So, you want to start a company?
I know, I know. Your idea is innovative, unique and must exist in the world. Your target market is huge, your customers are ready and your growth projections, well they are conservative.
Maybe you have even talked to potential customers, asking “if you had it, would you buy it” and pitched your idea over and over again with a “very positive response”.
A lot of entrepreneurs have done the same. Unfortunately, a large majority of startups fail, some before they really even get started.
The word “customer discovery” gets thrown around a lot in the startup community. You know this is something you are supposed to do, but have you done it to effectively validate your assumptions? Through these discussions, have you developed an intimate understanding of your customer’s pain, how that pain is experienced and how they are addressing this pain?
There are a lot of methods for customer discovery. Often, an aspiring company may send a survey out to the world, collect responses and analyze results. Though surveys can provide some insight into specific elements of market behavior, they often fail to reveal the core emotions experienced by the consumer.
At NC IDEA LABS, we focus on eliciting these insights as a means to inform what product you should build, or if it should be built in the first place. Though the entrepreneur’s journey can be long and tough, no engineering skills are needed to conduct effective customer interviews and validate assumptions.
How to crush your customer interviews:
Let’s set some ground rules.
Build a Game Plan
Analyze your potential customer segments. You can’t talk to everyone, so determine which segments, based upon what you know today, have the largest pain, ability to pay, etc.? Which customers do you have access to speak with most readily? Segment your market, and start based on how companies rank on these aspects.
The goal of these interviews is to understand the person’s emotions and motivations IN THEIR OWN WORDS.
I recommend conducting interviews in sets of 5, analyze what you have learned and iterate accordingly. After, and only after, you have objectively validated there is a key pain in your market should you start to build a minimal product that can be tested amongst your target market.
Need some extra support? Consider applying to NC IDEA LABS. Click here for more details and current application deadlines.
Written by Lauren McCullough, Director
December 11, 2018