Mon 08 / 07 / 19
Money while you sleep – the dream of digital products and services
By Annabel Dunstan
Brighton Chamber recently hosted a High Growth panel event around the topic of the dream of digital products and services. Panellist Annabel Dunstan, Founder and CEO of Question & Retain, shares her takeaways from the discussion.
Aptly hosted in the rapidly expanding forward thinking Eagle Labs, the great and the good from Brighton & Hove’s tech and wannabe tech sector gathered to share thoughts on the realities of developing and launching a digital product. The dream being to monetise your niche expertise and earn money while we sleep, or in my case whilst on my yoga mat or wild swimming.
The panel facilitated by Si Conroy from Scarlet Monday included:
• Annabel Dunstan, Founder and CEO of Question & Retain
• Chris Palk, Managing Director of dabapps
• Rachel King, Marketing Director at Breathe HR
• Rebecca Kimber, CEO of Create.net
I kicked off the proceedings by sharing a 7 step process for a digital product roadmap – with the natty acronym IPRBCMO.
1. In short, does your IDEA scratch an itch? Does it solve a problem better than other ways currently on offer?
2. If so, do your RESEARCH – be it desk, pounding pavements to talk to people, and trialling competitors products ad nauseam.
3. Take the leap and build your PROTOTYPE remembering to protect your intellectual property (IP) with a good lawyer to advise and a service level agreement with your software supplier if they are not in your employ.
4. Launch the BETA version and go live with 100 friends and family to iron out the creases and find the weak spots. These are your early influencers and so listen non-defensively, remembering all feedback is good feedback.
5. Find a willing customer in your target niche to be your CASE STUDY and make sure you milk it hard to ensure you receive a glowing testimonial.
6. This stands you in good stead to get your MARKETING underway and of course to support any bid for investment for scaling and high growth.
7. And finally, stay OPEN to feedback and be prepared to test, review and refine on a permanent basis responding to market forces and to stay ahead of the curve.
Chris Palk, dabapps, talked about the importance of the simplicity of the idea. If it can’t be explained in less than 20-30 seconds it’s unlikely to be a winner. Having a laser like focus on marketing so that your product has a chance to rise above the rest is also key. It doesn’t matter how whizzy a product you have if no-one has heard about it!
Rebecca Kimber, Create.net, shared the realities of offering digital products that have a 24/7 requirement for tech support and how that can sometimes impinge negatively on work/life balance. There can also be a constant pressure from clients to add bells and whistles although when change comes, it can be challenging to persuade all clients that change is good.
Rachel King shared the benefits of seeking investment. An injection of cash has enabled Breathe HR to vastly upscale their marketing resource to boost trails and sign ups, helping to scale the business to service over 6000 customers per month.
Having moved from Oxford to Brighton just a few months ago I was keen to share first impressions of the tech scene and commercial opportunities in Brighton and Hove. With its countercultural vibe sandwiched between the sea and the South Downs, I believe the city is well placed to become the San Fran of the UK. Quirky independent shops and cafes, abundant outdoor activities and a thriving cultural scene, means the city is a magnet for creatives and tomorrow’s top talent pool. However, the lack of suitable commercial property compared to the vast science and business parks situated on the perimeter of Oxford’s city boundaries mean there are some hurdles to overcome.
My rallying cry is to celebrate the ability for Brighton tech firms to retain talent vis a vis London/Oxford where retention is more of an issue (as reported in Tech Nation) https://technation.io/insights/report-2018/brighton/ Let’s use our combined efforts to really put Brighton and Hove on the high growth tech map and break through the places to work barrier. We need to use lateral thinking and the abundant sense of collaboration that I see and feel all around me here.
Thanks to Annabel for writing this blog.
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