Over Committing Too Early

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One of the early Ever Africa ventures was JuJuFire. As our first attempt at eCommerce it proved to be a source of multiple mistakes, failures and many valuable lessons.

The first and arguably the largest JuJuFire failure was that we took too long to get the original product idea developed. We were overcommitted to its success and resisted change when it became necessary.

During development we should have explored multiple product ideas and various materials in parallel.

Early in the process we settled on the idea of making engraved wooden iPhone covers. It didn’t take us long to find a suitable carpenter to make them. As a bonus they were to be made from offcuts. No plastic, just recycled wood.

The issue was that laminating the offcuts and cutting the lip necessary to keep the phone in place was incredibly difficult to perfect. We wasted weeks getting this right –

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Communication with the Development Team

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One of the first products to come out of Ever Africa was Litter Wars, an endless runner IOS game where the hero has to chase down the Litterbug while collecting the litter it drops. The more litter you collect the more lives and powers you get.

The idea was to create a social impact game that was fun, looked good and subtly influenced the players to pick up litter in the real world. This was our first game, we loved the idea and we were excited to get it out the door.

We briefed our development team and, since we were working on other projects at the time, left them to run with the development. Once development started we stepped back.

Our mistake was not to communicate to them exactly what we wanted the game to look like, and who the intended target market was. The plan was to create

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Creating the Product is the Easy Part

At Ever Africa we have created a range or products including iPhone covers, mobile games and educational apps. We have even developed a mobile platform for individuals to buy books, at R1 a chapter.

The most profound lesson about entrepreneurship I have learned since getting involved in these ventures is that creating the product is the easy part; actually getting people to buy it is far harder. It is seldom the case that if you build it, they will come.

We (me particularly) made the mistake of building cool products for the sake of building them. We liked the ideas and set about creating them, without a clear defined plan on how to distribute and market them to the end user.

I have learned that three of the most important questions to ask during the planning phase of any product development are:

Is this something other people actually want or

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