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Don't Ask Your Mom: How to Validate Your Ideas through Market Research

If you are starting a new business or adding a new product or service to your existing business, it’s a good idea to test out your concept before investing a lot of time and money. How do you go about doing that? (Hint: It's not by talking to your mother!)

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Don't Ask Your Mom: How to Validate Your Ideas through Market Research
Don't Ask Your Mom: How to Validate Your Ideas through Market Research


Mar 18, 2021, 4:00 PM

Online via Zoom

About the Event

CoLab Programming Presented by Northwestern Bank


Thursday, March 18, 2021 | 4 p.m. | Virtual

CoLab Programming presented by Northwestern Bank


Famous professor of entrepreneurship Clayton Christensen stated that about 80 percent of new product launches end in failure.

Why is that? Many times, we are so focused on making our product or developing our service, that we neglect the most important step – making sure people actually want the product or service we plan to sell.

If you are starting a new business or adding a new product or service to your existing business, it’s a good idea to test out your concept before investing a lot of time and money. How do you go about doing that? Join us for the workshop “Don’t Ask Your Mom: How to Validate Your Idea through Market Research” with Kelly Berry to learn some tips on where to find information, what kinds of questions to be asking, and who to talk to in order to validate your idea. (Hint: it’s not your mother!)


Before you spend valuable time and money launching a new product or service, it’s important to understand your customer’s needs and goals. What problem are you solving for your customers and why would they choose your solution?

In this interactive workshop, market researcher Kelly Berry will share some examples of how certain products & services solve customer problems, in order to help you focus on your own business ideas using the same problem/solution structure. The workshop will also cover how to find existing information that can support your business plan, as well as how to capture information unique to your own product or service through informational interviews.

Part One will include pointers on how to do some online research on your industry, competitors and customers as your starting point. Kelly will share some websites that can be valuable to all businesses, and then offer some industry specific options as well. This will help you create your own customer hypothesis statement in the workshop handouts.

In Part Two we will discuss who to interview, where to find them, and what to ask.  Kelly will share some dos and don’ts of customer interviews for product or service validation and provide some informational interview questions to consider, using an example business. Using the workshop handouts, participants will be able to define their target audience for interviews and map out some key questions to ask in order to get the information they need to validate their idea.

By the end of the workshop, you should have a clearer understanding of where you can find some preliminary online information to better understand how your new product or service fits into the existing marketplace, a hypothesis statement defining your solution to your customer’s problem, and a plan for how to get started finding people to interview and what to ask them in order to get the information you need to more successfully launch or grow your business.


Thursday, March 18 | 4:00 p.m.

This one-hour virtual workshop will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and activity.


  1. Learn online searching tips to help you find valuable information on your industry, competitors and customers
  2. Develop a description of your target market and the problem you are solving for them
  3. Learn the dos and don’ts of customer validation to help you gather the right kind of unbiased information that you need
  4. Create interview questions that will help you better understand your customer’s problem that you are seeking to solve
  5. Establish a personalized plan for customer validation that is connected to your idea


  • Business owners who are planning to add a new service or product
  • Start-ups still figuring out their target market
  • Inventors with a great idea who want to start a new business
  • Entrepreneurs looking to gather more information about their target market


Kelly Berry is the owner of ResourceAbility, LLC and Learn Start Grow LLC. She has been working with start-ups and small business owners since 2005, offering market research, business planning and strategic planning services. She is a trained and licensed CEO Peer Group facilitator, running two groups in Western Wisconsin. She is also a certified Market Research Specialist and a Strategic Research Team Leader for the National Center for Economic Gardening and the Wisconsin Center for Business Intelligence. She taught a class called “Developing New Products and Services” for the UW MBA Consortium for 7 years and has taught several different classes in the College of Business at UWEC. Kelly was the Western Wisconsin Businesswoman of the Year in 2018, and the Outstanding MBA Faculty Member in 2014. Her husband is on his second entrepreneurial venture, and Kelly is on her third (including one miserable failure).  Kelly currently serves on three non-profit boards and that’s as bureaucratic as she wants to be. She could never work for a big company again and is passionate about helping small businesses grow through research, workshops and peer groups. When she’s not working, she is walking her dog, playing tennis or curling. And in lieu of vacationing this COVID year, she completed a series of five courses to receive her certification in Futures Thinking.

If the cost of this workshop is a barrier for you, we invite you to reach out to for options to attend.


  • General Admission

    This ticket includes one virtual admission to How to Validate Your Ideas through Market Research

    Tax: +$1.10 Sales Tax+$0.53 service fee



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