You’re passionate about your idea. In fact, you’re often so excited by it that you can easily spend hours on all the tasks you feel will make your business a success.
You’re working on a logo. Thinking about your website. Working behind the scenes on developing your products or services.
You’re confident that once you’re finished, people are going to love your offering as much as you do.
But how can you be sure?
the importance of market research
A lot of startups miss the mark with their products or services because they’ve created in isolation. They run wild with their “great idea”, spending time, money and resources making this idea a reality.
But if you haven’t performed market research and engaged your target market in your product and service design, it’s very possible that once your offering is ready, nobody will want to buy it.
Because what you’re offering doesn’t appropriately address their needs or desires.
The only way to find out what people truly need and want is to ask questions of your target customer through market research.
how to conduct market research
I know that you’re excited by your idea and just want to get started, but the important step of market research should not be skipped! Take some time to do it properly and it will ultimately save you a lot of effort in the long run!
Market research does not need to be expensive nor elaborate. You don’t need to hire an outside firm to do it for you (in fact, I recommend you do it yourself so you can start to build customer relationships). And it does not need to feel intimidating!
Market research can be done in three simple steps…
1. identify your ideal customer
Your idea is not for everyone and the longer that you tell yourself it is, the harder it will be to create a must-have product or service that people truly want to buy.
So be specific. Imagine just one person. This could be someone you’ve worked with in the past or someone who you think would be the perfect customer for you.
Write down everything that you know about this person. Start with the basics like age, gender, location, and income levels.
Then get more specific and write down what else you know about them. Where do they hang out, online and offline. What beliefs do they hold? What challenges are they experiencing? What habits do they practice? What’s their family and work life like?
2. create a survey
Using a survey will help you gather information and learn as much as possible about the ideal customer you defined in step 1. You’ll start to understand their current needs and challenges, how they’re currently tackling these challenging and what’s missing.
Try to use open questions rather than questions that can be answered with a simple yes / no. You’ll gather more insights this way and receive cues on how to eventually talk about your offering.
Make sure you ask these questions of the RIGHT people. The right people are those who are similar to the ideal customer that you defined in the step above.
The goal of market research is not to get people to tell you that you have a great idea. When you push your idea onto someone and ask them if they like it, they’re most likely going to lie, setting you off with false hopes down the wrong path.
Instead you are trying to validate assumptions you’ve made, get concrete facts about their lives, and uncover insights to help you in your product or service design.
And the best way to do this is by talking less and truly listening to what your ideal customer is saying. Don’t cut into what they’re saying. Don’t steer the conversation towards answers you want to hear. And don’t become defensive if you hear something you don’t like.
(If you’re unsure about how to have great, unbiased conversations with your ideal customers, I highly recommend reading the Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick.)
get started with market research
The thought of market research can be a bit scary. Because let’s be honest…none of us like rejection.
But, I promise that you’ll learn so much about your ideal customer from this process.
Market research will help you to focus your ideas. It will help you to make decisions about your business. And, hopefully, it will help you create something that people actually want to buy.
let me help you
In my Six Steps to Getting Strategic program, I’ll help you through the process of designing and conducting market research. You’ll gather the right information to make confident decisions about the direction of your business. I’ll then hold you accountable to those decisions so that you take action, make progress, and start to find customers.
To learn more about how I can help you, book in a FREE consultation with me here.