Most people at some point in their lives have dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs.
Many friends of mine have their own “million-dollar-idea”, but they never can be sure that the concept is viable until they execute it. To try the idea, they have to raise funds, use all their savings, quit their jobs, etc., which can lead to success but more often leads to a complete failure.
Big companies use expensive market research firms to reduce their risks and make better business decisions. While several thousand dollars is nothing for big companies, it’s usually out of the question for most people dreaming of their own startups.
Asking friends and family their opinions is the most common first (and often only) step that bootstrap entrepreneurs take. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good platform to use to make major business decisions. Here’s why: first off, friends and family members may not represent the target audience the idea is designed for.
Second, ‘friends and family’ is a very limited network that can’t represent a neutral nationwide opinion. Finally, these people may not be honest in their feedback in an effort to be encouraging or at least not offensive.
Therefore, many potentially great ideas never get off the ground just because traditional market research services are financially out of reach and home-made alternatives are just not reliable.
David and I had a similar problem with the Facebook app we were building 2 years ago. We spent quite some time developing awesome functionality and driving users to the app, putting a great deal of money and effort into tons of cool innovative features, and yet it didn’t take off as we had expected.
Our endless “to do or not to do” discussions were mostly intuition and logic driven, but often ended up being very far from actual users’ demand. We were quite frustrated and wished there was a simple and affordable way to ask potential users what they would appreciate the most in the app before we ever started development and spent any time on it. We looked around and were amazed that there was no tool out there affordable enough that we could use.
At that point we realized that this situation can and should be changed. That’s how Ask Your Target Market (aytm.com) was born!