Business Analysis · Business Development

How do I get customer feedback to validate a new business concept?

Nicholas Romano Cofounder, Project Manager, Consultant, New Business Development

May 18th, 2017

I understand the importance in vetting business ideas and developing a business based on customer feedback (including developing the MVP, etc.). I'm interested in getting new ideas about where I can go to talk to potential customers in my target demographic without simply hitting up all my contacts on social media. Where do you go to talk to potential customers and get actionable feedback?

Steve Willson Questioner, Collaborator, Believer in Customer Understanding, Facilitation and Planning

May 18th, 2017

The basic answer is go where the customers should be.

I assume you have a hypothesis as to who your potential customer are? If not, you need to think about it. Once you have these people in mind...where are you likely to find them? If you are targeting an existing space, then you can find out where they source their existing product. Go there!

If it's a physical space, say retail, go hang out near likely locations and ask people for a few minutes of their time. Maybe offer a coffee card or such in return.

If it's a virtual space, try using Google Survey to find them, or post on social media that you's like to talk to "someone who buys something like..."

Use your imagination then, as Steve Blank says "Get out of the building"

Feel free to contact me if you want to talk more

Elizabeth Mannette Chief Creative Officer, Designer, Business Development

May 19th, 2017

Find groups on LinkedIn or Facebook where your customers are and post a question in the group.

Jessica Coane Founder of PEX+, the travel search engine for maximizing your miles and points

May 18th, 2017

Contact forms, feedback forms, polls, throwing questions out on forums related to what you're trying to do...easier to build a buggy mvp and see how they react though.

Jeremy Villano Strategy, Marketing and Digital Transformation Exec

May 18th, 2017

As Steve said, go where your customers are. Without knowing who they are it's hard to say exactly, but focus on where you can find a good cross-section of your target. That could be hanging outside the nearby university cafe if it's for people under 25, or it could be taking a walk through the park during the day if you're looking for retirees. When we were looking to talk to families we used to grab people in grocery store and shopping mall parking lots before security would come and kick us out. Then we'd just move onto the next parking lot.

You can also look into doing an online panel or omnibus study, which you can usually do for real quick and for under $1k depending upon the specificity of the profile.

Paul Keck Build a lean app for your winning startup - @getboundless. We also invest - @slptoolkit @partsdetect

Last updated on May 25th, 2017

If you don't know where your customers hang out (either geographically or on the internet), then you need to do more work defining customers. Since you've used the term "demographic", I have to assume that your target customers are something like:

Women under 30 who make over $50K per year

A target like this is totally useless. In order to market to that demographic, you'd need to use television, magazines, or some other mass media resource that startups just can't afford (and I wouldn't recommend it if you had money to burn either).

Target markets for startups need to be the early adopters. It needs to be a small group of people that are accessible. So in parallel with defining those customers, you need to define the path to those customers - keep grinding away until you have both and it makes sense. Then you can easily reach out about your idea without wondering where to find people.

Have fun and { create : awesome }

Got Questions? Ask BOUNDLESS

Joe Albano, PhD Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.

Last updated on May 20th, 2017

How will you contact them when it is time to offer them something to buy?

Guy Brockless Head of Growth Marketing @ Creatella Venture Builder - We launch startups

Last updated on May 19th, 2017

We frequently test new ideas for startups using a simple landing page and running facebook ads. The process we follow for idea validation is:

  • Define the value proposition
  • Define the market and target audience
  • Devise one or more hypotheses to test with the market
  • Build a landing page showcasing main points of value proposition & including an early access email sign up form
    • NB. This step can be skipped entirely and use FB lead generation ads instead if budget is tight
  • Set up facebook ad campaigns showcasing main value proposition targeted at a few 'slices' of the target audience (sliced by age, gender etc)
    • We like to use carousel ads optimised for post engagement and/or brand awareness to see who the idea resonates with and which particular values (individual carousel cards) are most appealing
  • Run campaign with large enough budget to attain sufficient data
  • Analyse data against hypotheses
  • If further data is required, set up interviews with leads collected

To perform this better we can plan 1-3 variations of the key UVP in order to get more data. That way we see what positioning appeals the most to different audiences. Perhaps our assumptions were wrong and the idea needs to be adjusted etc

NB. At Creatella we’ve worked with 20+ startups to craft their ideas into MVPs, bring them to market and achieve traction. With extensive experience in entrepreneurship, tech development and growth hacking we’re experts in launching startups. We’ve built a network of successful partners and while building the product is our main focus, it's our pleasure to further assist our partners by connecting them with mentors, offering business assistance and even helping them to secure funding.

Jason Ugie

May 18th, 2017

The strategy can change by the type of business. For example if you're a B2C and your potential customers can be found at coffee shops or retail stores then starting there is a good first step. However, if your customers are businesses then that becomes a little more complicated. I've used LinkedIn groups to find people to interview in the past. It sounds like you have a head start with social media contacts thus knowing those demographics can help you track behaviors and find similar people. Do you know where your contacts frequent? I've had good luck at meetups, conferences, coffee shops, college campuses etc... it really depends on who your users are.

Alex Beck Fintech start upper

May 19th, 2017

That depends, what's your customer segment? I, for example, saw an issue in the freelancer world and used a number of freelancer platforms to reach them , including job sites and nomad sites Where do your current customers go to get served for this need? Can you go there (physically or online? I.e stores or cafes, co-working spaces, or google searches, reddit forums, google adwords, facebook groups etc) ? Can you target them with google ads? Do you know what they search? Surveys are great at collecting data if you can get the right people to answer them, if you give me an idea of you customer segment or market I can be more specific, as I've done plenty of customer research and each time it's entirely different how you do it.

Mario Berisic Husband, Dad 2x, CEO/Founder, Entrepreneur, ToyForToy ambassador, hobbies: Gym vs Chess

May 19th, 2017

It's hard to get good feedback before you start doing and hit the wall. You could get misleading feedbacks and opinions. Better work to acquire first customers and listen to bad reviews.

And last, look at the broader picture when you get there.