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Customer Development for
Entrepreneurs: What to Do
When You’re Out of the
Building

Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
About Me
Author, Customer Development for Entrepreneurs

Casual Corp
www.twitter.com/mfishbein
www.mfishbein.com
My Background
Growing up
How Lean and customer development has
helped me
Why I created this
Key Topics
How to find customers and ask for interviews
How to get startup ideas
How to test startup ideas
Best and worst ...
Key Topics
MVP, concierge and manual first approaches
Common customer development mistakes
Gaining insights to build aweso...
What is Customer
Development?
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
What is Customer Development?
The practice of gaining customer insights
through interviews and structured experiments
to g...
How to Get Startup Ideas
Learn about:
Customer pain points
Value propositions that resonate
How to Test Startup Ideas
Is this something anyone wants?
If yes
confidence and conviction
If no
what do they want?
or, qu...
How to Build Awesome Products
Gather customer insights to inform product
decisions
Relentlessly serve customers
What it is Not
A silver bullet
Guarantor of success
Cheap or small
Easy
Other Benefits of Customer Dev
Customer acquisition
Pricing
Copywriting
Content marketing
Competitor research
Principles of
Customer
Development
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Principles of Customer Development
Abstract by a level
Don’t pitch at first
Try to prove yourself wrong
Talk less, listen ...
Abstract by a Level
Don’t make any assumptions
Get them to tell you
Gain customer insights
Don’t Pitch (at first)
Gain customer insights
Form partnerships
Learn what they do want
Pitch when ready
Prove Yourself Wrong
Being wrong sucks.
But you know what sucks more?
Spending a bunch of time and money on
something no o...
Less Talking More Listening
To learn, you must listen
Guide the conversation...then shut up
Open Ended Questions
Get customers talking
Learn what they do want
Until you want to learn specific things
(like will they...
Get Real Validation
Words are not currency
Actions speak louder than words
How to Gather Insights
One on on and in person is best
Supplements:
Surveys
Focus groups
Research
Secondary interviews
Four Phase
Process
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
The Four Phases
Problem Discovery
Product Discovery
Product Validation
Scale
1. Problem Discovery: Goals
Identify a problem worth solving
Find one or validate one
Abstract by a level
1. Problem Discovery: Questions
What’s the hardest part about being a [demographic you’re serving]?
What tasks take the mo...
Other Problem Discovery Tactics
Listen for complaints
Be observant of your day
Look for hacked together solutions
Paid ser...
2. Product Discovery: Goals
Shape and optimize a solution to previously
validated problem
Optimize your idea
2. Product Discovery: Questions
Does the product solve your problem?
Would you ever use the product? Why or why not?
What'...
3. Product Validation: Goals
Validate that customers view your product as a
viable solution to their problem
3. Product Validation: Q’s & Tactics
Pre-sales
“Would you be willing to start right away?”

MVP
“I’ll do that for you…”
Pre-selling
The one dollar test
Cold call / vapor sale
Learn more
Landing page
What the heck is an MVP anyways?
Minimum possible features that allow the product to be
deployed and effectively solve the...
Examples
Marketplaces
Yipit
Data Analysis
Service Automation
4. Scale: Goals
Optimize your product
Turn “users” into “evangelists”
4. Scale: Questions
What motivates you to continue using the product?
What do you like most about the product?
What do you...
How to Get Startup
Ideas By Talking to
People
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Startup Ideas
Customer
Miniscule at first
Problem
Value
Product
Why Start with Customer?
Time finding customers
Gain deeper insights
Enjoyment
How to Pick A Customer Segment
Relationships or access
Passion
Propensity to buy
Market size
Relationships / Access
Development
Acquisition
Connecting customer development and
sales/marketing
Passion
A lot of time together

