Customer Discovery may be the most important thing any startup, from a pizzeria to the next Facebook, can do to ensure success.
How do you start a business? The classic way is to come up with an idea, write a business plan, invest money and time… and…hope it works. And over 90% of the time it doesn’t. Yet this continues to be the methodology that people follow to start businesses whether they’re the next wanna-be high flying tech company or the restaurant on the corner. But a 90% failure rate is a real problem, one that most of us cannot afford, psychologically or financially. There simply has to be a better way.
Serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank and his associates asked themselves that very question. Being engineers, they broke the problem down and realized something simple, yet very important: Business ideas are just that, unproven theories about what might work. Will a pizzeria work on that corner? Do enough people with money really need my new software app? Instead of creating an idea and pursing it, Blank thought you should ask a question and then go look for answers. He theorized that startups are not businesses, they are a search for a scalable, profitable business model. Only when you find that model do you start spending time and money making it a business.
So how do you do that? We wrote The Customer Discovery Matrix to provide a simplified process for taking your idea, turning it into a series of questions and getting out and asking potential customers what they think. No selling. A lot of listening. And taking what you learn and refining your idea- or abandoning it before you set yourself up for failure.
It’s a simple concept. Just talk to 150 people, without selling, and listen to what they tell you. Show them a picture of your app idea. Ask them what kind of pizza they like, how much it’s worth to them and how far they’ll go to get it. They’ll tell you. Maybe they don’t need another pizza joint but you can’t get a decent cup of coffee around here…
The book is brief, the process is simple, the results are powerful. But you have to do the work. And we’ve done everything we can to make that easier. Start something. Ask questions, get it right and build it or…go on to another idea. We’re here to help.
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