Entrepreneurship

Friday Q & A: How to Find Your Ideal User Personas, How to “Add Value” to a Mentor’s Life When You’re Just Starting Out, and What Tools We Use to Track Metrics

Friday Q & A: How to Find Your Ideal User Personas

Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Anastasia Uldanova, Peter Kakoma and Kevin Enloe for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

How Do You Find Your Ideal User Personas?

Finding your ideal user persona is a much more important mission to a business than most give it credit for. In fact, it’s absolutely critical; companies who fail to do this, fail to survive.

User personas are very specific “profiles” of the type of customer that’s valuable to your business. Most businesses have more than one, but having too many will make it difficult to connect meaningfully with any one of them. At Groove, we have 4-6 “target” personas that we try to attract, though it fluctuates as we learn more and more.

There are really only two ways that we’ve been able to make progress narrowing down our user personas:

  1. Really aggressive customer development. Spend many, many hours talking to your potential customers, and, if you have them, your actual customers. Learn exactly what their backgrounds are. Their hopes and challenges. Their fears and dreams. Their demography. Ask them specific questions about these things, and use their answers to build an educated hypothesis around your ideal personas.
  2. Equally aggressive testing. We learned very quickly that we had spent 6 months and $50,000 building our product for the wrong personas. Don’t do that. Do your customer development first, and then test your hypothesis. The easiest way to start doing that is with your messaging. Tailor your marketing copy specifically to different personas, and see what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve done that, it’s important to work on figuring out which personas are actually valuable to your business, and which ones respond to your messaging and product, but are unlikely to ever pay you money or refer paying customers to you.

And that’s where customer development comes in once again.

How Do You “Add Value” to a Mentor’s Life When You’re Just Starting Out?

I see this kind of question a lot, and I think that there are two important things to do:

  1. Reframe your thinking on this. Instead of thinking “I probably have no value to offer because I’m just starting out,” challenge yourself to think about the value you can offer. If you assume you can’t offer value, then you definitely can’t. But by getting creative, you certainly can.
  2. Think about what you have that the mentor does not have. It’s not money, and it’s probably not business advice, but that’s not all there is.

Consider:

  • Time. What can you do for this person that they might not have time to do?
  • Your own expertise. You may not have gotten far in business yet, but what skills do you have that you can offer? Gary Vaynerchuk’s video editor got a full-time job on Gary’s team by offering to make him a free video. Maybe you have some other skill you can offer.
  • Introductions. Successful people have strong networks, but they know the value of powerful connections. Find out if there’s someone that the influencer wants to meet (whether it’s a specific person, or a role (e.g., “front-end developers” or “health tech founders”). Those people will probably be a lot more accessible to you than the successful person, which is fantastic: do everything you can to get to know those people so that you can introduce them to your future mentor.

That last point is exactly how I got our first advisor.

What Tools Do You Use to Track Metrics?

We use a lot of different tools at Groove, and we’re constantly testing new ones. But when it comes to metrics, we’ve been using the same stand-by’s for quite some time:

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to build startups and help others do so by writing about his experiences with being an entrepreneur.