Enjoyment ---> effectiveness
Propensity to Buy
Budgets
Tech savvy
Incentive
Market Size
Goals
Niche product
How many potential customers?
Product Discovery
Proven models
Creative thinking
Automation
Problem Discovery Questions
What are the top 3 challenges you face in your job?
What are some unmet needs you have?
What’s...
Other Tactics for Generating Ideas
Scratch your own itch
Do what you know is working
Solve for basic needs
Listen and be o...
Scale
Do other people want this too?
Risk
Assumptions
Conclusion
“Why do so many founders build things no one wants? Because
they begin by trying to think of startup ideas.” - ...
How to Test Startup
Ideas Before
Building a Product
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
First Steps
Customer hypothesis
Validate problem
Validate product
Customer Hypothesis
Who would LOVE this product?
Specific, then iterate
Name one person
Validate Problem
Talk to people
Abstract by a level
What are the top 3 challenges you face in your job?
What’s the hardest...
Validate Solution
What do you think of this idea?
Does the product solve your problem?
What would make it better?
What do ...
Pre-sales
Actions speak louder than words

You will learn a lot
But...
“I’m already using x…”
“It’s not something I spend a lot of time on”
Or...
Validation!
Confidence and conviction
Partners and hires
Investors
Actual $$
How to Find
Customers to
Interview
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Why
You might have the best new product idea in the world,
but until you find customers, it’s not actually a
business.
If ...
Who
Who is most strongly affected by the problem you’re solving?
Who would absolutely LOVE this product/service?
Create a ...
How
Go where they go, online and offline
Most not scalable, sustainable, profitable
Test your riskiest assumption first
LinkedIn Groups
Roles, industries, interests, etc.
People you know
“Hi [their name],
Hope all is well! I'm looking for feedback on a potential product to help with [problem ...
Referrals
Your network
People you’ve interviewed
“Do you know anyone else who might have this problem that you would feel
...
Cold Outreach
Get specific
Find their contact information
“Hi [their name],
I’m Mike [link to page with my bio]. I'm looki...
Meetup.com

Go to events
Reach out to organizers
Post on message board
Conferences and Events
Especially if enterprise
Craigslist
Respond to posts
Create posts
Twitter
Hashtags, phrases
Facebook
Search
Groups

Ads
Blog
Create relevant and valuable content
Can be sustainable customer acquisition
Can be your MVP
Offline Paper Handouts
Coffee shops, gyms, streets, etc
Kickstarter
Large user base
Validation and $
Hit the streets
Neighborhoods
Stores
Events
Quora
Reviews

Relevant questions
How to Ask for
Interviews
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Frame the Conversation
Partners, not customers
Nothing to sell
Quick
Define area or problem
Ask for advice
You won’t get a...
Script 1
“Hi [their name],
I'm looking for feedback on a potential product to help with [problem or process]. Given your
e...
Script 2
“Hi [their name],
My name is [your name]. We’re doing research on a product to help people with [problem you’re
s...
What to Do Before,
During and After
Interviews
Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Before
Not a sale
Keep it casual
Qualify your customer
Qualify Your Customer
“Tell me about yourself.”
“Tell me about your role.”
“Who handles x?”
“How much time do you spend on...
During
Be observant
Take notes?
Record video or audio?
After
Clarify your takeaways
Ask if you can follow up
Ask for referrals
Thanks! :)
Takeaways
“So based on the conversation, it sounds like x is really
hard for you, but y is not”
“It sounds like x is very ...
Follow Up
“Can I keep you in the loop on how the product develops?”
“Can I follow up if I have more questions?”
“Would you...
Referrals
Get more interviews
Small form of validation
“Do you know anyone else who might have this problem that you would...
Case Studies

Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Intro
SinglePlatform
AirBnB
Yipit
Failures?
Failures?
Avoiding wasted time and money on something
no one wants is a success.
SinglePlatform
Problem Discovery
Access to customers
Problem first

Product Validation
Customers inform product decisions
...
AirBnB
Product Validation
Finding customers

Scale / Concierge MVP
Yipit
Concierge MVP
Conclusion

Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
Key Takeaways
Outcomes of customer development
Best questions
Generating startup ideas
Testing startup ideas
How to find c...
Adios!
Questions?
To learn more
Udemy (http://bit.ly/1bQW22W)
Amazon (http://amzn.to/1cusVFt)
www.mfishbein.com

