Getting customers for your business idea can be daunting sometimes. Many entrepreneurs have a tall ambition – they want to generate and commercialise ideas that would be needed in the future.
However, what is an idea without users? Entrepreneurs need to understand that it’s not every idea that can be embraced by others. The question therefore is, how do you identify your customers?
This article presents 5 tips for getting customers for your business idea.
These 5 essential tools for getting customers for your business idea would help you identify your customers and get them to buy your product or services:
#1 tool for getting customers for your business idea – Empathize
People really struggle with empathy – many people talk about it but not many people are good at being empathetic especially entrepreneurs.
Empathy is putting yourself in some else’s shoes. It’s your feeling or acting in a way somebody else might, so that you can understand what they are thinking or feeling.
Empathy is not just the domain of marketing people or sales people, it is the domain of everybody.
Human beings are emotional first and logical second – that is, we are emotional beings that have the capacity to think rationally. This is a very important information to consider when designing a product or service.
The perceived value of a product is an emotional understanding of what that product is worth. Therefore decisions are made when filtered through emotions.
For example, on one hand, you may pay a premium because of an emotional attachment to luxury when you buy a luxury good. On the other hand, you may pay an emotional premium when you buy a product that gives back to people in the less developed countries.
Strong emotions lead to loyalty on the basis of trust.
Therefore, when you’re trying to get someone to engage with your product or service, you need to think about the emotional message you’re sending that’ll get them to do something.
Being empathetic helps you understand what makes us human, and what makes us who we are is ultimately what gives you insight into the future.
Therefore, empathy is something that entrepreneurs need to learn in other to understand and get customers.
#2 tool for getting customers for your business idea – Define
The ability to empathise and engage with others emotionally helps to clearly identify the problems you’re trying to solve, and helps to devise an elegant solution.
The next tip is to define what you’re going to create. Define the experience that will get customers to buy or use your product.
To define means, to understand your audience – by where they exist on the spectrum of easy-to-do and motivation.
Think about who your customer is and what are you doing to make things easy for them or to motivate them.
Think of it as, having a great idea and piece of technology with human interaction or story behind it.
Therefore, start by understanding what motivates people to want what you’re offering (define your market).
This will help you better define the features of your product or service.
#3 tool for getting customers for your business idea – Ideate
Ideate around what’s going to work for your audience. Generate new ideas not judgements. What you are trying to understand with ideation are all the points on the interaction timeline.
That is, throughout the customers experience of dealing with you, your product or your company, what are those points that involve thinking, feeling and doing?
All the things that happen in your product – what do your customer think about your product? What do your audience feel about your service when they walk into your premises? What do they see and do with your product or service?
An example of a way you can ideate is by taking pictures of real world scenes relevant to your product or service and annotate those pictures, draw speech bubbles, to get an idea of what people are thinking and feeling while doing those things.
In addition, watch people as they interact, talk to them, ask questions about what they are doing. Do it often, it will help you learn more about your product and yourself, and that would most likely result in immediate changes to the ideas you currently have.
Then, you’ll need to validate those changes again and again.
You’ll notice that often, the ideas that you generated in the office are torn apart in the real world when you actually get information from users.
Also, you’ll realise that some of the initial assumptions you made were incorrect.
#4 tool for getting customers for your business idea – Prototype
After defining and ideation, the next thing is to start making things. With prototyping, you’re getting out of your head and whiteboard ideation to actually creating things that are demonstrable.
A prototype can be very simple, it doesn’t have to be a fully functional version of your product.
As soon as you start making the things in your head, you’ll get immediate feedback.
You’ll realise what would work and what wouldn’t. Such an exercise can’t be achieved in your head.
Try the Wallet Exercise to help you build your prototype.
Make your product or service tell a story that is relevant to your audience, and present it in such a way that it leads your audience to have fun (enjoy) the experience.
#5 tool for getting customers for your business idea – Test
Testing is about taking the prototype back into the market to check whether what you’ve created actually works.
Test often with individual interviews and with data.
Do the former with the individuals that you want to use your products, and for the latter, build a real world solution with data.
Look at the data out there and figure out what the data is telling you.
The article gives you five tools that give insight about how to identify your customers, and how to define the experience that will get them to buy your product or your service.
Ultimately, using these 5 tools will help you identify the following about your customers:
* What’s the journey they are on?
*What do they see?
*What do they feel?
*What motivates them?
*What’s the story they need to tell themselves?
Finally, these tools: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test are things you need to use to get customers for your business ideas.
Lessons from Richard Banfield.