Chartered Architectural Technologist | MCIAT, MSc. BIM, BSc. Arch. Tech.

Startup – Market Research Interviews

Category : Startup

Before you even consider building a solution you should conduct market research. So many people think “oh I’ve a great idea everyone will surely love it as much as I do”. Luck in this case is usually the only way this happens. In most cases, you will need to pre validate your market through several steps. One of those steps is to conduct a potential end user interview. “Potential” means in this context, is that you think your target market’s problem is X and your concept or idea is Y will give you Z, Z being the MVP solution that you initially launch.

User interviews should not be lead to suit your solution, the user should not be aware of what your idea is or will be. This reduces any type of preconceptions regarding how they might give you answers. Questions should be open ended and the more your interviewee talks the better. It’s nice to talk about what you know about a market, but you need to be a good listener to ensure you’re solving a pain point for your end users.

An online questionnaire is a good prequel to an interview, this can be sent a few days or week before you meet the interviewee. This also gives you an agenda by having your interviewee expand on their answered questions. You’ll be surprised at how much you will learn from listening, this also presents the opportunity if a pivot is needed at a future point you have more data to look back on for ideas.

This interview also gives you honest tag lines or captions that will capture potential end-users once you launch your MVP. It’s important to be a visionary and think in 50-100 years “where might my startup be”, yet you must place your feet on the ground every so often, to ensure you are actually solving a current problem.

Terminology –

MVP = Minimum Viable Product is the bones of a solution or website that you can get out quickly. This will help establish user feedback to iterate to a BETA or full launch

How to Find Startup Ideas

Category : Startup

Number 1 is define or establish your passion and then you want to pair it with other industries. For example; you like running and have extensive experience working in retail businesses, start thinking of a business that intersects at these points. As a guide but not a rule , it might play out something like this –

1. Starting a physical running gear store.

2. Turns into – how might I scale this ?

3. An online running store.

4. Research any sort of similar online businesses.

5. Pick the top 5 or so and try to identify a gap that they don’t address for customers.

Look for the niche, but be wary of solving a small rare problem (Watch Des Traynor on this). A small problem but one that occurs commonly is what you’re looking for. You will find that the larger startups get, they tend to leave behind “breadcrumbs” of customers that have not been entirely captured. This is also true in the fact that, companies establish their markets and the users that don’t convert, are most likely already looking for their niche product elsewhere.

Passion + Experience = MVP / Initial Solution

Generating ideas involves launching an MVP or Prototype, even if it’s only for you to grow your own thinking on the solution. WordPress or similar are great ways to make this happen, and free. When you start doing this, a lot more will fall into place, the seeds are now planted for what will eventually become the branding and marketing strategy for your startup.

Some good resources to help you get creativity flowing –

Y-Combinator Startup School Lecture Series – a personal favorite is Alex Schultz Facebook VP of Growth.

Sam Altman’s Blog

Paul Graham Essays