Research and Customer Development – FI Second Week

I’ve learned a lot at the second week’s lecture and with doing the assignments.

The topic is on Research and Customer Development, which I think is the most important topic for entrepreneurship, as the #1 reason startups fail is they build a product that nobody wants. Good groundwork in this phase of the business can really make a difference.

To summarize the most important learning:

1. After you developed your idea, identify the customer’s job (the task you are helping him with), the pain he has with the task, and the positive outcomes he desired from this task.

2. After you identified task, pain and gains, you describe your product, and how your product relieve the pain, and increase their gain.

The above two steps can be completed with something called a value proposition canvas (can search for that on google)

These two steps are crucially important, because startups are based on assumptions, and validating those assumptions to bring to market a product that are truly wanted. But you cannot validate your assumptions when you don’t know what you are assuming.

And when you don’t know what you are assuming, most likely you are treating your assumptions as facts, leading your startup down the road of failure!

After doing the above important steps, its time to initially validate the assumptions. This should be happening before any products are being built, any codes being written. Everyone run out and do validations.

You do so with the following steps:

1. Write out list of questions to ask the customers, with the sole goal of understanding them, and the task you were going to help them out with. Do not describe your product (except at the very end), and do not sell your product. One easy to make mistake is ask them for feedback on your product, which completely defeats the purpose of this stage – understanding pains and gains.

2. Find at least 50 customers to interview (B2B) or 100 customers to interview (B2C). These are best if referred by friends, family, or associates, but they have to fit within your target market, so may not be possible sometime. If not referred, you have to cold approach them, however way you can.

Cofounders should be doing nothing except calling, approaching, and scheduling interviews, until at least 50 (b2b) or 100 (b2c) are achieved, perhaps more. Also treat the first 30 as trash. After the first 10, come back and revise the questions, and after 20 more, come back and revise the questions again.

3. Ask them the questions and listen. Don’t be afraid to go offscript. Understand them and their tasks in-depth. Ask them if they had a magic wand, what will they change about them going about their task. Don’t forget to ask them for referrals, might get you more interviews easier.

4. Gather all results and see if your assumptions are validated or not. If it seems validated, prototype (Minimum Viable Product) can be started and more validations coming up later..

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