This series started with Episode 1 introducing the premise and the process.
Episode 2 was all about defining our idea and setting up for interviews
Welcome to Episode 3! We are going to kick things off right where we left off, but first this other thing….
Good ideas are not a dime a dozen, at least for me. I have another idea and I’m not sure which one I will end up going with in the end. I am at a really early stage of my ideation and at least for now, I’m going to go forward with the teaching idea. I’m not going to talk about my other idea, but know later on that if I pivot over to that, it will be only because I get better feedback on it. If I do pivot, I will let you in on what it is and what I am doing with it. For now, we’ll stay focused on the process and the video teaching business. Ok, enough wasted time, lets start!
The First Interviews
When we last talked, we were ready to start interviews. My business idea has a target audience of Millennials, so I needed to talk to them and other High School level kids. The reason I am looking to High School ages is that these are the kids that are ready to move to higher education and I want to open the door to them. I can also reach out to an older crowd, but those may be a little farther away from my home. To start with, I walked outside and talked to my neighbors kids as well as some other teens I had access to who were Juniors and Seniors in high school. I asked them how they were doing and told them I had a new business idea and wanted to ask them a few questions. They were glad to help. I asked them where they learn new things when not in school. I asked them if they were going to learn programming, what would they be interested in building. I asked them if they had considered a career in Software Engineering. We had about a fifteen minute conversation. I learned that they learn new things on YouTube. They thought Software would be hard to learn and were not looking into it mainly because of that reason. They actually said they would think it was cool to build a shopping cart that could do custom things. Really? A freakin shopping cart? Ok….
One thing that stuck out to me was that the kids I interviewed thought learning to code was hard. That is something that I will have to overcome. I will also have to talk to a lot more people, probably in their 20’s or early 30’s. The older crowd may have different answers and may confirm or deny the part about it sounding hard to learn. I’m going to go on for now with the information I collected so far. As I continue interviewing, I may have to pivot or tweak my assumptions.
Defining My Problem
So for now, I’m going to move on. I have to define a problem. After all, a business will most likely not survive if it’s not solving a problem for people. Even though I think I know what the problem is, I need to define it clearly and then prove that what I think is true, is actually true. Let’s start by defining our target audience. Who will use my service? I would like to think that everyone could use it, but that’s not only not true, but it’s waaaaay too many people to try to target and deal with. I want to build a tribe of people who love my service because it helps them and for me to concentrate on them, I have to focus as much as possible. This makes my business a niche business. I can always expand later, but I will start with a small targeted group who have a problem. Right now, I have two groups of people. I have talked to High School kids who might have time after school and over summers to learn to code. I could offer bootcamps and targeted courses specifically for them. On the other hand, I have the Millennials who are already working, but are not satisfied with their career. I’m not sure which group is going to win out, but I’m thinking about going with the older group. They are probably more unhappy, have money to spend because they work and are looking for a way out. On the negative side, they probably have a lot less time on their hands. With age comes responsibilities (just ask Spiderman). So my selected target audience for now is Millennials who are not satisfied with their careers. Let’s assume for now that these people find it difficult to learn skills that would help them change careers. Why would this be a problem for them? I think it’s because their time is limited, they don’t know what else they want to do professionally and funds are limited. I’ll have to validate all of that later, but I think for now it’s a reasonable assumption.
So putting this all together here is what I came up with as my Hypothesis or Problem Statement:
Millennials who are not satisfied with their careers find it difficult to change professions because it’s hard to start over, their time is limited and they are not sure what other careers they would be passionate about.
Now that we have our problem statement we have to prepare to interview our target audience. We need to validate our problem statement. Only then should we move on. In Episode 4 we will discover how to prepare for our interviews, where to find people to interview and what to do if our problem statement does (or does not) resonate with the people we talk to. Remember, we are trying to prove our problem exists. Then we will be able to solve that problem. We have done all of this so far without spending any money and by using real feedback as a basis for our work. What is your problem statement? What types of businesses are you working on?