CRAFTING AN INSIGHTFUL CUSTOMER DISCOVERY PROCESS
As part of our fellowship at Roundtrip Afrika, we invite African founders and investors to speak with our fellows weekly. One such speaker was Kennedy Ekezie, founder and CEO of Africave and Creft with a background spanning organizations such as SAP and TikTok.
Kennedy spoke to our founders on how to validate their ideas and he said so many great and insightful things that we decided to share the key takeaways that two of our fellows, Mark and Kevin, with our network. Founders can leverage the following user engagement strategies to interact with potential users as they work on market research and customer discovery.
● Have a problem statement you’re trying to validate:
The core purpose of building a startup is to solve a problem, and the more specific you can get in defining what you are trying to solve, the more efficient the process is for you. This involves reflecting on your experience encountering the challenge you are trying to solve and/or discussing with people who have experienced the challenge (which is discussed in the next point). The user stories and challenges will enable you to find a market niche to appeal to, enabling an overall more effective and targeted solution.
● Start with your network:
If you are creating a solution to a problem you have experienced or know people who experienced, you likely know 5 people right off the top of your head to speak to and to obtain more insights on the problem. Starting with your network enables you to get the ball rolling, and by sheer network-effects, enables scale-up of the customer discovery process to a larger group of people.
● Don’t ask for features to build, ask for problems
In collecting feedback from users, focus on distilling the core problems they are experiencing relating to the product, instead of the solutions they propose. This will enable you to see the vertebrae of the concerns users have and have creative control in coming up with the best solution that addresses the problem. An interesting quote that might hammer this point home is one attributed to Henry Ford that goes “If I were to ask customers what they wanted; they would have said faster horses.”
We hope this is as helpful to any founders in our network as it was to our fellows and we can’t wait to share more nuggets of wisdom from other speakers that we have hosted and will host throughout the course of our fellowship :)