What is Customer Development? (For more on Customer Discovery, take a look at my book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development.)
Customer Development is a four-step framework developed by serial entrepreneur and business school Professor Steve Blank for discovering and validating the right market for your idea, building the right product features that solve customers’ needs, testing the correct model and tactics for acquiring and converting customers, and deploying the right organization and resources to scale the business. At a high level, Customer Development is about questioning your core business assumptions.
In other words, Customer Development teaches that rather than assume your beliefs about your business to be true, you should apply an engineering, or scientific method, to what is really not a scientific endeavor (building a business), in order to validate the ideas. The process resembles the scientific method: Where to Start? You are pre Product-Market Fit if you: Customer Development Labs. Interviewing Customers is a Special Kind of Torture Talk to a stranger.
Fun.That stranger is immensely busy…and hates being sold things. Getting better.That stranger will likely destroy your vision for a company. Ready to get started?! When I started interviewing customers, the only thing I cared less about than talking about other people’s problems, was asking about them. “Would you use a product that does _____________?” And “How much would you pay for it?”
Turns out, those aren’t the most important questions…they’re the most misleading. Let’s Fix That Despite my early misgivings, learning to interview customers has become one of my most indispensable skills. How to Structure (and get the most out of) Customer Development Interviews « Building Customer Driven SaaS Products. Running a startup puts a ton of responsibilities on your plate.
From marketing to sales, ghetto-HR to accounting, development to project management, you’re wearing a million hats. We all know that Lean Startups methodology and customer development are important, but *actually practicing* it can be hard (if you’re not familiar run to CustDev.com *right now* and get Brant and Patrick‘s book The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development ASAP!).
As you commit yourself to “getting outside the building” to talk to your customers and truly quest for Product-Market Fit, it’s essential you make the most of those discussions. One of the hardest things for newcomers to customer development is structuring their questions for customer development, so I’d like share how I structure interviews to maximize their effectiveness.
I’m writing a book on Building Customer Driven Products. You can sign up for updates, early access to chapters and help shape the topics I cover by signing up here. Like this: Top 11 tips for LA startups according to Techstars' David Cohen. Monday night at Cross Campus, Techstars CEO, founder and managing partner David Cohen stopped by to promote the launch of its new co-venture, Disney Accelerator.
Since Techstars is lending its network and accelerator structure to Disney for this 3-month program aimed at tech-enabled media and entertainment companies, Cohen primed the LA community with a long list of startup tips for those companies that may be applying (and for those that aren't). Here are 11 of Cohen's top tips of the night: 1. What are the two biggest startup killers? “We see a lot of problems because people just don’t talk to each other as co-founders or to their investors about what their goals are. "Tunnel vision or belief without data can also be a huge killer. 2. So when you think about when’s the right time, when you see yourself kinda learning on the job constantly, it might make more sense to focus on the product, and the passion, and bring in someone to scale.” 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
Prioritizing Customer Segments with the SPA Treatment. We all know, “everyone” isn’t a customer segment. But what do you we do when we’ve got a bunch of potential customer segments? It’s an issue we all face at one point or another, in fact, as we previously noted, Bounce has a pile of potential customers: For Real Estate agents, sales people, event planners, founders, general contractors, etc…We could offer appointment reminders plus Salesforce integration!
For florists, caterers, utility installers/repairers, plumbers, electricians, etc…We could provide on-time metrics for each employee! For long distance commuters, van pools, people who commute over a bridge, etc…We could make an alarm that lets you sleep in or wakes you up early based on how bad traffic is! For single people who are dating, busy parents, the “chronically late”….We could gamify punctuality so they’re late less often! If we target all of these customers, not only will it take forever to build this product, it’ll be a complete mess. Gut Check Prioritization It’s fast.