Do you have a business idea, but you’re scared to share it because you fear someone will steal it? Well if you’re serious about your concept, you need to let go of that fear and get to work.
First things first, you need to figure out if you even have a viable idea. Will someone pay you money for your service or product? You can’t find that out without doing some good ol’ customer discovery.
Here’s the 3 things you must do to ensure you know your customer:
Speak to your target audience
If you have the idea to create a new night club that serves glow in the dark drinks, asking your 85 year old grandma and your 17 year old sister probably isn’t helpful. They are NOT your potential customers. Likewise, if you are creating a backpack that takes rainwater and turns it into drinkable water, asking your dad who hates the outdoors is not great either. I know it’s often easy to get the feeling that what you are creating is SO good that EVERYONE will want to buy it, but that’s not the reality. You need to speak to your target audience to get the information you need.
Don’t ask “If I do X, will you buy it?”
You know the scene where a woman puts on a dress and says to her husband “How do I look?” There is only one correct answer to that question. This is the same feeling that someone gets when they are asked “If I make cookies that are brussel sprout flavored, would you buy them?” While some may give you honest feedback and tell you that’s a horrible idea, many will just be nice and say “yea I’d definitely buy them”.
There’s typically not much value in asking people that unconditionally support your idea if they’d buy your X. You need to ask your target audience questions about how they are currently solving the problem your concept solves. This allows you to better understand what your customers are looking for and if you have a viable idea.
Don’t be afraid to get feedback
Your customer discovery will lead to priceless feedback and it’s important to be receptive to it.
With the backpack example, you may think “there is no way that everyone won’t love this idea, especially the outdoorsy types.” However, they may suggest that you think about adding electrolytes to the water for extreme hikers. Or even using a hat instead of a backpack.
Don’t be foolish in thinking that your potential consumers may not have great feedback to point you in the right direction. Pivoting is the key in the customer discovery process.
To learn more about how to have conversations with potential customers, I highly recommend reading “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick. It’s a quick read that will give you guidance on the customer discovery process. Feel free to stop by The Biz Foundry to borrow the book, we have tons of copies.
Also don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Business Coaches for support on conducting customer discovery interviews.
At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to tell others your idea. There are tons of people in the world, but you are the one with the gumption to actually DO IT!