The first Startup Breakfast Club powered by MYOB of 2018 started off on a high note before a packed house, where some great ideas flowed over a cuppa. The panel made up of Graham Dockrill, Tony Perkins, Emily Heazlewood had a very engaging and interactive discussion about the process of validation.
Graham brought to the table decades of experience in customer validation, being one of the brains behind the highly successful companies; Hairy Lemon Web Solutions and the IT team. Tony is a familiar face for many of us as the former Front House manager of Coffee Supreme and is an expert in customer engagement and service. As the Founder of a new mobile application, Romer, Emily has gone through a very recent journey of validation over the past year.
Below are some of the areas that were discussed around this vital topic
1. What are some of the dos and don’ts around validation?
Never approach family or friends for validation, their responses will not be objective.
Be sure to have a large sample population while carrying out surveys. Try and identify customer groups which you hadn’t thought about in the past.
Make your survey questions specific.
Make a minimum viable product (MVP) and use that for validation. Romer’s MVP was shared with over hundred people.
Passion is the biggest driver behind an entrepreneur but don’t let emotive logic drive your business decisions.
2.How crucial is data analytics while conducting customer validation?
Data is important but customer habits evolve over time so it’s important not to be consumed by analytics and lose focus.
3. To what extent, and how should customer feedback influence product development?
You may receive a lot of ideas about potential service offerings or products from your customers or potential customers, however, it’s important to remember to not launch any product or service which doesn’t align well with the company culture.
While validating your product it's important not to make reactionary changes, incremental changes would be the best course of action.
4. How do we manage customer experience and ensure customer satisfaction?
Maximizing customer satisfaction is vital as this is the primary driver of sales. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool and developing a personal connection with customers can help in this regard.
Managing feedback is important, developing a process around this will ensure that everyone in your organisation abides by that.
If anyone is keen on further exploring this key area which is crucial for every entrepreneur, sign up for Ministry of Awesome’s Launch Club workshop on Customer Discovery and Validation on March the 8th. This workshop offers a deep dive into validation and will be facilitated by veteran entrepreneur Geoff brash. Geoff is on the Board of Trustees at Ministry of Awesome and is heavily involved in the mentoring and guidance of early stage entrepreneurs. He is the Founder and CEO of GBJ Innovation, Co-Founder of SLI Sytems and the Director of Codelingo.
For more information on how MYOB can help your startup or business check out their website.
About our panelists
Emily's passion for innovation and problem solving led her to help thousands of Kiwis get more out of their lifestyles while positively impacting social, mental and emotional long-term behaviours through her app Romer. After finding social media anything but social her goal was to get people to spend more time face to face challenging them to a new adventure every day they use Romer - whether it is trying a new food, a local walk or an activity they have never done before with friends.
Tony Perkins (TP) a Hospitlity Guru. With 35 years' experience in service and hospitality, TP knows his industry as well as what customers want. He has provided professional guidance to cafés, as well as mentored students entering the food and hospitality field (at the Christchurch Polytechnic and, before the quakes, through Celia Hay's school). TP believes that what is missed most often is consumer engagement. "Good service for me is being friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. All three of those things must happen if standards of service are to improve."
Graham Dockrill is the current Entrepreneur In Residence at the University of Canterbury. With over 20 years experience in the Information Technology sector, he has founded several hi-tech startups such as Citrus Tree Consulting and Hairy Lemon Web Solutions Ltd. Graham is a highly motivated entrepreneur with a proven track record in time critical innovation and implementation.