SBSS Week 2: 10 Reasons to Talk to Your Customers Early

Posted by on January 19, 2008 at 7:36 am.

customers
We had another great week of the Success Breeds Success Series. This week covered Markets and Market Research — with a focus on sizing your market and understanding what customers want.

Randy Scott, CEO of NovaMin, was the guest speaker and did a fantastic job of summarizing his efforts to select and size NovaMin’s market. A defining characteristic of his market research was a focus on talking to customers instead of just relying on library/internet research (he did that too). As a result, his numbers and decisions were grounded in reality, not assumptions.

Entrepreneurs who talk to their customers early benefit in a multitude of ways:
1) Customers can provide primary data on market dynamics & size;
2) Customers often have/share secondary data (research reports etc.) on their markets;
3) Customers are typically more open to answer questions if the goal is reasearch instead of sales;
4) Customers can help prioritize product features;
5) Customers may provide early commitments for trials/sales;
6) Customers can be valuable references for funding diligence;
7) Customers could become early investors;
8) Customers can be a resource for more customers (e.g. trade associations);
9) Customers may know of good management candidates from their industry;
10) Customers that are included early, become long-term resources for information and guidance;

So…why are you reading this? Go talk to your customers…

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