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Understand the development process:


Describe the product and the key features in 1-2 paragraphs.
Include the key benefit, namely the most valuable solution for the customer.
Ask friends & potential customers the questions below.
Sketch or design a prototype.
Ask friends and potential customer the above questions on sketch or prototype.
Presell product if you can.


Kit loved honey, especially that from the farmers market. But his love of honey would get him in trouble. When Kit ate honey, there was always a mess as the honey ran down the jar. His mother threatened to stop buying honey. When Kit complained, his father said he should do something about it. His father was an auto mechanic so Kit was working on cars and welding in the shop before he was a teenager. His mother sold vegetables at the farmers market.
Kit went to the shop to create a no-mess cap. Several days later, Kit showed his parents a prototype. It didn’t quite work, so Kit headed back to the shop. A week later, Kit went to the farmers market and ask the beekeepers. After asking several questions, he learned that he needed to make it look better and the price had to come down. The following week, Kit asked his father to take him to another farmers market to ask the honey sellers there.
After tweaking the product for six weeks, he was able to develop a honey spout that honey sellers could buy for $2 and sell for $5. Kit had developed a new product and was on his way to creating a business.

Don has decided to start a cyclocross social network but has no idea how to design the website. He thinks the demand is there but no existing sites exist. He looks at the other social networks of triathlon, road riding and mountain biking. His Internet buddies talk to him about the importance of visual media, namely being able to share lots of pictures. He puts together a demo site which has forums, blogs, and Facebook-like posts.
He showed his cycling buddies and got their opinions-some useful, some useless. He made changes and asked his Internet buddies to look at the demo version 2. Some ideas he could not afford but he added a Pinterest and a Show-my-ride section to make the site more visual. Don showed the website to some cyclocrossers who he didn’t know well to get their input.

Finally, he showed potential advertisers and get them involved in the design process. With all the feedback, he launched version 5 on the web. Don knew that there would be additional changes, but the development process is the shortest and most cost effective way to get started.


Roy has been in the jewelry business for 25 years and finally came up with the one blockbuster idea. He just wasn’t exactly sure what the product and process would be. Roy knew that Facebook moms were his target so he sent the product to a few of his friends. They gave tons of feedback, some of which he incorporated in the new design and process. He asked those friends to make introductions to moms who he did not know. In exchange for them filling out an online survey, he gave them the product.
More suggestions came through the surveys and he tinkered with the product and process. Roy offered free product to Facebook moms using a Facebook ad for 3 days.  He gave them product if they filled out the same online survey and would take a phone call from him. When he looked at the online survey results, most suggestions were ones he had considered.

There were 1-2 new ideas that he incorporated. After the development process, Roy felt ready to launch the new business.



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FAQ & Resources

How do I write the product summary?
The easiest way to start a product summary is to explain what the product/service is to several friends. In the beginning, the description may seem clunky. After several explanations, write it down to crystallize the product even more. Then, show the written description to other friends and potential customers for feedback.

What is a key benefit?
A key benefit is the most valued solution for the customer. For example, while an iPad has many features, many customers believe the key benefit is that they can surf the web conveniently on the portable device. Or, for example, in a tree cutting service, most customers see the key benefit as the tree cutter being dependable.
What is the difference between a feature and benefit?
A feature is a characteristic of a product like a TV having a 50” screen. A benefit is a solution that the product provides to the customer. For example, the 50” TV provides life size viewing of sports.


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