Alloy Growth Lab – Startup Snacks #3 – The Mom Test

Guess that snack!

Hey everybody!

As a reminder, the purpose of “Startup Snacks” is to provide the startup community with ONE actionable item per week to move your startup forward. Some of it will be original content, some not. No pride here – and frankly, why recreate the wheel if somebody has already put together some great content or tools that will benefit the startup community. If it can help you in your journey I will share it!

To check out past snacks click here.

Let’s move on to Startup Snack #3.

“But Grandma Loves My Product”, says everyone,

And Mom, for that matter – check out “The Mom Test”. Validating your idea is perhaps the most critical aspect of the startup journey. Most ideas come from the founder’s personal experience, but a product with a market of one isn’t going to be viable. You have to figure out whether there’s a need for your product idea, and the best way to determine that is to talk to potential customers.

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There’s an old adage that says you need to talk to at least thirty potential customers (and not your grandma or your mother) before you can predict whether there’s a real market for your product. This number is borrowed from statistics – it’s not based on any real data, but as a proxy for “talk to a lot of customers” it’s a fine place to start. But more is certainly better.

Here is a great set of questions to ask potential users/customers: 7 Questions To Ask For An Insightful User Interview.

And that leads us to a number of additional resources to help you validate your assumptions and eventually grow your product sales.

Getting Setup Up <> How to Start with an Idea that Grows into a Business?

Develop User Personas – A user persona is a representation of a group of your customers. They use falsified names, stock photos, and other attributes to help you and your team build a connection to the customer group. User personas can be helpful if you are stuck thinking about people to interview for customer research, and they are extremely helpful when building marketing campaigns and product experience design.

There are some great tools to accomplish this:

  • The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas + Free Templates from Buffer- check it out here.
  • “What is a Buyer Persona?” and “Make My Persona Tool” from HubSpot – check it out here.

Build a Landing Page – One way to determine customer demand before building or enhancing your product is to build a pre-launch website with an email signup form. Carrd and Mailchimp are great tools for building these out – plus they are extremely user friendly. Using landing pages to test a new product or service idea allows you to collect valuable customer feedback while remaining agile, and can shed light on the overall viability of your proposed solution. But the best part is that landing pages do not require a large amount of custom design and development work.

Bottom line – do the pre-work! There are a tremendous number of resources out there to help you get through the discovery and validation phases and eventually onto the path to “epiphany”, as described by Steve Blank.

Upcoming Events:

September 13 – Built in Ohio: Manufacturing Tech from OhioX – Join manufacturing tech and innovation leaders from across Ohio to learn about how Ohio people, companies, and ideas are building the future here at home – info/registration here.

September 14 – Local State and Federal Certifications Workshop – info/registration here.

September 14 – GrowthX + Alloy Growth Lab Info Session – limited scholarships to participate – registration and more info here.

September 15 – Webinar: Current State of the Legal Cannabis Industry – info/registration here.

September 23 – University of Cincinnati Digital Futures Open House – info/RSVP here.

September 26 – DEADLINE – Applications close for Enginuity SBIR Accelerator – info/application here.

October 3-4 – OnRamp Manufacturing Conference – the leading conference for manufacturing innovation – info/registration here.

October 5 – REBUILD Conference – REBUILD, formerly the High Performance Buildings Seminar, is a conference that equips leaders to build sustainable value in their organizations. Divergent questions lead to innovation. Info/registration here.

October 11 – We are looking for GREEN startups (space limited to 4 startups) to participate in GreenCharge event hosted by the Alloy Growth Lab and Madtree Alcove during StartupCincy Week – info/registration here.

Oct 10 – 14 – StartupCincy Week – Learn more here!

October 14 – StartupCincy Week Job Fair – contact Abby at Cintrifuse (abby@cintrifuse.com) if your company is interested in participating.

October 19 – Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland – presented by One America Works, OhioX, Youngstown Incubator, HG Ventures, Youngstown Business Incubator, and Comeback Capital – info/registration here.

Let us know what you think at catalysts@alloydev.org!

Our mission at the Alloy Growth Lab is to help startups with the following:

  • Navigating the investment/funding landscape; 
  • Connecting them to fellow entrepreneurs, potential customers, and regional talent; 
  • Developing and managing a strong growth strategy; 
  • Gaining traction with the right product and market.

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