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Create a project in less than a year - Study the market

In the previous article, I mentioned the idealization of the project. How does one find his idea. Now that you have found your idea, it is time to study whether it is viable.

#1 Define your target

I am aware that you want to sell your idea to as many people as possible. But unfortunately "everyone" is not a good target.
For my Koala project, I started from the form I had previously drawn up as well as from the interviews I was able to do. I was able to establish that my target is before business to business (B2B), i.e. startups or small and medium-sized companies with design teams. This product is also interesting for freelancers. Then, after discussions with students, I realized that I also had an opening angle with education by proposing a solution for students and lecturers in digital schools.

But to narrow my market my main target is this:
Design team managers or designers between 18 and 35 years old, startup employees or freelancers. These designers need to be able to make sketches and diagrams or take notes quickly, without using paper. Sensitive to Made In France and ecology.
So, you have understood that my secondary target is education. I did not take into account the "classic" customers in my target group since they are not the people targeted by the product. However, this does not prevent them from buying out of curiosity.

#2 Studying the market

Now that your target is defined, you're going to have to take a look at the surrounding competition. There are three types of competition:

  • Direct competition: these are competitors who will directly offer a product similar to yours. To take a concrete example we can talk about Coca-Cola and its competitor Pepsi.
  • Indirect competition: these are competitors who will offer a product similar to yours without being similar to it. Here we can take the example of orange juice. Orange juice is an indirect competitor of Coca-Cola.
  • Substitute products: these are competitors who will offer a product that does not resemble yours but which meets the same initial need. Using our example of Coca-Cola, water is typically a substitute product. Both products meet the same need to drink but in a completely different way.

For Koala, here's a preview of the competition that I've been able to establish. You'll see the importance of keeping an almost constant eye on the competition. Your competitors evolve, they may disappear or offer new products.

  • HustleCase is a direct competitor. It offers a product that is typically similar to mine. However, they design their product in China and their website is currently no longer active.
  • SketchCase was originally an indirect competitor, the latter only offered a sticker to be stuck on their computer that could be written and erased. But now SketchCase defines itself as a direct competitor since they sell a protective shell similar to Koala.
  • DrawAttention is also a direct competitor. It offers two versions of their shell, a whiteboard but also a blackboard. The main advantage of the latter is the humorous tone used on the site.
  • ThinkBoard is a substitute product, it meets the need but in a different way by offering sheets/stickers on which you can write.
  • Whiteboard paints and note-taking software are also substitutes.

You have understood it, the competition is very varied, although above you only have a non-exhaustive list of my competitors, it already gives you a foretaste of what awaits you. The objective behind is to find the element that will differentiate you from all the others. For my part, it's the fact that my product is made in France, from recycled plastic that differentiates me from the others.

#3 Establishing your Lean Canva

Lean Canva is a method that allows you to synthesize your entire project. It is a tool that echoes Lean Startup (a series of comings and goings between the entrepreneur and his customers). Lean Canva is made up of a few boxes that are filled in as you progress in the definition of the project.
Lean Canva
Within the framework of my project, I was able to establish the following Lean Canva:

  • Client segments: Mainly designers between 18 and 35 years old, startup employees or freelancers. These designers need to be able to make sketches and diagrams or take notes quickly, without using paper. Sensitive to Made In France and ecology. Pioneering users: close friends and managers of design teams
  • Problem: I'm in a meeting, I need to take notes without opening my computer or using my phone. I want to be able to take notes without wasting paper unnecessarily. I am in an outside meeting, I need to show wireframes to a client but I don't have sheets or internet access, however I have my computer. I need to brainstorm with my team but I don't have sheets available.
  • Unique value proposition: A tool made in France, made of recycled plastic to take erasable notes. Your pitch: Discover Koala, your new ally for your brainstorming.
  • Solution: Portable whiteboard always at hand Durability and strength of the product Ecological interest
  • Channels:
    • Social networks: Twitter for casual and to respond quickly to the community Instagram to showcase the product through photos and videos, but also to interact with the community. LinkedIn for B2B and B2E targets to explain the product to them and talk about the Koala company behind the product Facebook to relay more marketing and B2B information YouTube in order to introduce the product to other targets via influencers (in the fields of design, development, student aid, ...)
    • Email campaigns: Newsletter to send updates about Koala to people who have subscribed to the newsletter. Customer support to find out if everything is going well with the order and the customer to provide help as quickly as possible Promotion of our product in newsletters such as ProductHunt, TechLadies, ...
    • Others: Website to present the project and to be able to buy it Articles written on the product's website to talk about the project, put testimonials, ... Product prominence on platforms such as Product Hunt Word of mouth Coworking area to show the product to freelancers on the spot Resellers (see what can be done to sell the product in specialized stores)
  • Sources of income : Products offered (product price + delivery) Solution proposed to companies Partnerships / Sponsorship Fundraising / equity financing
  • Costs: Hosting of the website / domain name Product Production / Packaging (reduced cost if done in large quantities) Sponsored advertising (social networks) Salaries / Rent Suppliers / Resellers Shipping costs / Carriers Sponsorship / Partnerships Sending emails (newsletter) Performance Indicators : Number of subscriptions to the newsletter Number of registrations to obtain the products Number of followers on different social networks Interaction with social networks Number of products sold/delivered and number of notices received
  • Competitive Advantages : Made in France Affordable Ecological

Now that you have established your Lean Canva, you are ready to design your first Minimum Viable Product (MVP) but also to think about the first steps of the realization of your Business Plan.

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