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The ER test for your business

Monday September 2, 2013

I read a great book full of business common sense by a guy called Eric Ries. It’s called the Lean Start Up. One of the many things that Eric argues is that having released a minimum viable product (i.e. something that you’ve already got some customers for) then whether you are about to invest more into the same product  or service to get even more customers or (re)launching the product or service, you are often only the faintest tweak away in your value proposition from it being a runaway success with your customers.

So imagine you’ve already asked the ‘killer’ follow up question  and your customers have guided you to the appropriate area where by making subtle tweaks you can really create disproportionate value for them.

The second ultimate follow-up question is, “We are thinking of (insert here the value proposition or idea as suggested by your customers or as interpreted by you). Now, if we didn’t do this, how disappointed would you feel?” Simple enough, albeit slightly awkward question, right? Yes, but its awkwardness is what makes it stand out and what makes people re-read it and give you a considered opinion. Plus you would be surprised how few people are ever brave enough to ask it. Instead most people start businesses by simply starting up. But that’s like running a bath with the plug out. You might get a fast run rate to start with but if the water is always flowing out faster than you can fill it with new water (or sales) then you’ll end up failing. Of course, you’ll never have the chance of success without having the courage to face potential failure, but why not narrow the odds by employing this question.

Of course, asking the question isn’t the real trick here. It’s the answer choices you provide and what they mean that really matter. So make it a multiple choice question to start with and limit the answer choices strictly as follows; “Very Disappointed, Somewhat Disappointed, Not Disappointed At All, Not Relevant’. Applying a huge amount of research now so you don’t have to read the books or watch the films, the clever bit is that if the percentage of the total answers (excluding ‘not relevant’) saying ‘Very Disappointed’ is less than 40% then you need to revisit your intended value proposition and keep refining it and asking customers until the score they give back is greater than 40%. At this point, you should have a winning value proposition to market, one which your existing customers will be well plugged into before you launch it.

Don’t forget to sign up for a FREE trial with SurveyMe next time you want to ask your customers or staff anything or if you are looking to start your new business venture.

Tags: awkward question, Business, Business Support, Customer, Eric Ries, Lean, Minimum Viable product, Questions, Small Businesses, Start Up, Value Proposition, viable product,

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