A budding chef follows her dream and opens a restaurant. She has traveled often to Asia and thinks that a Pacific-Rim theme and style of cuisine would be really popular in her city. She pours everything into this business because she knows that there are people out there who want this kind of food. She spends hours sourcing ingredients and creating a well-balanced menu of all of the best dishes that she found through her travels.
On the first day, the restaurant opens and a few customers trickle through the doors. She stays in the kitchen eagerly waiting for her server to bring the first order. Her guests select dishes from the menu and she uses all of her knowledge and passion to create amazing meals.
After a month, more people have tasted her cuisine but most are not coming back. There are lots of restaurants in this city to choose from and it turns out that not everyone likes spice.
Her tastes are obviously not going appeal to everyone else in the city. The people that love spice didn’t find out about her restaurant before she ran out of money. She didn’t get to know her diners.
What if on the first day, she didn’t hire a waiter. What if she didn’t pre-design a menu. What if she went about things completely differently. Did she need to hire someone on the first day? She could have kept only a small number of tables and gone to the first diners and taken the order herself. She could have talked to her customers and offered to create whatever they wanted. Would they tell their friends? Would they come back? Would this be truly remarkable?
If she did this until she got too busy, she’d have a great idea of what diners in her city wanted. Then she could hire someone to take the orders for her. She could go back to the kitchen and use what she’d learned to create an instantly popular menu. Along the way, she might have built a loyal, passionate community who felt truly involved in the menu that they’d helped to create.
Market research before investing helps reduce the chance of being wrong with our assumptions. Market research used to be expensive, now it just costs a little time because social tools let you talk to anybody, including your target market.
Have you ever thought about starting an online community?