I have been helping a younger friend with a tech start-up they are working on. The management team is solid, the five members all have business, law, and finance backgrounds which is going to be crucial when they go for their first round of investment, not to mention every other round that they might go through. However, I feel that this level of business knowledge, plus their experience dealing with the service that is going to be provided is actually keeping them from gaining even greater insights. This expertise, or knowing what is lacking can be good in some cases, but it can also keep companies from looking for other perspectives on the problem. One way to gain greater perspective is through online market research communities.
For the purpose of this article we will create a fake startup to illustrate this problem. Imagine the company is providing an upscale check-in procedure for hotels. The startup is targeting business executives who travel a lot for work. They want to pay a premium so that after getting off a flight they don’t need to deal with the hotel concierge. They also don’t want to have to wait to check in at 2 p.m. or find ask about the wi-fi etc. and give a copy of their credit card, when they already gave it online. They just want to get to the hotel and have the bellboy expecting that individual, complete with photo, so that the key can be handed off seamlessly.
All of the management team are travelers and business executives so they know what they want, and this notion carries down to all the decisions they make. They are in the decision seat and they think that everyone will like their decisions. The CEO starts with the logo, he has good design taste he thinks, more so than the other execs so he takes the lead on designing the logo. The problem is that just because he has the best taste in the group doesn’t mean he has the best taste among his future customers group. Here in the first step of designing the logo, he could have a group of 20 people who are likely to use this service, out of people he knows. He tests ideas with the MROC software through an online discussion, where feedback can be given and direction can be sought for the logo. Now you have the best looking logo out of the twenty and not the 5.
Diversity is Key
Next step is writing to address the problems that your service solves. The management team happens to be all white male business execs, and their problems are very similar. In order to broaden the scope of problems and solutions, they build a diverse qualitative research community of 20-30 individuals who have diverse backgrounds, for variables such as age, sex, and country. They soon realize that this app can appeal to mothers from wealthy backgrounds who also want things child proofed as an add on service. This add-on service is just an example to show that the needs can be greater than the small group of friends who got together to start the company.
Market Research Online Communities to Help Build the Foundation
By gathering a larger group to test each round of decisions that need to be made, you will make better decisions. While market research online community software can be expensive it certainly will be cheaper than the mistakes made by the small group, compared to gaining more information and making better decisions on the first round. If you would like to find out more about how market research online communities can help you, please feel free to contact us.