Many startup founders go into business to “follow a dream.”
That’s fine, and most entrepreneurs start there. But actually growing a business is less a matter of passion+innovation and more a matter of calculated trial-and-error.
The “dream” is important, but it needs to be wide enough to encompass any means of making things happen — even the kind of tedious work many thought they left behind when they set out on their own.
Surveying your target market is one of those tedious things. And it’s tough — the LAST thing many founders want to hear from consumers is what they’re selling isn’t in demand. But it’s better to LEARN the hard way than LOSE the hard way. And it’s rare, in my experience, that an entrepreneur with enough wherewithal to set out on his/her own is 100% off-the-mark when it comes to forecasting consumer demand.
I’ve seen hundreds of consumer surveys come back negative for a startup, but I can’t remember a single one that spelled complete doom for an idea. Most often, bad feedback can be addressed with doable changes to a product or its branding.
Be vigilant about connecting with consumers. Don’t be scared to ask the hard questions.
Your future self will thank you!