The One Tool You Must Use to Find Customer Trends for Your Startup
“The fundamentals of business is to get paying customers,” preaches William Aulet in his MIT course on entrepreneurship. “So if you have paying customers, you have a business.” Unfortunately, many startups are so enamored with their product idea that they lose site of whether anyone would be willing to pay for the product or service. A new tool by Trendwatching.com may help startups research consumer trends to find markets.
Trendwatching.com calls the tool the Consumer Trend Canvas, which is a simple one page chart in which startups can unpack and understand any consumer trends. Step 1 of the Canvas has startups analyze the basic needs, drivers of change, emerging consumer expectations, and inspirations to help understand consumer trends. Such trends may be motivated by:
- Social Status
- Self Improvement
Drivers of change may include specific technologies, political events, economic shots and environmental incidents. Rapid growth or sudden shifts, even if the numbers are small, are worth attention. Startups then are prompted to look for expectation gaps between what consumers want and what they currently have. Finally, seeing what other businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, governments even, are already doing with the trend is a great way to better understand it.
“To succeed, entrepreneurs must be excited about the novel product or service their company has created, but too often that excitement is not shared by the company’s most important “success-determiner” – its target customers,” Neil Collins, CEO of Results Marketing Group and business development director for Innovate New Albany. “Ideally, the entrepreneur and team should design and create their product solution only after listening to customers honestly talk about their important needs that are poorly satisfied by the marketplace’s existing solutions.”
Collins believes that tools such as the Consumer Trend Canvas will help entrepreneurs focus on meeting customer needs. “Too many entrepreneurs try to force a specific invention on a dis-interested target market segment,” Collins observed. “Instead, a more effective sequence is to first conduct research that identifies customer needs that are both highly important and poorly satisfied. Only then should the startup team design and create a product solution that will fill the identified market gap very well.”
The Consumer Trend Canvas and instructions on how to use it are available here.
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