The following is a guest blog post by Jason A. Bell. Jason is the founder of Mr. Millennial, a Miami based resource providing #Solutions to organizations that (want to) love Millennials. Jason is equal parts Anthropologist and Marketeer, with a splash of social commentator for good measure. His areas of focus include Millennial employee engagement, corporate social responsibility, branding and work space design. Follow on Instagram @MrMillennial
Great Idea! Now what?
By Jason A. Bell
Most Millennials I meet seem to have no shortage of opinions or confidence. There is almost an engrained expectation, and, some would argue, entitlement that we will each change the world and retire as member of the 3 Comma Club by 35. The single most common theme I hear from new or aspiring Gen Y entrepreneurs is not “I need an idea,” but rather, “I have a great idea, now what?”
Don’t be fooled by podcasts or blogs promising a step-by-step blueprint to success- there isn’t one. Paths to achieving success vary as much as its definition. Below are three #Solutions that have helped me, and other entrepreneurs I respect, take the next step from idea to implementation:
- Minimum Viable Product
In 2009 entrepreneur Eric Ries popularized the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The Minimum Viable Product is the version of a product or service, often given away for free, which has just those features (and no more) that allows you to launch and resonate with early adopters; some of whom will give you feedback or even become brand ambassadors. The concept of MVP reduces risk by gaining meaningful insights early on regarding your idea- before you’ve spent valuable time and resources building something no one wants to pay for.
- Brand Aura
Understanding your customers’ needs is important and knowing how they want their solutions packaged is key. More than ever, consumers seek brands that resonate with them. Subtle cues such as font, color and graphics evoke emotional responses that build connections with customers and create a brand aura. Knowing your audience and designing your product with them in mind provides an advantage over market competitors not targeting their customer’s sensibilities. Case in point, which of these fighter jets do you think was awarded a $5 billion military contract? (Hint: it’s not the one with the smiley face)
- Strategic Networking
More of my success is due to strategic networking than any other single factor. Strategic networking is not about asking your friends to like your Facebook page or dropping a business card at the counter of a local restaurant. Strategic networking is not a natural trait, it is a learned skill that requires planning and a purpose. The extra effort will often reward you with valuable feedback, inter-industry access and future collaborators and clients. Here’s how to network strategically:
- Identify local taste makers, not exclusively from your industry
- Use social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook) to find common interests, hobbies or causes
- Outline how your product or service can bring value to them
- Attend professional and social events where you can give your MVP elevator pitch to these influencers- without trying to sell them anything. The goal is to get their feedback and buy-in.
- Follow up the next day with an offer to treat them to coffee or lunch
Check out Jason Bell’s Mr. Millennial website and take his free Millennial Scorecard quiz to find out how compatible your business is with this young demographic. And read his interviews of some of most successful young leaders in South Florida.