As an incredibly diverse community, the range of experience and knowledge about building economically sustainability projects amongst members ranges from “where do I even begin” to “I just sold my 3rd company”. Also, there are many different interpretations of “economic sustainability” and strategies for achieving it. Moneyless crowdfunding with Makerfox anyone?
A recurring topic is one David De Ugarte dove into in this Las Indias’s piece on generating revenue through sales. Especially in purpose/value driven contexts, this topic is often controversial and deeply unsettling:  our “conscience” and the “private logic” will join forces to tell us “we are not good at it”, and that this “it” – selling – is very close to deceiving. But this is false.
Most initiatives fail to generate monetary resources not because they don’t manage to develop and deliver a product to the market; they fail because they develop and deliver an experience, service or product that no customers want or need enough to pay for. This is not magic though, it is something that you learn to do.
Many of the projects we see popping up on Edgeryders, are collaborative and decentralised initiatives. Perhaps it makes sense to structure a process which everyone can participate in to build economic sustainability into projects in a decentralised way:
Identify and document our assumptions
- What are our assumptions/hypotheses about how we gratify our clients and or sponsors, who they are, how we will acquire and monetize them?
- What are our assumptions/hypotheses about how we serve the needs of our constituency, who they are, as well as how we engage them into becoming more active participants in (and beneficiaries of) our initiatives?
Talk to prospective customers to validate (or invalidate) our assumptions
- What problems do they face? How do they solve them? What matters to them? What is a must-have for them?
Identify the risk factors in the opportunity
- Are we facing significant technology risks? Or more of market risk? How can we test and validate these (starting with the most risky)? What market testable milestones can we build that would result in sufficient evidence to induce us to pivot or move forward? A proof of concept? A letter of intent? A prototype?
Create and Test a Minimum Viable Offer
- landing page click-through that prove there’s some amount of interest in an experience, product or service;
- a time commitment for an in-person meeting to view a demo that shows the customer or funder's problem being resolved;
- a resource commitment for a pilot program to test how the experience, product or service or product fits into a particular environment.
Once we have users using our MVO we listen for & tune into the Must-have signal
- We listen very carefully to find our must-have signal and articulate it.
- We Double-down and strip away the unnecessary> focus on building an experience, service or product that is cherished and supported by everyone who uses it.
Does this make sense to you? Do you want to learn the hands-on-skills involved?
I am just about to launch an initiative on behalf of the social enterprise supporting the community. For those who want to learn the skills, this offers an excellent opportunity to learn-by-doing with me.
Let me know you are interested by leaving a comment below or emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org