Introverted entrepreneurs’ favorite place to hide
What do you think?… Surveys are the best tool to prove an idea for a business or product.
√ It depends?
Some entrepreneurs who start a business send surveys to potential customers to verify the viability of their idea for a product. I applaud them because they are taking a step in the right direction with the right intention. From my observations, the vast majority of people who start a business don’t even survey their potential customers, they just dive in and run with their idea and their assumptions without any early-stage research at all! But would a survey be the right tool for this?
When we are researching the viability of a business idea, we need to collect two types of information: qualitative and quantitative.
Qualitative information helps us understand if the problem we are solving with our business idea is real. We need to know if it has a market segment of people who need the solution our new product idea offers, and who are willing and able to buy it. We want to get a “feel” for what our potential customers are going through, what challenges they are facing, what they are thinking, and how they are getting around the problem we wish to solve for them. Our goal at this point is to learn and candidly “challenge” the (biased) assumptions we first make about our audience and what they need us to create for them. Sometimes our assumptions are off a bit, and very often they are completely off. This is tragic if we discover it too late in the game and after we invest large sums and significant time and energy. It is more effective, and cheaper, to do our research early on, and on paper. Our objective then is to find out BEFORE we spend a great deal of resources so that we can adjust and pivot stealthily as dictated by the market: our ideal customers. That is the simplest and fastest way to succeed with a new business idea.
That type of information is best revealed by asking the right questions to the right person, by observing their reactions, by noting their emotions and varying tones of voice, by allowing silences, by listening to their life story as it relates to the problem we want to solve for them. As you guessed it, this is the type of qualitative information that needs to be collected, not by an anonymous and automated survey, but by a human through a private and face to face (or video) interview.
So no, a survey is not the right tool at this point. The interview is.
Here is a caveat to the interview and why many introverts (and extroverts too actually) shy away from it: the interviewer has to be the creator of the new business. And yes, it’s YOU, the founder, the CEO, the owner. YOU need to conduct the interview, not an employee nor an outsourced service. And if you tend to be an introverted entrepreneur (as I know I am) you might be reluctant in interviewing people. You might even tend to unknowingly hide behind a perfectly reasonable cover: a survey.
What about surveys?
Surveys are useful, but later in the process of product idea research. Once you have launched your product, then surveys are useful to quantitatively measure success or failure in solving the problem for your customers. A survey at this point is effective to continue improving your solution and product. Here the data you collect can easily fit in the format of a survey.
True, surveys are faster than in-person discussions, easier to automate, and simpler to analyze. And many of us would rather send a survey versus conducting in-person interviews. But that is a mistake that can cost us our entire business. The best method is for the founder(s) of the business to get out of the building and talk to real people. It’ll save your investment money, time, and you’ll succeed faster. As discussed in my last blog article on the topic: Getting out of the Building (and out of your Head), CEOs and billionaire entrepreneurs like Sara Blakely know this and act upon it.
I just shared WHY you need to interview your audience in person to validate the problem you are solving. It’s key to crafting the best solution and product that your customers will want to buy. If you’d like to access an easy step-by-step formula to show you HOW to interview your customers, I invite you to my free training this coming Saturday which will be followed by a discussion. If you join us live on Saturday, you’ll also receive my fillable interview templates.
Here is the link: Saturday Morn’ Brew & Chat, 11/21/20 at 9:00 AM Pacific, a free training and group discussion on the simple ways to conduct problem/product/solution interviews with your potential customers.
To access this free training, click this link and register for this Saturday Morn’ Brew & Chat, 11/21/20 at 9:00 AM Pacific.
Cheers to building a life you love with the right business!
PS: Feel free to invite anyone you know who needs this. Here is the URL that you can share by email and/or on social media. Just copy and paste it: https://openforbusinesslab.mykajabi.com/registration-page-to-sat-morn-brew-chat-11-21-20