A story. Greg Gianforte, the CEO of Rightnow Technologies, which had the best performing hi-tech IPO of 2004, started his firm this way. In the mid-90s, with the advent of the Web, he spent some time on the Web searching for a new product idea. After looking around, he discovered there was a need for a web-based customer support function, one where customers can get their own answers instead of calling an 800# and speaking to someone.
To define his product and determine if there was a real interest in his product, web-based customer self-support, he developed a list of the feature/functions he thought he needed for the product. He then proceeded to call his potential customers, call-center managers. And he told them he had a product which would be out in 90 days and he read told them the feature/functions he had listed. When they said no, he would ask why. And when they told him because of such-and-such feature, he would add it to his list. He called a couple of hundred call center managers.
When he finished from what he called "market research through selling," he had a good product definition and since he was a developer he did create a product within 90 days.
Greg is unusual in that he doesn't mind cold-calling at all, when most of us get in a cold-sweat at the thought. And he is unusual in that he is a technologist who is also great at sales. But regardless, his approach is the right one. Find some problem that is underserved in the market today and then test it with potential customers.
Brian Turchin CEO/Founder Cape Horn Strategies, Inc. Helping CEOs Increase The Value Of Their Businesses [url]www.capehornstrategies.com[/url]