18 min

Practical Magic Part #2: Building Your Product & Embracing Uncertainty with Wu Tang, Seth Godin, & Francis Mallman The Age of Ideas: Unlock Your Creative Potential

    • Society & Culture

The ultimate step in your manifesting process is to take your brand and turn it into a product and your storefront(s).
Your product is a good, idea, method, information, or service created as a result of a process that serves a need or satisfies a want. It has a combination of tangible and intangible attributes (benefits, features, functions, uses) that a seller offers a buyer for purchase.
Your storefront is your website, app, or presence on a platform such as eBay, Amazon, etsy, or iTunes, where you can sell your goods, services, or content.
Now is when you take your defined idea and start turning it into something real and sharable. For instance, if you want to start a T-shirt company, this is the stage where you have your T-shirts designed, find a manufacturer, and put them up for sale on your storefront, i.e. your website. We will get into how to share in the next section, Strategic Sharing, but before you share your idea you have to make it real.
Will your product be perfect at first? No. Will it fly off your website on day one? Probably not. The manifesting process is iterative. In the Age of Ideas you bring something to market, test it, analyze the response, and continuously refine. It is an ongoing feedback loop—share, listen, refine. The difference is that today the feedback loop is much shorter and more accurate: the everyday entrepreneur has access to data analytics platforms they can use on their websites to help them identify opportunities and mistakes and make changes to their products and platform almost instantly. It used to be that if you designed the store wrong you were screwed, but today you can test five homepages on your website and optimize performance in real time. Make some T-shirts, send an email or share them with people you trust, and get their reactions. Or build a website and have people try it out, see what journey they take and analyze where they drop off. The more interactions you have, the closer you will get to something that works—we call “something that works” a product-market fit.

The key to successfully manifesting is perseverance. Most people quit when the feedback is not good or things get difficult. Those who succeed are the ones who can overcome pain; they get past it by realizing it is not a statement about their self-worth. They continue to believe in themselves and their ideas and trust that, whatever mistakes they make, they will figure it out.
The Product
While some businesses may require physical locations, such as retail shops, offices, or factories, the majority of businesses today are housed virtually. Whether you are manufacturing a product or providing a service, in the modern market products should be tested in the virtual marketplace prior to existing in the experiential marketplace. For example, if you wanted to make a new hot sauce, you could produce a small quantity and offer it for sale to both retailers and wholesalers on your website. After you gauge the market demand, you can then decide the best secondary methods of distribution. This was not possible prior to the Age of Ideas.
The same strategy can apply to professional service providers and freelancers, from artists to writers to accountants. Why do you need a physical office when you can put your service online, generate leads, and start by taking meetings at a co-working space or even a coffee shop? Even if your product is an experiential or retail-based business, you can still test it with a pop-up or mobile shop prior to going all in on a retail location. Ali Webb and her partners started Dry Bar, a hair salon focusing on blow-drying hair, with a mobile blow-dry truck. The demand for the service was off the charts, so after a lot of strategic consideration they opened their first retail location. Now they have over seventy Dry Bar locations.

The ultimate step in your manifesting process is to take your brand and turn it into a product and your storefront(s).
Your product is a good, idea, method, information, or service created as a result of a process that serves a need or satisfies a want. It has a combination of tangible and intangible attributes (benefits, features, functions, uses) that a seller offers a buyer for purchase.
Your storefront is your website, app, or presence on a platform such as eBay, Amazon, etsy, or iTunes, where you can sell your goods, services, or content.
Now is when you take your defined idea and start turning it into something real and sharable. For instance, if you want to start a T-shirt company, this is the stage where you have your T-shirts designed, find a manufacturer, and put them up for sale on your storefront, i.e. your website. We will get into how to share in the next section, Strategic Sharing, but before you share your idea you have to make it real.
Will your product be perfect at first? No. Will it fly off your website on day one? Probably not. The manifesting process is iterative. In the Age of Ideas you bring something to market, test it, analyze the response, and continuously refine. It is an ongoing feedback loop—share, listen, refine. The difference is that today the feedback loop is much shorter and more accurate: the everyday entrepreneur has access to data analytics platforms they can use on their websites to help them identify opportunities and mistakes and make changes to their products and platform almost instantly. It used to be that if you designed the store wrong you were screwed, but today you can test five homepages on your website and optimize performance in real time. Make some T-shirts, send an email or share them with people you trust, and get their reactions. Or build a website and have people try it out, see what journey they take and analyze where they drop off. The more interactions you have, the closer you will get to something that works—we call “something that works” a product-market fit.

The key to successfully manifesting is perseverance. Most people quit when the feedback is not good or things get difficult. Those who succeed are the ones who can overcome pain; they get past it by realizing it is not a statement about their self-worth. They continue to believe in themselves and their ideas and trust that, whatever mistakes they make, they will figure it out.
The Product
While some businesses may require physical locations, such as retail shops, offices, or factories, the majority of businesses today are housed virtually. Whether you are manufacturing a product or providing a service, in the modern market products should be tested in the virtual marketplace prior to existing in the experiential marketplace. For example, if you wanted to make a new hot sauce, you could produce a small quantity and offer it for sale to both retailers and wholesalers on your website. After you gauge the market demand, you can then decide the best secondary methods of distribution. This was not possible prior to the Age of Ideas.
The same strategy can apply to professional service providers and freelancers, from artists to writers to accountants. Why do you need a physical office when you can put your service online, generate leads, and start by taking meetings at a co-working space or even a coffee shop? Even if your product is an experiential or retail-based business, you can still test it with a pop-up or mobile shop prior to going all in on a retail location. Ali Webb and her partners started Dry Bar, a hair salon focusing on blow-drying hair, with a mobile blow-dry truck. The demand for the service was off the charts, so after a lot of strategic consideration they opened their first retail location. Now they have over seventy Dry Bar locations.

18 min

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