3 Fast Hacks for Developing New Products and Services by @GAllenTC

flickr photo shared by Dean McCoy under a CC license
flickr photo shared by Dean McCoy under a CC license

by Gayle Allen | Featured Contributor

Sound familiar?

You want to develop a new product or service, but you don’t have the time.

You need to develop a new product or service immediately to generate revenue.

You launched a product or service but it’s not gaining traction.

Whether the challenge is time, urgency, or traction, we need a targeted plan to achieve our goals. In a recent conversation with successful entrepreneur, Chris Guillebeau, we talked about his latest book, Born for This. In it, he shares solutions for each of these problems.

Time: 1 Hour a Day for 19 Days

If time is a challenge, commit to carving out just 1 hour a day for 19 days. By breaking development into bite-sized chunks, you’ll quickly see the results of your work. Here are a few sample days from Guillebeau’s 19-day plan:

“Day 3: Think about the ideal customers or clients for this idea. Who are they and what are their struggles? If you had five customers or clients, what would they all have in common?”

“Day 6: Decide how much you’ll charge for your offer.”

“Day 13: Launch! Publish your offer or simple website. Congratulations – but don’t celebrate too much, because there’s more to be done.”

Nineteen days will go by anyway, so why not get the most out of them?

Urgency: 24 Hours to Launch

If you’ve just got to develop a product or service, and you need to do it quickly, use that to your advantage. That kind of urgency can help us overcome procrastination and perfection, two tendencies that ensure we’ll never get started.

Guillebeau advises us to do four things before our 24-hour hack: know what the product or service is, how you’ll sell it, ways you’ll price it, and how you’ll get others involved in developing it.

If you did a double take when you read about getting others involved, consider this: by getting others involved, you’ll get feedback, generate interest, and create buzz for a successful launch. It’s as simple as using your website or sharing an online document to coordinate the exchange.

Traction: 100 People

If traction is the problem, it means there’s a gap between what you’re providing and what potential customers need or want. You won’t fix that by working harder. Instead, you’ve got to talk to the people you want to serve.

In his book, Guillebeau shares the story of brand strategist, Shenee Howard. When Howard went out on her own, she thought she knew what her clients needed. When her client base failed to grow, she knew there was more to learn. That led Howard to set up 15-minute calls with 100 people. Takeaways from these calls helped her target her services and rapidly grow her business.

Here are some tips for setting up your own calls or in-person meetings with current or prospective clients:

  • Come up with a creative name for the project
  • Writ out your questions in advance
  • Create an easy sign-up process for scheduling and gathering contact information
  • Follow up with a brief summary and a big thank you
  • Don’t know 100 people? Start with 3-5.

By the end of 19 days or 24 hours or after conversations with 100 people, you’ll have a new product or service or a better understanding of customer needs. So give one of these simple hacks a try, and let me know how it goes!


Gayle AllenGayle Allen is an entrepreneur with a passion for connecting people to innovative ideas that improve their lives.

She is a founding member of the leadership team and Chief Learning Officer at BrightBytes, a company that’s garnered dozens of awards for improving the way the world learns. She’s also the founder and host of Curious Minds, the leading podcast on innovation that features global leaders rethinking life and work.

Gayle earned her MBA in Global Innovation from MIT and her doctorate in adult learning from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she served as an adjunct professor. She’s the author of The New Pillars of Modern Teaching, a book that offers an innovative vision for learning in the modern age. Gayle’s writing has been featured in leading publications, such as MindShift and NPR.

Connect with Gayle on her website, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.

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