Entrepreneur Series: Step 2 - Field Research

In my earlier post I covered ideation, so now that you have your rockstar idea the next step is to do some analysis.

In the antiquated days of the 90’s and 00’s entrepreneurs were encouraged to write extensive business plans in detail explaining their concept, marketing strategy, biz model, etc. However, in recent years…the pendulum has swung completely the other way: no biz plan whatsoever…just whip up some code, develop an MVP and get your product out there as soon as possible!

My 2 cents: find a happy medium in doing “field research”. Conducting field research is essentially testing your hypothesis in a very hands-on manner. Rather than tons of unrealistic analysis and conjecturing in a biz plan, you actually go out and interview your potential partners and customers. This can save you considerable amounts of time if you were to build an MVP, but then quickly realize after building and getting a few customers that the model is broken.

Field research sounds easy enough: just go talk to people, right? Right…but trying to do so with no credibility or experience in that particular arena and people are weary of taking your calls. A good way to start building credibility is to start writing about the field you are looking into online. Blog, if you have one, answer questions on Quora about the topic…in other words, do your homework!

Next, develop an online survey or list of questions for the key stakeholders in your potential startup: your customers and your partners.  Generally, you want to ask open ended questions that get some discussion brewing:

  • Which of the following best categorizes you: x, y, z?  (helps determine how to bucket the customer)
  • When was the last time you bought or considered buying x? (helps determine how active they are)
  • What are the best/worst aspects of the existing process? 
  • If you could only change one thing about the current marketplace, what would it be?
  • If this new offering existed, how would that change your decision-making process?

Hopefully this will yield the insights necessary to build a model that will answer other questions around user acquisition, revenue generation, etc.  Most importantly, don’t ignore the advice you get. Take the feedback, let it resonate, and adjust accordingly.

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  1. jnp1 posted this

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