do field work rather than above ground work!

If my DNA were sequenced, we would no doubt find many genes in common with those of the inventor of Excel. I certainly have an irrepressible tendency to want to model everything that moves, but this type of addiction has its limits, especially when it comes to business.

It’s really dangerous to rush into your favorite chart and make “above ground” activity predictions. But that’s exactly what many entrepreneurs do, especially when asked to present a well-calculated business plan. The risk is then to turn your dreams into reality.

It is equally dangerous to do a “bedroom strategy” based on general market research without meeting real potential customers. What startup entrepreneurs call their “market” is often just a description of their industry, the size of which is made up of a series of transactions that are generally in no way comparable to what you’ll be able to sell.

Overcoming procrastination and optical illusions

The illusion of precision borders on the sublime when those same claimants commit to segmenting the vagueness with shortcuts that allow us to fantasize an “addressable market” as juicy as it is readily available.

Such approaches lead to uncertain business plans and little chance of prosperity without truly analyzing a tangible need and formulating a robust value proposition.

It’s really essential to have a detailed understanding of the problems faced by the players in the ecosystem you want to develop in, so you don’t reinvent the wheel, or worse, pretend to solve a need that no one actually articulates.

In the startup phase

Here are some tips to make your job easier in uncovering innovation opportunities based on simple on-the-ground actions that need to be taken. These events will be rich in lessons and will convince your potential partners of your business and financial reality.

  • Research your prospects and industry experts : conduct several dozen interviews live and/or via focus on groups. In particular, before drawing “macroeconomic” conclusions, it allows you to gather literally, “customer pieces”, according to my colleague Frédéric Iselin, who insists on understanding the exact nature of the need of the unsatisfied or undersatisfied existing supply and over which the various stakeholders are stumbling parties, except the end consumer. So the desire to lose weight is not necessarily the primary motivation: it can be health problems, the desire not to change the wardrobe or, more prosaically, to increase one’s attractiveness on some dating apps. Each segment is specific and cannot be approached in the same way.
  • Create a community and spread content : by publishing on different social networks, on a personal blog or even on a dedicated website, you will be able to methodically research different aspects of a problem, in which you will gradually become a specialist. Even before its establishment, the co-founders of the company mix-mix created a fashion blog for pregnant women that allowed them to build a community of future customers as well as a network of brand ambassadors. This content creation strategy even allowed them to find investors.
  • Organize events to test your concept: such initiatives, which can range from simple conferences to full-scale tests, allowing you to increase your visibility and get additional feedback from your customers and potential partners. Before opening their first restaurant and creating a restaurant group like no other in less than 10 years, the founders of the restaurant group Big Mom they tested their concept at the HEC Paris cafe. This allowed them to improve several aspects of their project. With more than 500 daily sales, the credibility of their project was proven and our two entrepreneurs were able to achieve initial fundraising with an excellent award.

When you already have customers

When your company is already in the commercial phase, the challenge is different: it is about optimizing the existing one to develop faster and better, especially by moving from your soon to be adoptive – those who are” ready to pay the fastest and most expensive » in the words of my colleague Frédéric Iselin – to a more important but also more demanding segment called “ early majority », estimated at a third of your target customers who are waiting for feedback from the first customers before buying a new product or service.

Here again, systematic field work will allow you to improve your value proposition and improve your business dealings, especially through the following actions:

  • Methodically analyze the entire customer journey: such work will allow you to detect possible friction or On the contrary, dimensions popular with your customers. This cooperation with real estate agencies, buyers and sellers of real estate enabled the creation of a real estate network Guy Hoquet consolidate its position among the leaders in the field.
  • Invite all your customer support teams: nothing like an exchange with a real customer to understand what might be a problem with the presentation or operation of your offer. Regular visits to the “customer hotline” by all your co-workers and employees is a godsend when it comes to team cohesion and incremental innovation.
  • A survey of “non-customers” as well : if listening to a dissatisfied customer is an imperative to effectively deal with such requests and strengthen your business reputation, listening to “non-customers” is also a great way to understand, even before using your products or services, that may be blocking a purchase decision.

So you don’t need to be a geologist or a cartographer to “talk” the field when it comes to business and innovation: all you need is a little method and a lot of empathy.

With this field work, you will be able to modify your business plan to make it even more robust.

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