Follow these 7 Steps to Save $1000s in Business Startup Costs
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

There is an age-old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth! It should be reworded, “If you build what they want, they will come.” You can find out exactly what the customer wants by using customer discovery. It’s the act of presenting your potential customers with the product or idea before the final product/service is completed while spending the least amount of money possible. Take a look at these seven tips to building a customer discovery campaign that can save your business time, energy, as well as thousands in startup costs below.

1.Don’t be afraid to tell people about your product.

For some reason, people are afraid of sharing their ideas with the mindset that someone is going to “steal” it. It’s highly unlikely that they will go through the trouble of recreating or building your product/brand. Remember, you can’t receive feedback if people don’t know about it.

2. Have a basic demo of the product or idea even if it doesn’t look appealing or isn’t completed.

Create what is called in the startup world an MVP, or minimal viable product. This is the most basic version of your product without all the fancy branding or features. An MVP can be a video demo/pitch or a basic platform or application.

3. Share your product with people (your target market) you don’t know in person.

This should be a no-brainer, but people often create new products in isolation or only share with their family and close friends. While it’s great to share with your family and friends, the likelihood of them giving honest feedback is low.

4. Set up a basic website landing page and share it with everyone you know.

Your landing page should feature a video of your product demo or pitch. It should also include an email pop-up that collects first name, last name, email address, and phone number. Once you have completed your landing page, share it with everyone.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

You may think your idea is magnificent, but you’d be surprised to find out that people might have other ideas on how to use the product or will suggest product improvements. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a feedback goal of at least 50 people or more.

6. Determine if your product is a fit for your market. 

You will know based on the feedback if you are on the right track or if it’s best to pivot to a different market, or make modifications to your idea or product. Obtaining 75%-80% in overall positive feedback from people you don’t know can provide you with enough information on how to move forward.

7. Follow up with everyone that provided feedback.

If your product is still pre-development, you should send regular email updates and include your feedback contact list in your development process. Your customer discovery feedback group will help build a following for your brand and has the potential to become your first customers when you launch.

Want to learn more about customer discovery or how to secure funding for your business?  Sign up for a FREE webinar: “How I Made 15K For My Startup Using Social Media in 30 Days!” You can register by clicking here:

Join the Conversation

Chanel Martin

Author Chanel Martin is a certified Life Purpose Coach and Brand & Media Exposure Coach. She helps entrepreneurs turn their purpose into profit and get brand exposure. A co-founder of two hair care companies, her brands have gained national exposure with media outlets such as MSNBC, Forbes, Essence, Ebony, BET, Business Insider, The Real, and more. Chanel also teaches companies how to raise funding for their small business or non-profit. You can learn more about her by visiting her website: