Articles, Blog

How to Get Useful Feedback about Your Product: Crash Course Business Entrepreneurship #7

October 2, 2019


To figure out if an idea is as good as we
think it is, we have to talk to our customers. We’ve said it over and over again. We have
to ask them what they like, dislike, want, or need, and we want honest feedback about
our product or service. But… how? Just walk up to them on the street? Or in
the produce aisle? Or in spin class? Start babbling about value propositions and minimum
viable products? That’s definitely how you make friends. As entrepreneurs, we’re creative problem
solvers willing to take risks for our ideas — and this is part of that risk-taking. We have to be the boldest versions of ourselves
to send out surveys, conduct interviews, and give presentations to end up with the best
business idea possible. I’m Anna Akana, and this is Crash Course
Business: Entrepreneurship. [Theme Music Plays] These conversation strategies are useful for
the whole entrepreneurship process — from our initial idea to 2 years in. Think about
how many times we’ve already said go talk to people! But feedback in these early stages informs
all kinds of crucial decisions, and some of the trickiest customer interactions are getting
people interested in our product or service in the first place. So that’s what we’ll
focus on here. First, we want to pull out the ol’ value
proposition, and review how we expect to provide value to customers. This will help us come
up with questions and explain our minimum viable product. The goal of this stage in the process is putting
our MVP through validation, or initial tests before launching. Next, we have to decide what exactly we want
feedback on, because we don’t want to waste everyone’s precious time by asking unfocused
questions. Is it a physical product that people need
to get their hands on? Is it a website that people need to click through? Is it software
that we need to demo? And now…drumroll please…we have to actually
get people to give us feedback! Woo! This early stage is where we have to really embody
that “hustle” we keep talking about. Steve Blank, famed entrepreneur and author
of The Startup Owner’s Manual, says, “Get out of the building.” But that doesn’t
necessarily mean run up to the first person we see on the street and bombard them with
questions… usually we like to use a more tailored approach! One easy place to start is with our networks.
Friends and family are a good place to make sure your questions make sense and will get
you the type of feedback you’re looking for. But we need to go beyond them, because
we want unbiased opinions about our ideas. You probably know more people than you think,
like work colleagues, friends of friends, or LinkedIn connections! Talking to them will
give you a chance to practice before talking to complete strangers. Now, there are a few tried-and-true ways to
get helpful feedback: Surveys are flexible ways to get lots of responses
on whatever key metrics we’re interested in. Some people basically have degrees in
designing effective and informative surveys — so, uh, there’s a lot more where this
came from. But there are 3 key sections we want to focus on: First, the target market. Open with a few
demographic and behavioral questions to get a sense of who the person is and what their
life is like. This helps contextualize their answers and informs our marketing decisions. Second, demand. We’ve checked out the competition,
but what do other people have to say? Do they already use a competing product? Are we battling
fierce brand loyalty? And third, willingness to pay. We think our
idea is worth a million bucks, but how much do other people think it’s worth? After
all, they’re (hopefully) doing the buying. It’s really easy to create and deploy surveys.
If you’re going digital, you can use templates from services like Survey Monkey, Type Form,
and Survey Hero, or make one from scratch. You can ask your network to take your survey
by sending emails directly to your friends and colleagues. Branch out even more by asking them to pass
your survey on to 5 people in their network — but make it as easy as possible! In that initial message, include language
that they can easily copy and paste like “Help my friend, a cool entrepreneur, kickstart
their business by taking a 5-minute survey. Please!” In the age of social media, consider posting
a link to your survey on Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram. You can tag people to try
gaining some traction — that personal touch can help persuade people to fill it out. And we do still live in a physical world,
so you can conduct surveys IRL too! Phones still make calls. Shocking, I know. So you can ask people questions while you
take notes. It’s also not too cliche to pick a busy
street corner and ask passersby a few questions, especially if they’re within your target
market. If you’re nervous, try bringing some exuberant
friends with you who can help break the ice. Entrepreneurs don’t “entrepreneur” alone. “I’m on your team, be on my team!” You could even ask a non-competitive business
owner with a similar target market if they would let you survey their customers either
in store or by email. You can sweeten the deal by offering to include a few questions
that make sense for their business. If we want more depth than a survey can offer,
focus groups and interviews are a good strategy. The key difference is that we can watch people
use our product and ask follow-up questions to really understand their experience. I wouldn’t visit your website. Why? I don’t like it. Why? CA: It’s hard to look at. Why? The background. Why? I don’t like the shade of green. Why? Because it reminds me of vomit, the walls
of my high school cafeteria, and the ultimate futility of the human endeavor. Also the home
screen loads really slowly and the background music is annoying. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Some schools of thought recommend asking “why?”
five times when solving a problem, to get to the heart of an issue.
Although, for the record, you should mix it up with actual full questions, not just “why?”
like a 3 year-old. Sometimes you may want to approach someone
specific that you only sort of know or you haven’t met before. Now, we’re not encouraging
stalking — use common sense, never make anyone feel unsafe, and be respectful of their time. Self-awareness is the most attractive quality,
in my opinion! And in some cases it’s not appropriate at
all, like surprising an actor and throwing your screenplay at them, or going to an elementary
school playground to ask kids to demo your game. But say you’re looking to sell a new alumni
directory app to universities and scholarship programs. And maybe you’re having trouble
getting in contact with the alumni coordinator by phone or email. So you can try showing up to their office
during business hours with a kind smile and a reasonable ask. Your basic goal is to get in the door, talk
with an important potential user, describe your project snappily, and try to build a
relationship. That way, maybe you can conduct a test, have
a deeper conversation later, or even land them as a customer. Sometimes it doesn’t work,
but taking these kinds of risks can be part of the “hustle”! Focus groups and interviews take more time
and don’t have the same reach as a survey. But the feedback can help you figure out what
really needs to change, or what people truly like. Then, there’s the classic sketch comedy
bit from I Love Lucy to Saturday Night Live: the product demonstration. Today it’s more
common to demo software than vacuums, but the idea’s the same. With this method, we test our MVP with people
or businesses — basically, anyone who has purchasing authority and could buy it. The
goal is to understand where we could make big improvements to the user experience, before
officially launching. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Suppose Congress has an idea for great new
board game: Explorers of CATopia, where players build cat trees, trade resources, and race
each other to make their own cat civilization. He thinks everyone will love it, but he decides
to create a minimum viable product and test it to be sure. So Congress starts chatting with his friends
and family about Explorers of CATopia. After getting some mixed reviews, he decides to
create a survey that will collect basic demographic information — things like age, income level,
and place of residence — on everyone who’s interested — or not interested — in his
game. The founders of Cat-sassins Creed are conveniently
friends of Congress, have a similar target audience, and agree to let him email their
listserv with his survey. Congress also conducts several focus groups
with gamers across his network. He has them playtest Explorers of CATopia while he watches
for any problems. And afterwards, he asks them questions about the design, what other
games it reminds them of, and any suggestions they have for improvements. Best case scenario: after hearing about the
game and demoing it, people start asking when Explorers of CATopia will come out. Congress
actually presales about 100 games, and can use the presale money to help with manufacturing
costs. Using contacts he made at local entrepreneurship
events, Congress gets a few meetings with game designers who are interested in producing
his game. He’s validated his idea with strong customer feedback and presale orders. Worst case scenario: Congress learns a lot
about Explorers of CATopia… but it’s not at all ready to hit stores. He needs to do
an overhaul of the gameplay first, so he’s super glad he tested his MVP! Thanks Thought Bubble! Notice for all of these
strategies, we need large groups of people willing to listen to our ideas. If you’re having trouble finding them, universities
and colleges, entrepreneurial advocate groups, networking groups, and Startup Weekends can
help! Connections at each of these places can fundamentally change your progress, support,
and feedback. Once we have a pile of information about our
MVP, our work is only half done. Next, we have to sift through it all and sort the valuable
feedback from people being grumps. Ideally, we want to use the power of math
to help. Surveys especially give great data for statistical analysis, but we can use any
method to get helpful quantitative and qualitative feedback. Quantitative feedback involves numbers — things
like rating our product or service on a 5-point scale (1 being the worst, 5 being the best),
or asking how much someone would be willing to pay for it. Calculating the average response
to these questions is often a good start. Qualitative feedback is basically everything
else — people’s meandering thoughts about what they liked or didn’t like. We can analyze
the results by grouping answers into several categories like “fun,” “complicated,”
or “ugly shade of green” and noticing how often those categories show up. We won’t get into all the math here, but
check out Crash Course Statistics (and Sociology!) for some specific techniques to analyze all
your feedback. In general, we want to collect information
from a meaningful chunk of our customer base — a statistically viable sample. We should
try to have at least 100 responses, but more responses lead to more useful results. Ultimately, we want to use every drop of information
we’ve collected to recognize all the opportunities to improve our MVP. But we have to take some
feedback with a grain of salt. We’re really looking for trends in the data. If a self-proclaimed technophobe says your
paper-thin tablet is a huge monstrosity, you may need to ask yourself: is this one criticism
from someone who will never be my customer? Or is this a frequent concern that’s a trend
across all the feedback? After we’ve sifted through to find the golden
nuggets of feedback, we need to actually modify our MVP to increase the value we’re providing
to our customers. We could make minor design tweaks, or completely
scrap features to focus on one aspect that people love — that’s one of those pivots
we talked about! We want to make sure our future customers get what they’re paying
for. The bottom line is: are people going to buy
whatever you’re selling? We hope the answer is yes, but validating our idea by testing
and gathering feedback will help us make sure before we go all-in. I see you Cheetos lip balm — still no? Next time, we’ll get into the key resources
and activities that entrepreneurs juggle when starting up a business. Thanks for watching Crash Course Business,
which is sponsored by Google. Thanks also to our animation team, Thought Cafe! If you
want to help keep Crash Course free for everybody, forever, you can join our community on Patreon.
And if you want to learn a lot more about survey design and analyzing all your feedback,
check out Crash Course Statistics:

48 Comments

  • Reply Mitchell Thompson September 25, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    forst

  • Reply Alexander Rodriguez y Gibson September 25, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    First.