More Ques...
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Customer development for entrepreneurs: a tactical guide -- from my Skillshare class

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Transcript of "Customer development for entrepreneurs: a tactical guide -- from my Skillshare class"

  1. 1. Customer Development for Entrepreneurs: What to Do When You’re Out of the Building Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  2. 2. About Me Author, Customer Development for Entrepreneurs Casual Corp www.twitter.com/mfishbein www.mfishbein.com
  3. 3. My Background Growing up How Lean and customer development has helped me Why I created this
  4. 4. Key Topics How to find customers and ask for interviews How to get startup ideas How to test startup ideas Best and worst questions to ask
  5. 5. Key Topics MVP, concierge and manual first approaches Common customer development mistakes Gaining insights to build awesome products Case studies
  6. 6. What is Customer Development? Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  7. 7. What is Customer Development? The practice of gaining customer insights through interviews and structured experiments to generate, test, and optimize startup ideas Avoid spending time and money on stuff people don’t want Build products that people love
  8. 8. How to Get Startup Ideas Learn about: Customer pain points Value propositions that resonate
  9. 9. How to Test Startup Ideas Is this something anyone wants? If yes confidence and conviction If no what do they want? or, quickly move on
  10. 10. How to Build Awesome Products Gather customer insights to inform product decisions Relentlessly serve customers
  11. 11. What it is Not A silver bullet Guarantor of success Cheap or small Easy
  12. 12. Other Benefits of Customer Dev Customer acquisition Pricing Copywriting Content marketing Competitor research
  13. 13. Principles of Customer Development Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  14. 14. Principles of Customer Development Abstract by a level Don’t pitch at first Try to prove yourself wrong Talk less, listen more Ask open-ended questions Get real validation One on one and in person is best
  15. 15. Abstract by a Level Don’t make any assumptions Get them to tell you Gain customer insights
  16. 16. Don’t Pitch (at first) Gain customer insights Form partnerships Learn what they do want Pitch when ready
  17. 17. Prove Yourself Wrong Being wrong sucks. But you know what sucks more? Spending a bunch of time and money on something no one wants.
  18. 18. Less Talking More Listening To learn, you must listen Guide the conversation...then shut up
  19. 19. Open Ended Questions Get customers talking Learn what they do want Until you want to learn specific things (like will they buy)
  20. 20. Get Real Validation Words are not currency Actions speak louder than words
  21. 21. How to Gather Insights One on on and in person is best Supplements: Surveys Focus groups Research Secondary interviews
  22. 22. Four Phase Process Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  23. 23. The Four Phases Problem Discovery Product Discovery Product Validation Scale
  24. 24. 1. Problem Discovery: Goals Identify a problem worth solving Find one or validate one Abstract by a level
  25. 25. 1. Problem Discovery: Questions What’s the hardest part about being a [demographic you’re serving]? What tasks take the most time during your day? What are some unmet needs you have? What product or service do you wish you had that doesn’t exist yet? What could be done to improve your experience as a [demographic you’re serving]? Do you find it hard to… Tell me about the last time you...
  26. 26. Other Problem Discovery Tactics Listen for complaints Be observant of your day Look for hacked together solutions Paid services
  27. 27. 2. Product Discovery: Goals Shape and optimize a solution to previously validated problem Optimize your idea
  28. 28. 2. Product Discovery: Questions Does the product solve your problem? Would you ever use the product? Why or why not? What's appealing to you about the product? What deters you from the product? What would make the experience better? What do you dislike? If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have a solution to this problem, what would it look like?
  29. 29. 3. Product Validation: Goals Validate that customers view your product as a viable solution to their problem
  30. 30. 3. Product Validation: Q’s & Tactics Pre-sales “Would you be willing to start right away?” MVP “I’ll do that for you…”
  31. 31. Pre-selling The one dollar test Cold call / vapor sale Learn more Landing page
