Step 4: Sell Before You Build
The Third Place Blog: Step 4: Sell Before You Build
We mentioned an important idea before — “Sell, before you build.” By paying attention to what customers want and need now, we’re saving ourselves a lot of headaches later. As well as jobs for our employees. The question we keep asking ourselves: “How can we perfect our concept, so that everyone likes it?”
This has been fun to tackle, but there is no simple answer. Just because two people are the same gender or age doesn’t mean that they like the same things. Now imagine hundreds of them! So we are trying to find preference patterns from the people who we want The Third Place to be for, and we’re doing surveys to get individual opinions.
For instance, if we hadn’t done individual surveys, we would have never known that free delivery and “bring your own” weren’t enough food options. To solve this without adding a full-scale kitchen, we will partner with a local business to deliver cold cut sandwiches every morning. Another definite trend was about alcohol– people literally said “No alcohol = No success.” 86% of those surveyed felt that way! To account for this, we will have small bar with beer, wine and cocktails.
Image above is a great example of our vision for The Third Place interior with its circular fireplace, ceiling, TV, sofa, books, etc
Another aspect that would be difficult to change if we already had a location: the interior! We’re doing 3D modeling of our planned inventory and amenities. This gives us an idea of how much space our plans will take up, so we have a template to adapt to the brick-and-mortar locations we will visit with our agent. We’ll be able to judge quickly how a specific property would perform with our concept, and look for possible problems that could arise. This will also help us open faster after we sign a lease, we’ll know exactly how we want things set up. Another big reason for 3D modeling is for our video for the Kickstarter campaign.
Great books that we can recommend about this topic are:
- “If You Build It Will They Come: Three Steps to Test and Validate Any Market Opportunity” by Rob Adams
- “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries
At the end of the day, we’re always open to opinions and suggestions. The Third Place has a unique, but already proven concept that we’re excited to apply to Arlington, VA. We want to be the alternative to home and work for as many people as possible.