UnLtd USA founder, Zoe Schlag, wrote the following article for Unreasonable.is based on what she has learned from working with entrepreneurs across the US, India and Argentina.
Last year, I drove 5,000 miles across the US meeting start-up social entrepreneurs. Along the way, I learned about their challenges, the ups and the downs of a social start-up, and what they wish they knew at the beginning. After hundreds of conversations, I’ve boiled down the top 5 key tips I’ve learned from social entrepreneurs across America.
- Spend more time listening than telling.
Eric Sorensen, the Executive Director of Carbon Roots International, explained that starting a social venture inevitably involves making people believe that your product is worthy of their purchase. Eric believes in investing your energy in listening instead of telling. He says, “It sounds obvious, but your market has the answers to your assumptions, not the other way around.” During their first phase of product testing in Haiti, Eric and his team were frustrated that their customers were continually using their product incorrectly and found themselves spending a lot of time explaining to their customers how they were “supposed” to use the product. For several months, they struggled. Finally, they stopped telling and started paying attention to what they were hearing. Customers were constantly asking if they could use his product to cook. “It was like they were hitting me on the head with the answer, over and over again.” Carbon Roots International has now pivoted to account for this user feedback.
Read the rest of this article over at Unreasonable.is.