Do you have business idea, but don’t know how to start?

I believe this is the common issue. Either you are planning for new startups or you are thinking to scale your business, you have probably gone through this phase. There are actually many ways to kick off, but you don’t want to waste your time and money and leading you for uncertainty and deadlocks. I have faced such situation many times, where I realized mistakes after spending so many time and money.

After many unsuccessful attempts, now I feel the best approach is to start with understanding the customer first. If you don’t have good understanding about the customer, everything you will do can lead into uncertainty. It’s like you are trying to build tower on weak foundation.

You can make good product or service, when you understand your customer very well and you know what matters to them most. For this you can start from creating personas.

Personas are the characters (in many cases it is hypothetical) you created to represent the different type of users, that might use your product/service or make influence to use it. The persona will help you to understand what they think, see, feel and do.  This will help you to understand your user’s need, experience and behavior.   

When we start making persona, we often spending too much time trying to make it perfect. But we need to understand the questions you will need to answer with personas will be change with time and evolving, which will change the understanding of persona too.

There are few fundamental elements that make persona better.

  • Name

They should have name, it will easy to recall and make the persona live.

Example:  Sanu Lama, the taxi driver

  • A Screener

To understand if the persona is relevant to your product/service, you can start with asking screening question. This will help you to make sure your persona is adequately specific.

Example: For Sanu Lama, the screening question can be “How many trips you have done in average 8 hours a day for last 3 months”

  • A Description

The general information about persona, that is like the detail introduction which give the idea about the person. You can try to write about “who are they”, “What make the do that job”. It will better if you have picture of him/her.

Example:

Sanu Lama is a part time taxi driver. He has been driving a taxi for 2+ years but he takes it on daily rent from the taxi owner, where he needs to pay 10 USD every day for driving 10 hours . Everyday, He takes his taxi around 6 AM morning from the owner’s home and returns it back at 4 PM. After he returns back, there is another driver like him who takes the next 10 hours who pays the same amount. He is unmarried and lives with friends, they have rented an apartment. He earns 25-30 USD every day, but spends 5-7 USD on fuel and food. So he saves 8 to 13 USD for him. He is a student studying bachelor degree  and this profession helps him to pay fees for his college. Sanu doesn’t love his job but this is important for him to survive. He doesn’t like this profession because he think this job doesn’t have much respect in society. He also doesn’t stay in a specific area and waits for customers to come rather he goes to search for customers. He has faced a few bad incidents; some customers ran away without paying money. But he also found many generous customers who pay good tips when they are happy with service. Sanu has a good smartphone, and he has a 4G network. He uses facebook and watches youtube when he feels bored, he chats with friends and family. He has downloaded ridesharing app and like it very much, he gives priority to the customer from ridesharing app, the customers from ridesharing app are usually nice and he earns better income from the app. He thinks app can be better, sometimes he needs to go far to pick up but customer cancel while he is on the way to pick up.

  • Perspective

You should understand Persona is the design tools, which means it should be useful to get your job done. You should be able to find the answer of question you are looking. I usually try to use the approach of “Think, See, Feel Do”

Example

ThinksHe knows this is not going to be a long term career but it’s good for now, he has flexibility and enough earnings for him for now. He thinks ridesharing business will take the lead in future, because many customers likes ridesharing app.
SeesHe sees some drivers are doing more trips and earn good money using ridesharing apps. 
FeelsHe feels the market will lead by ridesharing in few years, so the drivers who want to learn something new about technology and customer service will earn money.
DoesSanu generally does 5-6 trips a day, He earns 200-300 USD a month.
Think: What do they think about your area of interest? What’s the tension between how things are now vs. how they’d like them?
See: How did they get to that ‘Think’? What people or sources of information influence them (in your area of interest)?
Feel: How do they feel about your the area in question? After doing it/experiencing it, how are they likely t0 feel?
Do: How often do they do it? How much do they spend (time and/or money)? When and why?

Well this is not complete but from here you can start your other steps. You will carry persona in whole process further.

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