How to Build a Scalable Business? Know Your Customer
Every innovative idea comes from trying to fill a need or changing the way we do something. You can do all the work to create the most incredible solution to whatever problem you’re trying to solve, but if the people you’re making it for don’t want it, you’re not helping anyone. So what does it take to go from idea to innovation?
The first key step is to figure out what you’re building. Once you know what problem you want to solve or what you want to create, you have to make sure you know who’s going to use it. After all, every product is made for someone. It’s easy to come up with a broad demographic statement about who uses your product, but actual engagement is what really matters.
In order to engage your audience, get their input at every opportunity you can. If the data already exists from someone else having asked similar questions, by all means use it but ask questions yourself. Get both short, quantitative responses to guide your decisions as well as more qualitative responses when you can so you can get a more well rounded understanding of your user. Every bit of data used properly should help guide the development of your venture.
With a constant stream of input your end product can more accurately match your audience’s needs. Just because something already exists to offer a similar service doesn’t mean you can’t do it better. Historically it was important to move first but this doesn’t have the same significance in today’s world. Myspace and Friendster came around before Facebook after all, but only one is still around as a niche social media platform. Facebook was able to learn lots of their own lessons, but by observing the audiences and needs of their predecessors, they were able to develop a product that the marketplace was ripe for and people wanted to use. The rest is history.
Venture growth and product refinement is never ever finished really. Being successful means you keep building and growing, using feedback to help improve as you go. The best way to get ideas for where to improve is to listen to the people who use your product. Have an open channel for communication or be actively listening to what your audience is saying. Some input will be nicer than others, but all of it comes from a place of wanting your product to be better. Listening to this chatter and feedback will keep you busy in the long run, and may even lead to the next big thing!