Are You Over Complicating Things?

by Jane Button on May 15, 2010

Find Your BIG IDEA and Keep It Simple  

By Jane Button 

As a creative person who has either recently launched a new business or if you’re just starting out trying to figure out just what product to start with, it’s a good idea to keep it simple.  Keeping your base categories and product line straight forward helps your customer know exactly who you are, what you offer and how they can relate to your brand.

Make sure your potential customers or clients understand exactly what you do. Get known for being the best “__________”  If they don’t understand your products or the need for them – good-bye potential customer! And pretty much – good-bye business!

One of my clients came to me with a line of clothing she had started for the kids market. Her sales were low even though everything was beautifully designed and manufactured.  As we evaluated the line it was clear her focus had been on separates without telling a story or creating collections. It seemed scattered and random. She also offered way too many sizes and options. We narrowed the size ranges and then concentrated on building collections and color ways. It allowed her customers to really understand her strength – and consequently sales grew rapidly. The reason? Her brand was now understood in the marketplace.

Just because you can make more products does not mean you should. Keep some on the back burner. When you start a business you need to create momentum and traction – therefore best to keep it simple, and then later on add to the offerings.

So often, as creatives, we have a tendency to over complicate – wanting to launch too much too soon, too many products and too many ideas all at the same time. Sure you’ve got enthusiasm, but sometimes being over-enthusiastic leads to confusion. And we all know a confused buyer makes no decision – meaning there is no sale.

It’s not because we’re trying to make it complicated, it’s that we have so many ideas we want to implement – and of course most of us suffer from “BSOS: Bright Shiny Object Syndrome” which we need to get under control.

The Simplification or Editing Process:

1.  Write down all your BIG IDEAS – everything you can think of what you      want to do or what you want to add to your existing line. Or if you are editing products you currently sell in your business – lay them out in front of you or on a wall.

2.  For each BIG IDEA make a list of all the component parts for potential product development. That would include all the steps for creating the product, component parts, packaging, manufacturing, and shipping.

3.  Which is the most complicated? And would take the most resources?

4.  Ask people you trust – be careful here because you don’t necessarily want to give away your BIG IDEA and you also don’t want to go outside that group of people who support you being an entrepreneur.

5.  Determine which are the most easily understood by your potential customers.  You want to make sure they understand your point of view and core message.

6. Edit, decide, move forward – remember in most cases less is more. Simplicity is a good thing.

7. Be patient – as your business grows you will be able to add more – get the core going first!

Your final line or product is your core message – and the place from which you should begin. Later you will be able to add more – your customer needs to understand you first.

For more information about how you can create your best life and turn your idea into a profitable business, contact us about our MasterMind groups for 2010 – the best way to get the coaching you need to move your idea forward – all for less than what you pay a part-time employee! Contact
 © 2010 Jane Button International Design2Market Success

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Brindley December 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm

What is a rule of thumb for the number of designs to show? The retailers I have spoken to recently want to see 4-5 designs around a concept. So for example, if I want to make a unique design in a baby blanket, should I do 4 designs of it (like 4 different color offerings ) or should I do a baby blanket, a travel blanket, a big and a pillow for variety?

janebutton December 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Hi Anna, In my opinion offering color choices is not a collection. However, if there is a different pattern on each so each is different it could be seen as part of a collection. When you are putting together a “line” there are several different, compatible pieces that a buyer could select and merchandise. So I like your idea of the baby blanket, travel blanket, big blanket, pillows (which could be in different sizes). This gives the buyer choices and a way to display or merchandise your collection. It also means more pieces for you to sell – and in the long run will mean higher sales. Let me know what you decide. – Jane

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