In other words, start-ups are more likely to fail due to market risk, not technology. Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of building the product they want, rather than the product their customers want. For many start-ups, they won’t realize they have the wrong product or are targeting the wrong market until sales fail to come in. Thankfully, this mistake is easy to avoid through a process called Customer Discovery.
In order to conceive a product that customers find useful, (ideally, a must-have, can’t-live-without product), entrepreneurs must learn what customers need and how badly they need it. It is not simply a matter of providing customers with a solution to a problem, but providing them with a solution to a problem they struggle with and value solving.
Properly executing a successful Customer Discovery strategy can be challenging and intimidating to many entrepreneurs. From determining what questions to ask, to how to structure customer interviews, to using the gathered information in a useful way to fill in gaps in your business model, Customer Discovery is a complex process. However, it’s one of the most important aspects of your business.
Not sure where to start? You’re already in the right place. In the following Customer Discovery 101 blog series, we’ll be discussing key insights from top influencers and thought leaders in the realm of customer discovery, adding an Uncommon twist, and providing entrepreneurs with a step-by-step guide to executing a successful Customer Discovery strategy.
Here is a list of the articles we’ll be sharing over the coming weeks:
Unsurprisingly, the first step to really getting to know what your customers want is to ask them directly. Customer Discovery should focus on engaging customers in conversations to identify how big/painful their problem is, if they would pay to solve it, and how much they (or someone else) would pay.
Below are a few of the reasons entrepreneurs typically give for ignoring Customer Discovery – and our responses.
The majority of investors would choose to invest in a company that faces technology challenges but has a clear market opportunity, rather than a company that faces market challenges but has built a product. Understanding your customers will prevent you from over promising and failing to deliver, mitigating risk for you, your business, and your investors.
Customer Discovery should come after you have done some initial market research. Once you have a basic understanding of the current state of the industry, market potential, competition and target markets, you can begin. Some refer to this process as product management, but it is in essence the very basics of marketing. Once you have established a firm knowledge base, Customer Discovery will provide additional insight into the opportunity, validating your business assumptions and helping answer any unknowns in the business model.
This will establish and articulate the problems customers are facing, independent of your proposed solution. There is a business opportunity if customers suffer from a must-solve problem, even if your solution isn’t quite right. However, if you have an interesting solution that doesn’t solve a real problem, your chances of failure are much higher. You can approach Customer Discovery as an iterative process, whereby you can test your product concept as it evolves from minimal viable product (MVP) to later complete solutions. This will identify which product requirements your customers need to have in order to adopt the solution, and which features are nice-to-have that can be developed later.
Never! While the amount of time and money you invest in Customer Discovery will ebb and flow with your development cycle, it will never end. Customer Discovery continues even after a product launches, as you will continuously modify and build new versions of your product to ensure it always meets your customer’s needs. A strong Customer Discovery strategy will ensure the long-term success of your business, while saving you time and resources.
Contact Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation