Seeking out and heeding customer input as early and as often as possible is often the key ingredient that can spell success or failure for budding businesses. But, far too many entrepreneurs fail to do this and therefore make key decisions (packaging, distribution, targeting) that cost them dearly down the line.
Honest feedback is what we do at TrySome. We help brands to give the people what they’re asking for, not what they think they want.
Give the people what they’re asking for, not what you think they want.
It’s also why I was so stoked to join the panel of experts on the topic of Customer Feedback and Market Research at the “Artists & Eats: Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs” event at their Soho location in NYC on International Women’s Day.
Here’s a recap of what we discussed or click here to see the blog post in full!
GET ACTIONABLE INPUT FROM THE RIGHT AUDIENCE(S):
- Validate your target market; don’t make assumptions about who is buying your product and why.
- Friends and family are not valid targets.
- Ask specific questions of qualified customers that enable informed decisions.
- Get feedback anonymously so that it will be honest.
- Do not wait for everything to be “perfect” before gathering input.
- Enable dialogue with your customers to gain feedback and build relationships.
DEDICATE EFFORTS TO TRULY KNOW AND LOVE YOUR CUSTOMERS
- Observe, analyze and listen to create an avatar of your target customer(s).
- Build on the avatar(s) over time; again don’t wait until everything is perfect.
- Don’t be afraid to commit to a niche and work it.
- Go beyond demographics to understand the human elements; what (and who) drives behavior and decisions.
YES, YOU CAN AFFORD TO DO MARKET RESEARCH!
- Be creative with technology; tap into online polling/surveying tools that work for you.
- Utilize your own online presence to gain feedback.
- Consider the value that bringing in a pro can provide – saving valuable time, doing it right and moving you ahead more quickly.
- Recognize how research can come from your day-to-day customer interactions. Favorite example of the night: Work a market to test your pricing; if 8 in 10 buy — your price is probably to low; if 2 in 10 buy — your price is too high!
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR CAN BE HARD – AND LONELY – BUT DON’T FORGET SOME BUSINESS BASICS
- PLAN; map out your vision and what it will take to get there from the beginning – even though it may change.
- COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS cannot be overlooked; without it, how can you differentiate your product?
- Let go and delegate when you can; it’s impossible to do it all if you want to grow.