VIDEO: How to create a product

To get funding from Virgin StartUp, you don’t just need to have a brilliant idea – you need to be able to take that idea to reality.

Don’t worry if you’ve never created a product yourself… some of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs started out just like you. One of these is Lord Bilimoria, co-founder of Cobra Beer. In the video below, he talks about how to create a successful product.

Cobra Beer is exported to 40 countries worldwide, has been awarded 78 gold medals since 2001, and is sold by over 98% of all licensed Indian restaurants in the UK.


What was your initial idea?

I had this idea as a student to create a product that was going to be different, going to be better than anything else on the market – but I knew nothing about brewing beer.

What was your first step towards creating a product from your idea?

The definition of luck is when determination meets opportunity. I was determined to execute this idea, despite my lack of experience – and a chance introduction to the head of the biggest independent brewery in India, which had never exported before, was my chance. He was keen to make this beer with me, so I travelled to India for several months and together we developed Cobra Beer from scratch.

What was your most important lesson?

The most important aspect of creating a product is ensuring that it’s what your customer wants. Cobra is a premium product with a complicated recipe, and this comes with a price. With premium products the consumer is unforgiving, and expects top quality. Every bottle of beer needs to taste like the previous one.

Quality control was difficult. Our sales doubled in one year, but quality problems quadrupled over the same time. We knew we had to adapt or die. So we moved production to the UK, where we could have more control over the quality.

Others told me that my customers wouldn’t buy an Indian beer made in the UK, but my consumers themselves told me that they didn’t care where the beer was made, as long as it was a consistent quality. By basing my decision based on what my consumers told me, and by being adaptable, we turned the product into a huge success.