  32. 32. What the heck is an MVP anyways? Minimum possible features that allow the product to be deployed and effectively solve the customer’s pain point Further validation and deeper customer insight Concierge MVP Test your riskiest assumptions first
  33. 33. Examples Marketplaces Yipit Data Analysis Service Automation
  34. 34. 4. Scale: Goals Optimize your product Turn “users” into “evangelists”
  35. 35. 4. Scale: Questions What motivates you to continue using the product? What do you like most about the product? What do you dislike most about the product? How could your experience be improved? What’s the hardest part about using the product? What feature(s) do you wish the product had? What features do you wish were removed from the product? What would make you motivated to recommend the product to a friend or colleague?
  36. 36. How to Get Startup Ideas By Talking to People Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  37. 37. Startup Ideas Customer Miniscule at first Problem Value Product
  38. 38. Why Start with Customer? Time finding customers Gain deeper insights Enjoyment
  39. 39. How to Pick A Customer Segment Relationships or access Passion Propensity to buy Market size
  40. 40. Relationships / Access Development Acquisition Connecting customer development and sales/marketing
  41. 41. Passion A lot of time together Enjoyment ---> effectiveness
  42. 42. Propensity to Buy Budgets Tech savvy Incentive
  43. 43. Market Size Goals Niche product How many potential customers?
  44. 44. Product Discovery Proven models Creative thinking Automation
  45. 45. Problem Discovery Questions What are the top 3 challenges you face in your job? What are some unmet needs you have? What’s the hardest part about being a [demographic]? What’s the hardest part about doing [relevant activity]? What tasks take the most time during your day? What product or service do you wish you had that doesn’t exist yet? What could be done to improve your experience as a [demographic]?
  46. 46. Other Tactics for Generating Ideas Scratch your own itch Do what you know is working Solve for basic needs Listen and be observant
  47. 47. Scale Do other people want this too? Risk Assumptions
  48. 48. Conclusion “Why do so many founders build things no one wants? Because they begin by trying to think of startup ideas.” - Paul Graham “By far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.” - Paul Graham
  49. 49. How to Test Startup Ideas Before Building a Product Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  50. 50. First Steps Customer hypothesis Validate problem Validate product
  51. 51. Customer Hypothesis Who would LOVE this product? Specific, then iterate Name one person
  52. 52. Validate Problem Talk to people Abstract by a level What are the top 3 challenges you face in your job? What’s the hardest part about being a [demographic]? What’s the hardest part about doing [relevant activity]? What tasks take the most time during your day? Tell me about the last time you….
  53. 53. Validate Solution What do you think of this idea? Does the product solve your problem? What would make it better? What do you like about this product or solution? What do you dislike? What would prevent you from using this product? Would you ever use the product? Why or why not?
  54. 54. Pre-sales Actions speak louder than words You will learn a lot
  55. 55. But... “I’m already using x…” “It’s not something I spend a lot of time on” Or...
  56. 56. Validation! Confidence and conviction Partners and hires Investors Actual $$
  57. 57. How to Find Customers to Interview Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  58. 58. Why You might have the best new product idea in the world, but until you find customers, it’s not actually a business. If you can’t find customers before you have a product, what will you do when you have a product?
  59. 59. Who Who is most strongly affected by the problem you’re solving? Who would absolutely LOVE this product/service? Create a profile Name someone specifically
  60. 60. How Go where they go, online and offline Most not scalable, sustainable, profitable Test your riskiest assumption first
  61. 61. LinkedIn Groups Roles, industries, interests, etc.
  62. 62. People you know “Hi [their name], Hope all is well! I'm looking for feedback on a potential product to help with [problem or process]. Given your experience, it would be great to get your feedback. I don't have a product to sell (yet)...I’m just trying to determine if it's a problem worth solving in the first place. Could I buy you a coffee next week to ask you a few questions and get your feedback? Thanks, [your name]”
