I was recently on a conference call with the two other co-founders for my new startup when something hit me. After spending 20 minutes discussing everything that had been going on and what our next steps were, the same two words kept coming up: “I Think… I Think… I Think…”
Although we have spent nearly a year forming our Crush Club, getting in front of potential customers and learning what our Minimum Viable Product should be, apparently we’ve now reached a new place in the process where there are new questions that need to be answered… otherwise the two words “I Think” would have been replaced with something like “I know that xyz potential customers actually want…”
The goal of Forming a Crush Club for your Startup (or current business) is to get you out of your office and in front of potential customers to test your ideas and assumptions (fancy word for guesses), and replace them with facts and a business model… so basically replacing the “I Think” statements with “I Know” statements.
Don’t get me wrong… you need to begin with an “I Think” statement, but this “fact finding process” will give you continual Customer Feedback that will replace your own “I Think” ideas with customer based “I Know” facts that will help you know where you are going (building the actual business, product or service). Just because you have met with a handful of people and learned a few things does not constitute that your search is over. You need to continue to Assume. You need to continue to Test those Assumptions. And most importantly, you need to learn how to build something amazing.
Here are 3 Steps that will help you as you replace the “I Think” with the “I Know” statements:
1. Write down all of your assumptions (the “I Think” statements) about the following:
- What is the actual problem or need that you are addressing?
- Do people know that they have this problem or need?
- What is the profile of these people? (Age, Sex, Location, etc.)
- If you could create a solution, would people actually want to buy it from you?
- Can you build this type of solution needed?
2. Start forming your Crush Club that will help you test those assumptions. Identify the people within your network that fit the profile of the person above that might want this type of solution. If you cannot think of anyone within your network that fits these criteria, don’t worry. You’ll just need to do a little more digging to search for someone to schedule your first Crush Club meeting with (you can do this in the Yellow Pages, google searching, facebook, linkedin, etc.).
3. Test your assumptions (the “I Think” statements) on a real person to find out if they are true. Follow the 10 Steps for a Crush Club meeting. By the end of each meeting, if the person has a “Crush” on your idea, then you can ask them if they know anyone else that might have the same problem and who can also offer advice… then sit back and watch your Crush Club grow based on their referral!
Whenever you find yourself saying “I Think,” (no matter if you have an existing business or a sustainable business), it’s time to get out of the office and replace those assumptions with facts. In my case, we’ve come a long way since we first started this new venture, but each new step raises new questions that need to be answered, so we’ll keep having Crush Club meetings… but that’s what a Startup is really all about: Searching for a Sustainable and Scalable Business Model. How is your search going?