Startup Infrastructure

Does Your Start-Up Idea Really Solve A Problem…? – The Customer Personas

Recently I was speaking to a student about several start-up ideas he had in mind, as he was explaining every idea to me one by one, as much as he was extremely excited about the future potential of his ideas, I asked him… these all sound great, but are you sure your ideas are really solving a problem? And that’s what many entrepreneurs with great ideas fail to really think about when they dive head first into their first ever start-up – identifying the problem you’re solving!

To help you get started, in the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing tips that can help you identify if there is a problem and if your start-up idea really solves that problem. The first week we will be looking at the customer personas.

Who is your customer?

marketing persona

This stage of the problem identification phase is without a doubt one of my favorites; creating user persona’s! How does your typical customer look like? What needs of theirs are you addressing? How can you reach them and what motivates them to purchase your product or service?
I usually like to start with creating 3 user persona’s (and ideally 3 very different user persona’s!),:

A typical persona should cover:

  • Name of the persona


  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary / household income
  • Location
  • Education Level
  • Family

What they do

  • Job title
  • Company details (size, location, industry and etc)
  • Their position in the company

Goals and challenges

  • What goals do they have?
  • What do they find challenging?

Common objections during sales process

  • What are they likely to not like about your product/service?
  • What stops them from buying or trying something new?

Where they find information and interests

  • Hobbies, social groups, online groups and club memberships
  • Media interaction (where do they get their news?, What sources do they trust? What do they like reading or watching?)
  • Websites they visit regularly?

I’m not suggesting you to imagine these potential customers – in fact the point of the exercise should be the opposite, you need your persona’s details to be as accurate as possible. Using official census data, online data / analytics (Alexa, Adwords Tool, Hitwise and etc), Friends and Family, social media research by surveying your connections, followers and connections, going out to find the real persona and surveying them will help you have persona’s that are real and it will give you a much more realistic picture of who the customer is, what the problem is and if your product / service will solve that problem.

Elisa Chan