  63. 63. Referrals Your network People you’ve interviewed “Do you know anyone else who might have this problem that you would feel comfortable introducing me to so I could conduct a similar interview?” Find people on Facebook or Linkedin and asked shared connections
  64. 64. Cold Outreach Get specific Find their contact information “Hi [their name], I’m Mike [link to page with my bio]. I'm looking for feedback on a potential product to help with [problem or process]. I came across your LinkedIn profile and it looks like you have a lot of experience with [problem or process], so I was hoping to get your feedback. I don't have a product to sell (yet)...I’m just trying to determine if it's a problem worth solving in the first place. Could I ask you a few questions and get your feedback over a fifteen minute phone call? Thanks, [your name]”
  65. 65. Meetup.com Go to events Reach out to organizers Post on message board
  66. 66. Conferences and Events Especially if enterprise
  67. 67. Craigslist Respond to posts Create posts
  68. 68. Twitter Hashtags, phrases
  69. 69. Facebook Search Groups Ads
  70. 70. Blog Create relevant and valuable content Can be sustainable customer acquisition Can be your MVP
  71. 71. Offline Paper Handouts Coffee shops, gyms, streets, etc
  72. 72. Kickstarter Large user base Validation and $
  73. 73. Hit the streets Neighborhoods Stores Events
  74. 74. Quora Reviews Relevant questions
  75. 75. How to Ask for Interviews Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  76. 76. Frame the Conversation Partners, not customers Nothing to sell Quick Define area or problem Ask for advice You won’t get a 100% response rate
  77. 77. Script 1 “Hi [their name], I'm looking for feedback on a potential product to help with [problem or process]. Given your experience, it would be great to get your feedback. I don't have a product to sell (yet)...I’m just trying to determine if it's a problem worth solving in the first place. Could I ask you a few questions over a 15 minute call? Thanks, [your name]”
  78. 78. Script 2 “Hi [their name], My name is [your name]. We’re doing research on a product to help people with [problem you’re solving or value you’re delivering]. We're currently in the development phase and we’re hoping you might provide some feedback so we can build the best product possible and potentially help you. I don’t have a product to sell you. I would just like to get your thoughts. Are you available to talk on [date]? Thanks in advance, [your name]?”
  79. 79. What to Do Before, During and After Interviews Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  80. 80. Before Not a sale Keep it casual Qualify your customer
  81. 81. Qualify Your Customer “Tell me about yourself.” “Tell me about your role.” “Who handles x?” “How much time do you spend on x?” “Do you have kids?” “Do you do x?”
  82. 82. During Be observant Take notes? Record video or audio?
  83. 83. After Clarify your takeaways Ask if you can follow up Ask for referrals Thanks! :)
  84. 84. Takeaways “So based on the conversation, it sounds like x is really hard for you, but y is not” “It sounds like x is very important to you, while y is not.” Take notes if you didn’t during the interview
  85. 85. Follow Up “Can I keep you in the loop on how the product develops?” “Can I follow up if I have more questions?” “Would you like to know if/when the product goes live?” Get contact info
  86. 86. Referrals Get more interviews Small form of validation “Do you know anyone else who might have this problem that you would feel comfortable introducing me to so I could conduct a similar interview?” “Do you know anyone else who might benefit from this product/service? Would you feel comfortable introducing me so I can get feedback similar to our conversation?”
  87. 87. Case Studies Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  88. 88. Intro SinglePlatform AirBnB Yipit Failures?
  89. 89. Failures? Avoiding wasted time and money on something no one wants is a success.
  90. 90. SinglePlatform Problem Discovery Access to customers Problem first Product Validation Customers inform product decisions Pre-sales
  91. 91. AirBnB Product Validation Finding customers Scale / Concierge MVP
  92. 92. Yipit Concierge MVP
  93. 93. Conclusion Mike Fishbein, www.mfishbein.com
  94. 94. Key Takeaways Outcomes of customer development Best questions Generating startup ideas Testing startup ideas How to find customers and ask for interviews Product validation exercises
  95. 95. Adios! Questions? To learn more Udemy (http://bit.ly/1bQW22W) Amazon (http://amzn.to/1cusVFt) www.mfishbein.com More Questions? www.twitter.com/mfishbein Good luck validating!
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