Editor’s Note: Luu Vi Lan had an article on product creation published in the special publication dedicated to the upcoming Lunar New Year festival of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. The paper releases the publication every year about three weeks ahead of the festival, which this year kicks off on February 19 and lasts for about one week. The festival is called “Tet” in Vietnamese and is the largest celebration in Vietnam.
For those who want to create a startup or do business, there are three mottos to remember: make it real, make it simple and make it affordable.
As we did in the past when most of us were living in the countryside, we made a cake, then brought it to the market to sell. The first stage of business development is when people think they will sell what they can make or do well.
As time went on during urbanization, people in the countryside moved to the city, and brought the job of making cakes along with them to the new place. Here, they have a store, and then a brand name for their cakes. This is the second stage of business development.
The last stage, which is taking place during the era of globalization we are living in, is when the cakes are mass-produced, and are packed into standardized packages to be sold at retail stores worldwide. They can be purchased and consumed within minutes after being unpacked.
This is the final stage of the circle that turns a very normal thing into a useful one for others on a global scale.
Make it real, and simple
To make a real product, people must start with something which is very normal but useful.
On intercontinental Japan Airlines flights passengers are served yoshinoya, a kind of rice with stirred beef and other spices including pickled gingers and chili powder.
Yoshinoya, which was first introduced at a food store established in 1899 at a fish market in Tokyo, is now a fast food brand serving the same kind of dishes worldwide, and competes head to head with U.S. fast food chain McDonalds in many markets.
I remember back to Christmas of 1998, when both the Internet and e-commerce were still not popular, I was quite surprised to receive mail from the U.S. inviting me to buy traditional Christmas cakes made by Texas-based Collin Street Bakery, which had specialized in making such cakes since 1896.
These so-called grandma’s cakes, made from pecans, fruits and honey, once a local specialty, now featured a quality pledge and could be shipped worldwide no matter how many cakes the customer ordered, from 1 to 1,000.
So before rolling your sleeves up for business, you must decide what product you want to make or what service you want to offer, specifically.
Without this positioning, you can take a wrong turn, like one of my friends who could not decide which kind of food to offer, western or orient style, after establishing a restaurant, or another who decided to build a US$5 million resort in the central town of Phan Thiet, but finally found that he had to quadruple his investment and double the time for construction.
Show ‘em you care
The core of doing business is showing customers that you care about your own products/services and your customers, even in very small details.
In the U.S. and Japan, we can see many ways in which many restaurant owners take care of their customers, even in the bathroom. There, you can find disposable toilet seat covers sitting on the toilets. In addition, the restrooms in many airports, like those in Narita Airport in Tokyo, feature small chairs for children so that parents can take kids with them without worrying about who will care for them while they go to the bathroom.
Diapers were familiar to everyone who had children during the 1980s, but if they had children during the next decade, disposable nappies had begun to replace traditional diapers, often a piece of cloth, and have helped save a huge amount of time for millions of parents worldwide since then.
Those kinds of products and services, which seem to emerge overnight, are created through care for what normal people need in tackling their daily problems.
Developing new things based on old ones
In 1973, I was amazed to see my father, a manager at an American logistics firm, using a Motorola car radio to give directions to his inferiors while driving. It could be called the first mobile phone, enabling people to communicate by radio in a short-range distance using interconnected base station transceivers. This equipment beat the Iridium satellite network, which could connect 60 satellites globally, as it was more affordable.
On a much smaller scale, Da Lat has long been famous for its specialties like fruit, jam and tea, but a Vietnamese firm, L’ANGFARM, was the first to stuff all of those specialties into small, nice packages and sell them at well-decorated stores in the Central Highlands city, luring middle-income young people who want to bring those specialties back home as presents for their friends and beloved ones.
Đăng ký: VietNam News