I am in the early stages of a new start-up idea so I am poking my head up to look around for the latest best practices before getting underway. I was referred by some friends to Steve Blank’s idea he calls Customer Development. It’s not brand new, but it is certainly far from mainstream yet.
Not only do I feel that Steve’s framework is right for my start-up, but I was also compelled to write a blog post. During my research I found a post so well written that I knew it was better to link out rather than write a new one myself. Therefore, I highly recommend Jussi Laakkonen‘s post called “Customer Development or why 9/10 startups fail“
Please note: just talking to your customers (focus groups) about their needs is NOT customer development. You need to actually try selling to them and see what happens. Steve suggests that selling should be brought as far forward as possible in the process.
I have begun forming my customer hypotheses.
- I will test my hypotheses by talking to a variety of customers (not too many)
- Building simple iterations and seeing if early adopters will use/buy
- updating my hypotheses and iterations based on what is learned from early adoption
- Developing a larger marketing push once adoption/return is clearly good enough.