The Art of the Very Small Start: Part 1

Updated: New links added and my usual poor grammar corrected.
A Web 2.0 marketing plan focusing on real tangible products, really only made possible for our discussion today because of the pipeline pathway open by the Internet. The Internet is amazing in a sense that it is creating a whole new way of doing business.
My little (why little? more later) entrepreneurial project, The iPoor Product Range and The Firmwareproject are really a reflection of my long term interests and study in spotting consumer trends. A lot of the information presented here has been synthesized from one of my favorite design cum business websites Trendwatching. I highly recommend you to sign up for their newsletter as its a great primer for business ideas as I for one much prefer to generate business ideas from a bottom up approach that is based on trends and satisfying needs.
There exists a phenomenon called:

Increasingly, consumers are participants instead of passive audience members, and this mega-trend manifests itself in a variety of ways. In fact, the more we hear about GENERATION C making money from its creations, and the more we focus on the financial rewards consumers are reaping from participating in CUSTOMER MADE projects, the more the myriad of other entrepreneurial undertakings by ordinary consumers makes sense.
We have dubbed this trend ‘MINIPRENEURS’: a vast army of consumers turning entrepreneurs; including small and micro businesses, freelancers, side-businesses, weekend entrepreneurs, web-driven entrepreneurs, part-timers, free agents, cottage businesses, seniorpreneurs, co-creators, mompreneurs, pro-ams, solopreneurs, eBay traders, advertising-sponsored bloggers and so on.

Essentially micro, very niche business selling unique and very focused products to equally very specific customer base. Do click on the title for more in-depth information.
Minipreneurs are again made possible due to the Internet, as there exists on the web many pathways for the man on the street to create his own product. Business models like Cafepress, Threadless, and online prototyping portals are real avenues to production and manufacturing once only attainable to large corporations due to high costs.
Really this consumer, also called the GENERATION C consumer focuses very highly on content, in particular, content that is relevant to them. However the take away is in general consumers today are so varied that companies are not able to provide the experience that consumers crave.
The situation gets worst. Consumer products today are much more of the same, as many products are created from the same electronics base or manufacturing. Outsourcing strategies to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture) and ODM (Original Design Manufacturers) are here to stay. This causes GENERATION C consumers, tired of the same mass products, to rise up, be pro-active hyper consumers and start dictate what they want.
Also called CUSTOMER MADE, Open Sourced design, Crowd sourcing and the Long Tail effect, businesses are wising up and creating platforms for consumers to tell them what they want. Unique business ideas like Cambrian House have their entire business model based totally around this trend.
Interestingly a lot Crowdsourced and Long Tail effect products are very intangible products such as software or provide a services like iTunes. Their theories are all nice but how about applying it and doing it for real in the creation and selling of tangible products instead of intangible products like software?
I’ll end part 1 here to let you read and reflect on the links. In part 2, I’ll look at what you should consider in your marketing plan.


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