Excerpted from Homemade For Sale by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
As a small CFO, you don’t need to spin wheels and spend lots of money to figure out the value and sales viability of your product. Depending on your products, options to connect with your customers and garner actionable information may include:
• Follow-up e-mails requesting customer comments or feedback.
• Testing out products at mini-markets. By selling at small sales venues to test the waters with your product, you can adjust various marketing approaches, including price, to determine the potential for your product.
• Snail mail a letter with a small survey to return in a self-addressed stamped envelope.
• Try out the widely used Survey Monkey (surveymonkey.com), a free online system that allows
you to invite customers to complete a survey about your products; SurveyMonkey provides various analytic tools to ferret out key insights.
• Large marketing companies often use focus groups, inviting potential customers to taste samples and
offer their opinions. You could do something similar, perhaps in a less formal way at your home or a
“community room” at your local library, if they permit it.
Regardless of how you collect feedback, make sure you incentivize your customers’ participation. As
thanks, perhaps offer a giveaway draw for your products. In your early market feasibility study, you may
want to avoid social media until you’re satisfied with your products and feel comfortable that the public
feedback you receive will generally be favorable. Ideally, minimize the possibility of customers railing
or venting negatively about your product, especially if you’re still refining your recipe or the marketing. If you’ve ever read restaurant reviews on Yelp or Trip Advisor, you’ll recognize the power of one that’s well written but scathing.
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This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Homemade For Sale by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko and published by New Society, 2015.