  • Reply Fedoramaster September 25, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    First

  • Reply PrabhSharan Singh September 25, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    First!

  • Reply M a r u s h u September 25, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I clicked on this because Cats

  • Reply Gabriel Mustapha Goncalves Balde September 25, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    View number 184

  • Reply Utkarsh Ojha September 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Thnks ! I have just joined a student project of my institute in AI Sub-department …I was finding thease courses and you Just uploaded

  • Reply Fuschia Faulding Steward September 25, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Yay – it’s Anna!

  • Reply Flaming Basketball Club September 25, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    YASSS

  • Reply Owl Study September 25, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    I clicked cause she's so pretty lol

  • Reply Alejo Tassile September 25, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    C a t s

  • Reply Immortal Ideas September 25, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    Great vid!!
    Always S●LID work!!

  • Reply Naniya Mernando September 25, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Anna is the one teaching this am dying… this is so awesome

  • Reply directfunebru September 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Governments should do this, but nah, they don't care.

  • Reply Kitty Cat September 25, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    I LIKE CATS wait…..what's this video about?

  • Reply Fenixz Filip September 25, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    f a k e b o o b s , n o r e s p e c t .

  • Reply Child of God September 25, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Not related but she is REALLY pretty, lol

  • Reply leadfoot9x September 25, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    "Passers-by."

  • Reply SiaarZH September 25, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    the most useless crashcourse

  • Reply Noxmiles September 25, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Cats?

  • Reply Noxmiles September 25, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Anna aconna, isnt she a porn star?

  • Reply Noxmiles September 25, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Cats at 7:33

  • Reply Tyler Glass September 26, 2019 at 12:43 am

    Can Hank teach about polyatomic Ions

  • Reply LARKXHIN September 26, 2019 at 1:10 am

    "….Ok, well, now we're getting somewhere!"

  • Reply Dim K September 26, 2019 at 2:46 am

    A young bimbo lecturing us about entrepreneurship 🤪

  • Reply Nicolás Rapagnani September 26, 2019 at 3:01 am

    I'm in love with this woman since she was with RWJ… YEAH, I'M THAT OLD.

  • Reply Robert Matian September 26, 2019 at 4:22 am

    10 mil almost 😳

  • Reply RawRawDimension September 26, 2019 at 5:18 am

    ONE question: How do you make all this process seem organic to your audience? As someone who's mainly been in the audience side of things, I feel more like a number than a valued customer when I'm being pushed surveys and feedback links. Nowadays, building a organic audience is what really keeps one going in the long run.

  • Reply chandru ugra September 26, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Suggested in dr vsj
    I will try to understand your ideas and language.

  • Reply chandru ugra September 26, 2019 at 5:26 am

    All the very best

  • Reply Typically Thomas September 26, 2019 at 6:28 am

    I used to be in a business course. My group decided we needed to test our product aimed at kids by putting it on the elementary school playground. I kept saying it's a terrible idea but they didn't listen. I feel you called them out specifically

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  • Reply Kamila kozioł September 26, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    And so, I'm up to date. Please, tell me that I'm not the only one who saw all of the episodes of Crash Courses. Thank you for your work, there are a few CC that I'm gonna specifically recommend to my students. I've also happily became a patron in the process, 'cause obviously

  • Reply Max Jerome September 26, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Is this video targeted towards children? I find it reductive and rudimentary.

  • Reply helios396 September 26, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Clicked because of cats.
    You got me and my click, dammit.

  • Reply Mudit Dua September 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Man I came here ….why?🤨

  • Reply Halle Lujah September 26, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    How I love her way of talking. Exactly my sense of humor! 😀

  • Reply Unripe Banana September 26, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Catniss Everdeen

  • Reply Ammee Show September 26, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Please share me my YouTube

  • Reply 6alecapristrudel September 26, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    And remember kids, too much positive feedback can lead to oscillations.

  • Reply Bob Fearnley September 27, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Is that the extra credits cat? <3

  • Reply Alberto Granillo September 27, 2019 at 1:18 am

    7:34 for anyone looking to see the cats animation

  • Reply random ness September 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Wait .. why are you vomiting green?!

  • Reply chrisuehlinger September 27, 2019 at 11:57 am

    This popped up in my feed, and from the thumbnail I wasn’t sure if this was CC Entrepreneurship or CC Artificial Intelligence.

  • Reply PRAMOD CHAUDHARI September 28, 2019 at 8:41 am

    The Mongols are still in the videos :0 7:14

  • Reply 劉盈盈 September 28, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    My fav Youtuber is teaching business on crash course❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply telemangreek September 29, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Hm I think your cat has passed away 🙁

  • Reply c4cheetah October 1, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Oh, what a fraud Anna, where all filling goes???

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