It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of entrepreneurship to national economies. Entrepreneurs are responsible for innovations that literally spawn whole new industries and improve our standard of living. And they drive economic growth by hiring employees at a disproportionately higher rate than most established businesses.
Across the globe, entrepreneurship continues to grow, with almost 600,000 people in the U.S. becoming entrepreneurs every month. Clearly, any economy—whether developing or developed—needs to support its entrepreneurs by paving their routes to success.
As someone who has been at the helm of more than one startup, I know just how important it is that entrepreneurs with important innovations have the tools they need to succeed. One way entrepreneurs can be supported is with the critical market data they need to make those early decisions that can be the difference between success and failure. Thanks to the accelerating democratization of the consumer insights industry, that data is now available to entrepreneurs at the very earliest stages of a startup and throughout development.
Here are some of the ways consumer insights can provide invaluable support to our entrepreneurs.
In the beginning. It’s never easy to decide whether or not to move ahead with a startup idea, knowing that any new business requires almost unimaginable amounts of time, money and commitment. In the past, entrepreneurs had little choice but to trust their guts and dive into the deep end. Needless to say, there are myriad examples of startups that failed miserably because they lacked a clear picture of the market. But today an entrepreneur can easily and inexpensively test the waters even before taking the first dive. Thanks to end-to-end consumer insights platforms available anywhere and anytime, a new business owner can easily access information needed to determine whether or not a new idea will make it in the marketplace. Think of that market data as the life preserver needed to keep a new venture alive.
Money matters. Anyone who has started a new business knows that funding is critical to success. Without sufficient investment—usually from a variety of sources—a startup will be unable to hire necessary talent, invest in product development and make incursions into the market. Market intelligence gathered through consumer insights programs can provide invaluable evidence that an idea will be financially viable and deserves to be supported by potential investors.
Which way to go? As product development takes off at a new company, there could be a number of routes to take—any of which could involve massive expenditures of time and money. Before taking any of those routes, developers can now test out any product concept by using a consumer insights platform to instantly create a community of their most important customers, asking them to rate a concept based on a number of variables, including ease-of-use and likability. The market intelligence they gain—which used to be available to only large organizations—will be a road sign telling them to either venture down a particular route, or avoid one that’s filled with potholes. This can save an expenditure of time and money that—at this early stage of development—could have proved fatal to the business.
Avoiding growing pains. The moment comes for every startup when it seems time to gain new investment and grow. By gaining critical market intelligence through consumer insights platforms, an entrepreneur can prove his company’s products are being welcomed in the marketplace and have room to grow. That could be just the leverage needed to gain elbow-room in the market.
Bottom line: Market intelligence gained through on-demand, agile, and cost-effective consumer insights platforms can now provide just the foundation an entrepreneur needs to ensure his idea will thrive and grow in the marketplace.