Taking Personal Kanban to the World

Jul 08, 2012  ·  Brenda Leeuwenberg

Round 2! All is not lost.

Moving right along from the children’s book publishing no-go concept, on which I spent a fair amount of time planning and preparing, startup idea #2 is already out the door and up and running in less than a month.

Stemming from an initiative that emerged at Snapper while Sandy was there being an Agile coach, the Personal Kanban Board is now live and ready for action!

The design has come from Gina Higham and the evolution and product-izing from Sandy. Together we established the business idea, created the website and are happily sending boards out into the world as we speak.

It’s been quite a different initiative than my book startup idea. A much shorter gestation period for one thing - any delays in getting started were purely a result of everyone having too many other things to do (i.e jobs).

However there have been a lot of learnings from this one - for us in particular we had no idea how different business would be when you have a physical product. It’s not just an initial design/build cost and then multiple downloads. It’s an ongoing regime of proofing designs, printing, picking things up, packaging, posting ... the list goes on. All of these things make the real cost of sale considerably higher than we had imagined.

Some insights:


Totally shocked by the postage costs. When your product costs $32 and the postage is $9 it gets a bit ridiculous (and that’s only WITHIN NZ!). But as the Kanban Boards are a bit over the standard size (they’re about A3) they bypass all the normal packaging costs and head into the stratospheric ‘oversize’ bracket. Definitely worth buying more than one at a time if it’s being posted - it’s $9 for as many as we can get into the envelope!

Connecting with Customers

So far we haven’t made any attempt to really promote the boards. We wanted to start slowly, see what was actually involved in getting a board from concept to customer, and make sure we had something people wanted. It seems so far that we do - but what we have realised is that we have a product that people want when they see it in action. The concept is a bit harder to grasp remotely - sales so far have primarily come from Sandy’s presentations or colleagues or people who have seen one somewhere. So we obviously need to work a bit more on making the description clear and obvious to the person who stumbles across the site (any ideas welcome btw!).


We were very excited to make it into the O’Reilly media 4 short links on July 4th and happily sat back as the stats flew up and waited for the US orders to come rolling in. And waited. And nothing. Welcome to the world of cruising around online! In part these people could be just not interested in the product, in part it could have been that the page they landed on didn’t make it clear enough what they were in for (though we actually thought it kinda did). Whatever the reason it has reinforced to us that our connections, at least for now, need to be personal. That’ll be a bit challenging!

Still, overall we know we have actually got a great product that really does make life better when you use it. And it’s a great adjunct to the coaching work that Sandy does. I’ll let you know if we gain more insights!


Tags: Kanban boards, Kanbanfor1, Personal Kanban, Productivity, Startup.