So you have an idea for a potential business venture, and you’re interested in getting started? Awesome! One of the first things anyone will tell you in this situation, of course, is to make sure that you’re selling something people will actually buy. You don’t want to spend your time and effort on something that no one needs, after all, and the market can be tricky. The best thing you can do is research your target client/ audience and assess their needs. But how do you go about doing that?
Talk to Them
You should start off the process by talking to your “perfect customers”. Who do you think will buy your product, and why do you think they’ll be interested in making a purchase? Narrow down your list until you have a specific audience in mind. Now it’s time to reach out and start asking people about the perceived problem that you’d like to try and solve.
It’s important to note at this point that it might turn out that there is no market for your idea because the problem you see isn’t a pervasive one. It might not be an issue that many people encounter, in other words, which means that you won’t find a viable market for it. In order to determine whether or not you have an idea for a product that people need, it’s a bad idea to go into these conversations with the assumption that your product is necessary. You have to approach the contact in a particular kind of way, in other words.
Don’t Lead – Follow
I know, this sounds so counterintuitive! When you’re working on your business, you have to make the decisions and be a decisive leader. When it comes to interviewing your potential customers, however, you can’t take the “I know best” mentality along for the ride. Doing so will reduce your chances of getting useful and actionable feedback.
Enter interviews with broad questions that allow respondents to answer in an honest and thoughtful way that truly expresses their unbiased emotions. That might seem like a difficult task, but all I’m really saying is that you should ask non-leading questions. Be vague and broad with your questions. Allow the respondent to narrow things down, and follow their lead.
Instead of saying something like:
- What is the hardest part about cutting soda out of your life in order to lose weight?
You might consider asking something like this:
- What’s the hardest part about losing weight?
Let the respondent bring you around to the idea that cutting favorite foods or beverages out of their diet is difficult, and then ask broad follow up questions to get a better idea about the struggle.
Find Out What Doesn’t Work for them
Ask your potential customers why they think they’re having such a hard time. Why do they need a service or product to help them? You should also ask what they’ve tried throughout their attempts to fix the issue. Asking these questions enables you to better understand why your potential customers need help and how you can best meet their needs. It allows you to tailor your proposed product or service in order to fit clients and their difficulties. You want to know the impact that this issue has upon these individuals’ lives and how you can help alleviate that.
Once you’ve determined what your potential audience needs help with, and why they need help, you can better determine if your product or service will work for them. Use this information to ensure that your business is an innovative solution, not just another ineffective attempt.
Now it’s your turn, how have you found your ideal client?