Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From "Faultlines and Failures" blog post

This failure in my business is a doozy, and I am feeling somewhat nervous to share with you what I now see as a big time stuff up. Monumental in fact!
I had a brilliant idea, I was excited it was going to solve many problems for me. One of which was lack of decent product for productivity and organising being available in New Zealand. The world was going to be my oyster, I was going to fly, my business was going to fly.
This idea was brilliant so I decided to embark on a little "market research" before I invested my hard earned dollars,  also so I knew that it was not just me who liked the idea.
There are two options when it comes to market research, the right way and the wrong way. This is a tale about the wrong way. Being a small business I had a limited budget, but I had a wide and varied network of friends, family and colleagues. So I decided to ask my network what they thought of the idea, this was my version of market research, "uh oh" I hear you say...."you idiot" I hear as you pick yourself up off the floor. It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially when I was getting the following responses:

* "Brilliant Idea"
* "I would buy that stuff from you"
* "Fantastic its about time we had this stuff made in NZ"
* "If anyone can do it, you can"
* "I cannot wait for you to develop these products"
*  "You really do have some great ideas"

Lies, Lies, Lies all of them, and I was dumb enough to believe them. So I went ahead and sunk some dollars into developing what I thought was a great range of New Zealand Made Stationary and productivity planners.
The I waited and waited for these customers to come and buy them, and waited.........and waited. Actually in many cases I am still waiting. I am actually laughing at my own stupidity as I write this, because as I mentioned earlier in a previous post. This stuff really looks so obvious in hindsight.

So when you need to do market research, do it the right way. Invest in a proper study to be done by experienced market research, and even better make it blind, so no one knows who is behind the idea being researched. If I had done this I would have invested in the early stage to save huge amounts in the long run, maybe even have saved my business.

So next time you have an idea for your business and you want to run it by a few "mates" don't, because:
* They will tell you what you want to hear.
* They will lie - (with all good intention of course)
* They will talk up your idea
* They will boost your ego, but not your bottom line

Oh and yes for those who are curious I still have a shit load of products waiting to be sold at , that was my attempt as brazen and shameless sales!
For those of you who said you would have have not yet, feel free to make a purchase as well, I know you are reading this.

Also if you are wondering if this is you I am referring too, I hold no grudges as you have taught me an amazing lesson, and now others will also learn form my monumental market research failure. However if in the future a mate asks for your opinion on something that will affect a business decision, think before you answer, and tell the truth even if it is not what they want to hear.


Ripeka said...

Hi Wendy - some feedback on your website that i found today. Unfortunately none of your products describe, show or explain what they do. You havent "sold" me anything. eg the : Gotta get it done" pad - All I see is an A4 piece of paper. There's no creation of an image of someone using it; no explanation as to the benefits I might enjoy; no room to use my imagination and construct a picture of myself becoming totally organised because of your products. Your website needs to sell that dream in a much more aggressive but honest way. It also doesnt look professional enough. eg The red fonts on the side listing the products are not a good look. It should have some great organising tips available with one click from the front page to create a desire in me for the product and so that I know you know what you are talking about AND so i can be confident that by buying your products, i can achieve my dream of being more organised. Just some thoughts from a partially organised person. :-)

Wendy Davie said...

Thank you for the feedback on the Totally Organised website.
This is another failure of mine no doubt. So serves as a great example of how not to have a sales website. (Check it out at if you want to see what Ripeka is referring too.)
As the business is in the wind down phase following the earthquakes, I will not be investing large amounts of money into developing a new website, it is serving the purpose for clearing out the stock.
If the business were not closing down, this website would be the wonderful vehicle you have described. However necessity and resources do not support this.
I am sure you understand, as these products were originally created to be sold in a direct sales environment (not online) where the buyer is shown how to use the tool and given a workshop on being more organised at the direct sales event.
Now I am just trying to clear the stock and move onto the next phase of my life, which is incredibly exciting and perfect for where I am in my life.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me on facebook, everyone is talking about "having to get organised for 2012" I wouldn't give up but maybe take another approach?

Wendy Davie said...

Thats true, however I am not giving up. Reality of living in a city post earthquakes means that the business is no longer viable.
I am now getting my teeth into a 12 month contract with Red Cross. After the 12 months is up, who knows. My options are always open and I am always up for a challenge.
Have a fab new year