Contributing to Startup America in the Age of the Customer

Startup America announced earlier today that QuestionPro and IdeaScale are now two of 25 partners participating in the Startup America Partnership. The Startup America Partnership is “an independent alliance of entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, joining together to fuel innovative, high-growth U.S. startups.” Startup America was started by a call from President Obama to improve the prevalence and success of young businesses across the country.

It’s a great program with great goals. According to, the Obama administration is focusing on five areas in specific, which include “unlocking access to capital, connecting mentors, reducing barriers, accelerating innovation, and unleashing market opportunities.”

That’s why QuestionPro and IdeaScale are offering free one-year corporate licenses to participating Startup America firms. Young businesses simply need to go to in order to become verified and benefit from this and many other resources now available to blossoming entrepreneurs.

What’s great about the QuestionPro/IdeaScale offering, however, is that the service of crowdsourcing information, of collecting impactful market research has never been more necessary. Particularly for young companies.

A Betasphere white paper on the subject of new product launches says that feedback is critical to later business success: “feedback from potential customers in your target market is the number one factor leading to a successful product launch.”

Josh Bernoff agrees with this trend and tells businesses that we are now in the “Age of the Customer.” This means that all successful businesses (particularly ones that are just starting out) need to be listening to and participating in a meaningful conversation with their customers. Bernoff tells us that it’s not enough to be customer-centric, we’ve got to become customer-obsessed. How do we do that?

“A customer-obsessed company focuses its strategy, its energy, and its budget on processes that enhance knowledge of an engagement with customers, and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.”

QuestionPro and IdeaScale solutions allow companies to do just that. They give them multichannel access to their customers, end users, and fans so that they can build a business successfully and wisely.

What do you think about the Startup America Partnership? What are some other key areas that entrepreneurs should focus on?

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