Tips from Tetro – Advice from an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs know that the best way to get a business off the ground is to have a product or idea that will revolutionize an industry, take a market by storm, and grab the consumer’s attention. The hardest part of the entrepreneur’s journey is validating others that their brilliant idea will actually survive once it goes to market. Cydni Tetro, Entrepreneur in Residence at Disney, spoke to the Profiles in Leadership class to give them tips on making this a quick and effective process to save time and generate much needed capital.

Tetro says that the process of validation has changed in the last 5-10 years. Previously, an idea would be handed over to an engineer team who would create a prototype, and then the marketing team would to try to sell. This was usually a one to four-year process. “Today, you need to fail fast”, says Tetro. Flesh out an idea, test it quickly, and make the necessary changes to increase the idea’s viability. This saves your time, energy, and financial resources.

Some other things to consider:

  • Talk less than the customer: It might be uncomfortable at first, but if you are able to present your idea and listen to the customer more, then you’ll be able to gather important information about the direction and viability of your idea. Ask a question and give the customer all the time they need to respond.
  • Get rid of false positives: Friends and family will not give you the honest response you need because they want to spare your feelings rather than provide a critical view. Begin the outside validation process early so you’re not spinning your wheels on a project that won’t make it in the market.
  • Get the real market size: You cannot determine the market size based on the current market because you’re not the exact same product that’s already on the market. Instead, gather 12-15 people who are potential buyers and profiles of your potential customers to help validate your idea. If you can get people in your neighborhood, town, and city to commit to your idea, then your market size will be stronger.
  • Frequency of use:If your idea does not have a compelling reason for people to continue to visit or use your product, then you do not have a sustainable idea. When you’re brainstorming new concepts, keep in mind these crucial keys:
    • Why would people come?
    • How often will people come?
    • How often will people come back?
    • How can that be monetized?

Once you have a strong validation that your product could play well in the market, then it’s time to get moving on making your idea a reality. Take the time in the early stages to ensure you have strong “go to market” idea and you’ll find your success rates increase exponentially.

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