Feb 5: Focus Groups for Customer Validation

On February 5th, Kasie and Shennice welcomed friend and fellow 1MCer Agata Chydzinski into the studio. Here are the show notes:


Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Consulting, DMSB

Shennice Cleckley, Smart Cookie Coaching

Agata Chydzinski, COO, Foltex USA

Theme for the day:

Focus Groups for Customer Validation

Agenda review:

  • Learn more about Foltex USA and Agata and Sarah
  • Customer Validation as a concept
  • Focus Groups for research and analysis
people silhouette during sunset
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Segment 1:

Agata and Kasie met through 1 Million Cups. Tell us about your 1MC affiliation and the leap from corporate employment to entrepreneurship with your founder, Arnaud Henrard. Why was this the right fit?

Give us the Foltex story and background. Where did the company start? How has it grown? What’s next?

Segment 2

In entrepreneur (startup) vocabulary, the concept of Customer Validation is relatively straight forward. It answers the question, “will people buy what you plan to sell?”

Startups talk about customer validation in terms of running new product and service ideas across a select group of evaluators. What would these people like to see? How would they like to engage? What do they need from you as a team?

Some hard parts about customer validation: 1) not everyone is going to love what you’re doing; sometimes nobody thinks it’s a good idea. 2) getting feedback on something you’re passionate about and personally invested in can be painful. 3) your friends and family don’t qualify as “customer” in the validation game.

Additional Customer Validation thoughts from Steve Blank:

  • Most entrepreneurs start a company with hypothesis not facts
  • None of these hypothesis can be tested in the building
  • Therefore – Get out of the building
  • “Market Types” matter
  • Find a market for the product as specified

Segment 3

So Foltex USA had a question about something and decided to run a focus group to get input. Tell us about the thing you wanted to test. Tell us why a focus group? How did you go about organizing it and how did it go?

Focus groups are just one tool for research. Ron Harvey led one at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce in January. The question then was “what can the Chamber do better for Small Business partners?” he used menti.com and I’ve heard of PollAnywhere as a similar tool to solicit responses in an anonymous way.

What was the hardest part of organizing the focus group? The tools? The process? The invitees? Or getting the feedback itself?

If you were going to give advice to our listeners who are thinking of holding a focus group to get feedback on something, what would you tell them?

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Start Something, Columbia! thanks the City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities for its support.


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