Know Your Customer – Brooke Boyle

“What do you think about my startup idea?”

That’s a tough question to answer because it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks except your customer. If they like it enough to buy from you at a price where you can make money, then it’s a great idea. If they aren’t, then it’s not.

The academic term for talking to people is ‘Customer Discovery’.

Customer Discovery is oxygen for startups

As you’re going to hear in this episode, there are always groups of people who’s needs aren’t being met. If you can understand their needs in a way others do not, then you’ve opened up a tiny little advantage for your business. Your capacity to create value is directly related to how well you understand your customer. And the good news is, you live in an amazing time where it’s easier than ever to connect with people and see these opportunities.

The best companies build this into their DNA right from the start. Before deciding on a business model or a product to sell, we have to learn about our customer, because it’s what they want to buy – not what we want to sell – that matters most.

I asked Brook Boyle to share a story about how customer discovery helped her identify an opportunity in the market

As Founder and CEO of Engage, Brooke specializes in connecting individuals with opportunity by introducing them to people they wouldn’t have otherwise met. Her career started with a degree in Psychology. She went on to sell women’s clothing, sold business leadership programs to executives, ran operations for her father’s executive search firm, then took time off to gain life experience as the mother of an infant child who survived leukemia.

After moving to Ann Arbor four years ago, Brooke’s work focused on community and employee engagement within the tech sector. She realized that her unique knack for human connection could be leveraged in a way that’s causing a paradigm shift in networking, recruiting, and the economic impact that can be driven by a social enterprise.

The way Brooke started Engage is a case study in customer discovery. Let’s listen to her talk about how she did it.