep knowledge, experience, leadership and cross functionality. If you have domain experience, skills or knowledge that make you an expert – that is always a plus.
– Know Your “Space”/Environment. Learn how the game is played in your industry then create your own game plan. By understanding the obstacles, barriers first, you gain insight on your own playbook planning or needing to borrowing pages from the playbook of another successful venture. Understanding what capital resources exist to help you scale to reach the next level of your business is important too.
Note: Service based businesses can borrow ‘lean startup‘ principles however, know that your service may be an already proven business model or service line. Chances are if others are in the same service industry – the service/market fit has been validated for you already – however, using lean’ principles could assist in diving into ‘customer development’ and differentiation of your service line from others, what is it that customers aren’t getting from competitors that you can offer instead? If you are community oriented – you can use lean principles to build an audience or community online too!
Remember, as an entrepreneurial Latinx and founder, you will wear-many-hats and will need to roll those sleeves up. The best CEOs/Founders have done everything in the beginning – be humble and learn every facet of your company. It just makes you a better future CEO.