Before we get into key activities for invention makers, take a close look at the McDonald’s burger above. The top and the bottom of the sesame sprinkled bun float in parallel as they enclose a juicy burger that reflects grease in all the right spots. Bits of finely chopped onions peek between the dollops of ketchup and mustard that hold the asymmetrically placed slices of pickles in place. And the finishing touch, the corners of two slices of lightly melted, bright American cheese hang ever so gently above the burger and the bottom bun, respectively. It’s more art than food at this point. But we know this is not what their burgers really look like.
It’s a lie.
A lie that we accept.
We accept it because McDonald’s is a cash chow that has been in operation for years and years. We know who they are and the true value of their product. …And the fact that they’re not going to change anytime soon. We’re painfully aware that their food doesn’t look particularly appealing in real life. This is despite the fact that each of their touched-up ads suggests otherwise. But for us smaller folks, the home inventors and startups, we can’t just claim that our products bring value and not deliver on it. We wouldn’t survive a second. As a small business, we need to prove our actual value to attract, win and retain customers. We need to put our money where our mouth this. Indeed, there are certain key activities that invention makers need to do to deliver on their value propositions and build customer relationships.
Key Activities are one of the nine components of the Business Model Canvas that helps inventors manage and structure a streamlined business plan. These activities are things your business needs to accomplish to ensure the success of your business model.
So far, we’ve learned that we communicate Value Propositions tailored to specific groups of customers called Customer Segments. Each segment includes groups of customers who share certain demographics and other characteristics. Because of these differing characteristics, each segment may also value different things. Thus, not only must the value proposition be tailored to each customer segment, but you must also choose the right Customer Channels for your communications and build Customer Relationships.
But exactly how are you going to build those customer relationships? How are you going to deliver on value propositions? Most importantly, how are you going to generate revenue? So you can begin to see why your key activities are the important actions your business must execute to build, grow and scale your business.
Types of Key Activities
Alex Osterwalder, the inventor of the Business Model Canvas, categorizes key activities in three distinct groups:
- Production: Pretty much everything listed on our Services page belongs in this category. This category is for the activities related to the end-to-end product development process. The key activities for invention makers here is to ensure the product is manufacturing ready, high-quality and fully functioning.
- Problem solving: This category is often related to the channels and customer relationship parts of the Business Model Canvas. Whether it’s passively through FAQs, immediately through services like live chat, inventors will need to consider key activities to determine how they can turn potential problems into opportunities.
- Platforms: This could be your website, checkout sequence or any other digital medium. Essenetially almost every online platform where you have control of the user experience. For these key activities, consider how customers navigate your website to look for information about your product. It might not seem important, but also consider how easy it is for your customer to checkout if you have an online store. All of these things matter as they’re a reflection of your brand.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!