So you got a great product idea and you’re throwing all kinds of keywords on the whiteboard. You’re circling words, linking them with lines and arrows, and you’re drawing stick people at intervals along the lines you’ve drawn -you especially love those stick people because they represent your users. You’re having such a great time brainstorming that at the end of the session you got a fully decorated whiteboard and probably more ideas than you need, so what do you do now?
Using any of the tools listed below won’t make you creative per se, but they will help guide you each step of the way. Most of all, these tools will help you plan and execute your ideas. As we all know, without planning and execution an idea has exactly zero value.
- This is where a business model canvas comes in. You will need to understand who you’re helping, why your product is unique, and how your users will get to it. You need to dissect all of these headings and really focus on the details in order to execute. There are tough questions to answer, but think of it this way, if you won’t ask them you won’t be able to answer them when you’re pitching to a potential investor. Many a savvy investor has fallen for the perfect pitch. So get that canvas going.
- If you haven’t already, it’s time to name your product and take care of branding. You have to be careful here because once your product gets traction under a particular name, rebranding can be tricky. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
a) Search for and purchase a domain by using domai.nr and gandi.net
b) For the logo, you will hopefully have a designer who can whip up a bunch of samples till you find the right fit. But if you need to go ‘outside’ try fiverr or 99designs.
- You now have a name, a domain, and your most important graphic element, but what about the actual website? You can approach this threefold:
a) Trying to sell or get users ASAP? All you really need is a landing page that’s compelling enough to get people to click one button. Read up on landing pages and then get creative with the copy.
b) Don’t want to spend lots of time designing a custom website? A theme from Themeforest is perfectly acceptable. You can even find landing pages there.
c) If you do want to design a custom website, how about a good mock-up tool to get started? Moqups is one of the best there is. Have fun with it and get creative.
- Project management is important which is why task-sharing apps can be invaluable, not least for additional brainstorming. While there’s always room for improvement, Basecamp tends to do the job pretty well, but it’s not that cheap, so give Asana or Trello a look if you think it’ll better fit your needs.
At the end of the day, creativity is not something that occurs on command, like switching on a light. It’s the result of effort, planning, and lots of collaboration. All that these tools do is help stich the different elements together, and in so doing they will help polish and refine your idea into a unique and valuable product.
Matt co-founded a mobile development company based out of Toronto and moved to Cluj-Napoca in 2011. He’s currently Product Owner for an online translation platform with a UK based language technology company. Outside of work, Matt likes to evangelize Romania’s potential on his blog (Expat in Romania) and is hoping to get other foreign-trained Romanians to come back home where there’s lots of work to do.