(In)Validating assumptions with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce
Assumptions are the mother of all screw ups. We all assume things on a daily basis, but how often do you actually take the time to make sure these assumptions are actually (un)true?Monday, June 3rd's class was in collaboration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). Working based on assumptions can truly hurt your business, keep on reading to find out if this was also the case with the Chamber of Commerce.
For those who are not familiar with the Chamber of Commerce, they offer information regarding themes surrounding entrepreneurship and supports entrepreneurs. Their legal duties are aimed at registering, informing and advising entrepreneurs. Their main task is to keep the commercial register -a basic registration in which all companies are registered at. The Chamber has different departments, the online department being one of them. The main focus of this department (right now) is to create and share valuable information for students/young professional. Two of the Chamber's employees were also present during the class. They started off by introducing themselves, the Chamber and their current challenges.
During Monday's class I made it possible for the Chamber to get in direct contact with their target group- students of the minor Entrepreneurship at The Hague University of applied sciences. Not just to get in contact, but to get different solutions to the challenges they're currently facing and new ideas for projects to come.
One of the challenges they're currently dealing with is to figure out the best way to getting their content seen by their target group. The first brainstorm session was done differently, instead of coming up with solutions right away they had to make the problem worst. Finding ways to f.e make your service or product less attractive. This will allow you to have a completely different mindset. After that the students had to transform those problems into good solutions. While the students weren't really aware of all the different services the Chamber has, it became clear that the Chamber was actually producing content that the students would be interested in. A lot of ideas that were mentioned during the brainstorm session were already being carried out by the Chamber. So was it a waste of a brainstorm session? Definitely not. Some ideas were already applied, which was a confirmation for the Chamber. Some ideas would be an addition to the content they already have and some ideas were not yet being carried out by the Chamber. And more importantly, they students were very clear in the way the Chamber could get their attention. So with all the different ideas the students came up with, it's up to the Chamber to try out the new ideas and see what works and what doesn't.
The second brainstorm session was regarding podcasts. Podcast comes from the words iPod and broadcasts and was invented in the early 2004 by The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist. A podcast is an episodic series of audio or video recording, which can be downloaded or streamed in order to listen to them. I recently started listening to podcasts myself and I must admit, I really enjoy listening to them. Most podcasts I listen to are regarding entrepreneurship, startes with their (not so) successful stories. So the Chamber assumed (there you have it folks) that the students would be interested in podcasts. They were shockingly surprised to hear that this wasn't really the case, for a bunch of legit reasons. If the students would "really" have to listen to the podcast it would be while doing other things and maybe not with their complete attention. They also gave some topics they would find interesting and some they wouldn’t be interested in at all. Imagine you would assume that this was something your target group would be interested in, based on your assumptions you would create a whole series, just to find out it's not in line with their needs. What a waste would that be, right?
So my tip for today's blog is to always test your ideas with a smaller group, your target group to be exact. Find out if this is something they're interested in and if it works for them. It's always tempting to pitch new ideas to your friends and family. Unless your inner-circle is as brutally honest as mine, you should refrain from doing that. If your friends and family are your target group and you're planning on selling your product or service to them, than you could. If not, you should involve your actual target group in this proces!