Engage people with your idea and leverage their knowledge

For an idea to mature to the point where you can begin to Strategize how it fits in the current ecosystem it needs to be refined. One way to refine an idea is to talk to the people who are going to use it. Engage them, listen to their feedback and work with them to better understand each others perspective. After doing this with 100 to 200 people I find the idea starts to mature and you can begin to Strategize.

Ways you can get feedback:

  1. Ask people if they heard of similar businesses, products or models
  2. Listening to your friends and family.  How do they talk about similar products? While trying not to influence the discussion
  3. Ask if people have heard of any videos, podcasts, research reports or web sites that might be relevant
  4. Ask if people if they know any one that might use the service or product
  5. Talk to competitors; ask them what their problems are with their products and services.  What do they want to improve?
  6. Try to sell the product without building it.  Use the power of your voice or prepare some sales material either on a landing page or a brochure. If no one is interested at all, then your idea or pitch needs some refinement.
  7. Have a friend or someone you know use a competitor’s product and observe their reaction. A complete stranger can often provide more accurate feedback then a friend who may tell you what you want to hear rather then what you need to know.
  8. Create a survey and ask potential customers to complete it. For online surveys google forms is a low cost option and survey monkey is a premium option.

If you are not the most outgoing person, you can compensate by recruiting a friend that is, or use methods like searching on twitter, Google, Facebook, etc., for people already talking about the problem or similar products. These natural complaints can be very informative as they can come from what people really think, which is often more accurate then what is told to you if you ask someone nicely.

Some things you can search for:

  1. Customers reviews, both positive and negative
  2. Chatter about competitor products and services
  3. Search volumes on google and other sites
  4. Find other products that the people who use the product you are building are using

If you want to start engaging people today send me a message and I’ll give you some feedback. To reach me use the form on the contact me page.

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