Determining your customer’s needs is one of the most difficult things to deal with when using start-up. Because of these tools, products, and other means to cater to these needs are developed to gain the desired outcome. The business world is extremely competitive. The key to successfully running start-up companies as well as larger organizations is by making sure their customers keep their company at the top of their list.
Entrepreneurs are encouraged to launch products that have lower viability, conduct as many experiments as they can with these low-viability products, learn as much as you can about what your customers want, and pivot to a proposition of value that customers are looking for. Once you realize this approach is based on a myth about innovation, you won’t find this approach to be so compelling. What a customer needs is considerably different from the actual solution to their problem. The “need” is what they want to accomplish; the “solution” is what tools they use to make it happen.
Finding Out What the Customer Really Wants
There is a general assumption that customers are unable to tell us what they actually want to experience or accomplish. In fact, when interviewed by a highly skilled interviewer, customers can in fact convey their needs and wants with respect to accomplishments and experiences. Many in the business world think that customers are unable to articulate what they exactly want, when in fact, this is quite the opposite.
We can’t expect our customers to come up with ideas for the next great solution; the fact is, they can’t. It is the supplier’s responsibility, not the customer’s. Suppliers should be taking responsibility for figuring out what their customers want to accomplish and in what areas they are struggling. They then should use their expertise to design a plan that produces the best possible solution. In order to provide exceptional services to our customers, we must gain a thorough understanding about what their exact needs are, in what areas are they struggling, and what exactly are they trying to accomplish. After we fully understand this, we can begin devising a plan to pull together new solutions for their problems.
Companies can begin executing the process of innovation in two ways. The first is to clarify the areas where the customer is struggling and what they are trying to accomplish. The second is to develop a list of ideas and then attempt to put them on the market for validation. Almost all competing theories fall into one of these two processes.
Using Innovation to Determine Customer’s Needs
Entrepreneurs and teams of corporate innovators have the critical task of determining how their circumstances decide which innovation approach is appropriate for them. The only snag with a lean start-up is when a company integrates new technology and puts it out on the market without knowing the true affect it will have on cyber world. Launch a product with minimal viability to determine whether you are truly capable of determining who will benefit from it. This will assist you in getting clarification in how much value the product has and with which target market. Until you know, what your customers want there is not much more than can be done. The Axispartnership is a great company that has grown from using startups to make business decisions. Axispartnership specializes in helping business owners sell their business, many are startups companies owners.
Paying Upfront to Find out your Customer’s Needs
In almost every other type of circumstance, investing your money upfront to obtain clarification on the needs of your customer, and more importantly, who your customers are would be a beneficial move. This will help you determine how you can help potential customers before trying to improve a solution. By putting in an upfront investment, you will save a lot more money by getting rid of the need for product iterations and failures. Knowing what to do upfront gives you clarification on where to focus your efforts and what you need to do exactly before you begin generating solutions for your customers.
If your goal is to create value for your customer, the first thing you must do is to identify your customer base, find out what their exact needs are, and then keep THEIR end in the foreground so you can assist them in accomplishing their goals better than any other competitor. You will be ahead of your competitors and the process will run a lot more smoothly when trying to gain the respect of your consumer base as you will already have an idea of what they want, what they are looking for, how they want to accomplish it, and in what time frame they want to accomplish it. If all else fails, ask many questions to ensure that the information you are obtaining through observation falls in line with the expectations of your customers.
- Interview with Rahul Powar, Founder & CEO of Apsmart and the creator Shazam (thestartupmag.com)
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- 5 Tips on Getting Started in a Busy Marketplace (thestartupmag.com)