If you’re an entrepreneur with a brilliant business idea, it’s natural to want to get feedback from friends, family, and potential investors before launching, but unfortunately, people may not always be truthful about their thoughts on your idea. Instead, use the Mom Test, which consists of a set of rules to determine if people genuinely think your idea is good or are just being supportive. The Mom Test is essential in preventing you from wasting money on a business idea that might not work.
Maximizing the Value of Customer Feedback
Asking the right questions is a crucial part of being a successful entrepreneur. The ability to ask good questions is key to developing and advancing your business idea. By taking the time to ask potential customers about the problems they face and the kind of solutions they are looking for, you can ensure that you are on the right track to offering them something they actually need.
However, it’s not enough to simply ask questions. You need to ask the right kind of questions that will help you collect useful data. This “good” data should provide insight into what your customers are looking for and what they are willing to pay for it.
For instance, if you have an idea for a paid app that provides daily recipes to stay-at-home moms, it’s not enough to merely ask if they’d be interested in such an app. Instead, you need to ask if they have trouble finding new recipes and how they look for them. If your target customers can easily find recipes online for free, they probably won’t pay for your app. This is the kind of feedback that will be helpful in shaping your product.
On the other hand, “bad” data can mislead you. For example, if coworkers or friends give you insincere compliments or vague statements about investing in your idea in the future, don’t take these at face value. They may be trying to be polite or avoid hurting your feelings. Instead, seek out honest feedback from people who will tell you the truth, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
By asking the right questions and collecting useful data, you can ensure that your business idea is on the right track and has the potential to succeed.
Signs of a Good or Bad Meeting with Investors
When you’re looking for investment or sponsorship for your business idea, it’s important to recognize the signs of a good or bad meeting. Although compliments may seem positive on the surface, they often indicate disinterest, so don’t take them too seriously.
When people compliment your idea, they may be trying to avoid outright rejecting you, and it’s often a polite way to end the conversation.
To determine whether an investor is truly interested, look for signs of commitment. A committed investor will ask specific questions about the investment terms and the progress they can expect. To avoid wasting your time and the investors’, focus your discussions on commitment. Be upfront about your expectations for first payments and deadlines for prototypes. This approach will help you quickly identify investors who are not interested in committing, so you can move on to others who are.
Young entrepreneurs often make the mistake of taking compliments too seriously, and they feel hopeful when an investor gushes over their idea or business plan. However, compliments alone won’t help you launch your business. By recognizing the signs of a good or bad meeting and focusing on commitment, you can increase your chances of finding the right investors for your business.
Startups often face an overwhelming number of options and ideas. Pursuing every possibility is a recipe for failure, leading to a sea of projects with nothing to show for it. To avoid this, it’s essential to focus on a small group of target customers.
For instance, if you’re developing a fitness app, targeting young men and women with jobs who want to stay healthy and fit is not specific enough. To get meaningful data, you need to go after a more specific group, like employed men between the ages of 18 and 25 who are training for a marathon next year. Such a group would need a highly specialized training and diet plan, and they might be overwhelmed by online information about diets and not know who to trust.
Once you’ve identified your target group, get to know them by talking to them and learning all you can about what they need. You can’t select a target group and imagine what they want; you need to find aspiring marathon runners and ask them how their training is going.
Your target group might not need your app after all, or they might prefer personal trainers instead. On the other hand, they might need the service you’re providing and be willing to pay for it. That’s the kind of data you need to move forward.
By focusing on a small group of target customers, you can avoid drowning in a sea of projects and develop a successful business idea that meets the specific needs of your target customers.
The Importance of Casual Conversations with Customers and Investors
In order to have productive conversations with potential customers and investors, it’s important to make them casual and relaxed. Formalities should be kept to a minimum and instead, the focus should be on being personable and showing genuine interest in the other person.
One way to do this is to start off by asking about their day, then move on to their problems related to your product and their ideas for solving them. This will help people feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their honest opinions.
In some cases, you may not even need to have a formal meeting to gather valuable information. Instead, you can go to places where your target customers are likely to be and strike up casual conversations. For example, if you’re in the business of scheduling public speakers, you could attend a conference for public speakers and ask some of them to get coffee with you.
Casual and comfortable settings are essential for getting useful data. People are less likely to open up if they feel nervous or put on the spot. By creating an atmosphere that is relaxed and non-threatening, you can help people feel at ease and willing to share their thoughts and ideas with you.
To bring your business idea to life, ask the right questions and seek commitment rather than compliments. Target a small, specific group of customers and communicate with them casually to gain insights on their needs. When you communicate sincerely, you can give them something meaningful. Prepare for productive conversations by selecting three important questions in advance. This ensures that you receive the necessary information from potential customers or sponsors.
Inspired by a book “The Mom Test”; Rob Fitzpatrick