Developing a New Product: Jump in or Perfect Some More?

Developing a perfect product by Bruce Berrien via Flickr

Developing a perfect product
by Bruce Berrien via Flickr

Today I met a young developer, who is developing a new online product. He told me he’ll skip the trial version  and will offer the perfect program from the start. Sigh!

Many small business owners waste a lot of time obsessing about developing their new products  to “perfection” before actually selling them when they could be already making money.  In this guest post Health Coach Rena Reiser  shares her real “from the trenches” experience of developing her teleconference course.


 

As part of expanding my business in women’s health coaching, I wanted to offer teleconference workshops. I had given my “Healthy Ima” workshop in-person before, and figured that the teleconference would just be an extension of that. To my surprise, it REALLY wasn’t.

My biggest obstacle going forward with the first teleconference series was wanting it to be perfect. Deep down I knew it was not going to be perfect, but I secretly hoped that somehow it would all work out exactly as I had envisioned. That probably gave me the push I needed to just do it! Logically, though, I knew that at the very least my product was good ENOUGH to keep the teleconference from being a total failure, even if it would be flawed. I knew that if I didn’t go for it this time, I could keep perfecting it and perfecting it and never feel that it was perfected enough. Who knows, even after all that perfecting, there still could have been room for improvement. I am human, after all! Just going for it was essential if I was ever going to move forward with this part of my business.

Real fears showed up AFTER I scheduled the first teleconference. There were many decisions to make in order to get the right feel and make it actually work.

One deliberation was whether to keep the line unlocked so that each person could unmute themselves whenever they had a question or comment, or keep the line locked and when someone wanted to say something it would show up on my computer. “Unlocked” would lead to a casual and relaxed setting, which could help the participants feel at ease and be more open to participating. “Locked” would lead to a more formal setting, would be more focused, yet make it harder to get participation. I was also concerned that I would end up droning on and on. 

I solved this issue by comparing the two options side by side. Then it became clear that for me it was better to err on the side of caution and choose the “locked” route. I felt it would be more professional and help me deliver the ideas more clearly.

I was all set and ready to go. The day of the first class came. I had my computer set up, my phone, my back-up phone, my notes…and my husband sitting across from me, so that I would feel more like I was talking to someone and not just lecturing into space!

I’ll be honest — it wasn’t perfect. The way I had structured the class was that we learned part of the material and then I gave them homework to prepare for the next class. In hindsight, it would have been better to incorporate this as a group activity and spend less time on it altogether.

Second class. I tried to compensate for my mistake of the first class and spent too much time on interactive activity, so I didn’t actually finish all the material I had prepared!

Since I had fallen behind in the second class, my third class was a lot of information. When I finished blabbering, one of the participants came on the call and confessed that she was overwhelmed. Of course, not being able to see their facial expressions, I didn’t do something which comes organically when we give a class in person, which is to repeat information a few times and stop for questions as they come up.

By the time the fourth class came around, I had learned my lesson. It was a good balance of information, repetition, tips, and group activity. I had finally found the right structure! For now. :)

I built the fifth class the same way, and it too was a success. Now I have a better feel for what a teleconference should be.

Now that this series is just about finished, I have a clearer vision of what it’s supposed to look like. This is a benefit that I never could have had without doing it first. I already have plans of how to restructure the material in a way that will be better organized for a teleconference as opposed to an in-person workshop.

Another takeaway is that today I have a realistic description of what my teleconference is like for marketing. I couldn’t quite describe what the teleconference would be like until I actually gave it. When I received inquiry phone calls about it, I was describing the workshops to the potential participants as they were in-person. I knew that something was “off” about my description, and couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Now that I have a clearer vision of the direction I want to go in, my conversations with potential participants are so much more meaningful and productive.

Overall, this experience has taught me that now when developing new programs and offerings, I will offer it in Beta for my friends or a select number of people on my mailing list in order to work out the kinks before offering it to the greater public.

So what are your thoughts? Where is the right middle ground between a developing a new product that is good enough and too much perfecting? 

About Rena:

Rena is a women’s health coach who teaches Jewish women how to make health simple, quick and inexpensive so that they can feel good AND good about themselves. For more information about her Beta products and to get your copy of her FREE e-book “30 Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Feel Healthier and Energized”, visit www.health-e-book.com.

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One Response to Developing a New Product: Jump in or Perfect Some More?

  1. This is exactly the message I needed right now! My book, “Divine Diversity: an Orthodox Rabbi Engages Muslims” is due for revision and I have been postponing promoting it until I find every extra comma or hanging parentheses. Time to move on and share it more, many thanks! (Look up the title on Amazon.com)!

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