If you want advice, ask for money.
If you want money, ask for advice.
- from an entrepreneur, based on hard lessons learned
I teach a course at the Wharton Small Development Center on entrepreneurship. I've been working with the Wharton SBDC for nearly a decade and one of the most powerful tools promoted by the SBDC is Primary Research.
In short, Primary Research refers to talking to people in your startup's eco-system. This might include prospective customers, suppliers and competitors. Understanding what is working, what is broken, who is the best at this and where the industry is heading can provide powerful insight.
Years ago, I worked with a young entrepreneur who was trying to figure out how to test his model for Internet marketing to small businesses. I encouraged him to just go out, meet with small business owners and ask them if they'd be interested in such a service. When I met with him 2 weeks later, he had signed up his first five clients! I blogged about the success story that became Yodle in 2007 with an interview with Nathaniel Stevens. Yodle is now a national success story.
This week, I had the pleasure to debrief with entrepreneurs on their primary research as part of their course-work with me. Consider these two success stories.