Ike Bennion’s Bio

Ike has been a product marketing manager for 5 years, mostly in b2b software. Additionally, he has been working in product space in a small startup. Currently he is a portfolio marketing manager at Cornerstone OnDemand, where he helps to build new learning products and launch them in the market. He is in the second of three years as a fully-employed MBA student at UCLA where he is studying global management and tech management. He loves weightlifting and dogs when he gets a little free time.

Making 2020 the Year of the Entrepreneur

Because 2020 could be defined by so many things (mostly negative and mostly fearful), we want to help change the narrative. We want to make 2020 the year of the entrepreneur. Shortly, we will be launching a challenge entitled Launch A Business In 3 Days. You may have an idea or not.. If you do, we’re focusing the next few episodes on helping you make that idea viable. If you don’t, these same episodes will help you find that idea.

All of this is to prepare you to enter the challenge where you’ll start your business and enter to win $1000 and a year of Weave!

Data Data Data

Information is your biggest ally when contemplating a business. It’s a good habit to establish and maintain. Information and data about your target buyer is crucial to how you structure your product or offering, how you construct your marketing, and how you provide a 5 star experience. First, you need to understand the demographic data of your target buyer. Build a deep persona profile (this will be covered in depth in the Launch A Business Challenge).

entrepreneur gathering data

When you’re a part of your target audience, you may find you’re biased.You’ll find yourself thinking that people think the same way you do, when that may not be the case. This can lead to making assumptions that will lead you down the wrong path. You need to help your buyer see themselves in your product/solution/service. Demographic data will help you craft your message appropriately.

Second, take this one persona per use case at a time. You want to dedicate your resources to this one use case and have a focused solution. Other people will see the value and also purchase. But you need to get those initial promoters from your target buyers first. They will then do a lot of marketing for you. Some of the best kind of marketing. Eventually you can work toward more use cases, but definitely start with one. Nail and scale. That’ll make launching that second use case and persona so much easier and so much faster because you’ve laid the groundwork. Your future self will thank you for it.

Survey Fundamentals

Building a survey can definitely be done on a budget. Google survey is a free tool you can use. Though it has limitations, when you understand the basics of surveys, you can still accomplish a great deal and collect a good amount of data that will be extremely helpful to you. But that data largely depends on your respondents. Get a diverse sample size. You may need to purchase a panel to help meet these needs.

Here are some research fundamentals:
Know what data you want/need (Check out this article from Qualtrics)¹
Build your survey (and this one on common mistakes to avoid)²
Peer review
Personal review
More review! (check for leading questions, redundancies, answer options, check the time commitment, demographic information etc.)

After the Data: Developing An MVP

Incorporate what you hear. You’ll be surprised what your target buyer and consumer have to say. And remember, MVP stands for minimal viable product. It won’t be perfect. And that’s more than ok. That’s how valuable it is to get it into the hands of your buyers and consumers. It’s more important that it’s out there than that it is perfect.

If you can, and if it’s applicable, try and witness how people use your product or offering. What is going on that they may not think to communicate with words. Watch closely. You’ll gain valuable insights. From what you experienced, what was your reaction? Monitor monitor monitor. Iterate iterate iterate. And then you can push new versions. Think of the iPhone and how many versions there are now. Not many people are upset about what has come out. But Apple always seems to learn something new to incorporate into their next iteration.

Lastly, remember that TAM, penetration, and demand are not the same thing. They’re closely related. Your total addressable market (TAM) is your potential. Your penetration is the percent of that total potential that you’ve been able to sell to. And your demand is the specific consumers who have chosen to have your solution fill their need.

3 Takeaways

  1. Start gathering data
  2. Have a beginner’s mindset
  3. Enable rapid iteration