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Customer Development
Alex Gault
Small World Ventures
alex@smallworldventures.com
March 29, 2022
Customer Development > Product Development
Prioritize customer development
over product development
According Steve Blank, founder of the “lean
startup” movement:
More than 90% of the startups in Silicon Valley
fail not because they don’t have sound
technology but because they don’t have enough
interested customers.
Customer Development Process
Customer Discovery
Business Model Canvas
Customer Segments: Who are your customers?
Value Propositions: What’s compelling about
your proposition?
Channels: How is your proposition to be
promoted, sold and delivered?
Customer Relationships: How do you plan to
interact with customer through their ‘journey’?
Revenue Streams: How will your company earn
revenue from the value proposition?
Key Activities: What uniquely strategic things will
your company do to deliver its proposition?
Key Resources: What unique strategic assets
must your company have to compete?
Key Partnerships: What might your company
not do so it can focus on its Key Activities?
Cost Structure: What are your company’s major
cost drivers?
20 Minute Business Plan: Business Model Canvas Made Easy
https://www.alexandercowan.com/business-model-canvas-templates/#Step_4_of_10_Customer_Relationships
Be customer-focused
Test Your Problem Hypotheses
Define Customer Problems & Needs
❑ Focus on understanding your customers, their problems, their
preferences and their buying behavior
❑ Set actionable metrics which will provide insights into your
target customers’ needs and purchasing behavior
Find quality interviewees
Criteria for vetting potential prospects
❑ They have a problem
❑ They understand that they have a problem
❑ They are actively searching for a solution
❑ They have or can acquire a suitable budget for your product
Online Customer Discovery Tools
The Customer Discovery process isn’t just a one time process.
Continuously question your assumptions,
even if you already have an operating business making profit.
Virtual Interviews:
Connecting with people via
webcam provides you with deeper
insights and feedback
❑ Zoom
❑ Google Meet
❑ Microsoft Teams
❑ FaceTime
Surveys:
Organized, data-driven, low cost,
easy to distribute
❑ Google Forms
❑ SurveyMonkey
❑ Typeform
❑ Formstack
Analytics:
User Testing
A platform with a panel of over a
million testers that will provide
you with invaluable feedback on
your product
Mixpanel
A self-serve product analytics
platform that enables the
conversion, engagement and
retention of users
Product-Market Fit
Minimal Viable Product
Customer Validation of MVP
Delay Marketing & Sales (costs)
❑ Focus first on building a customer development
team, followed by a product development team.
❑ Preserve your cash by not hiring anyone in sales and
marketing until you’ve formalized a product/market
fit, and a repeatable and scalable sales model.
Steve Blank
❑ The Four Steps to the Epiphany
❑ The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
❑ Customer Discover Checklist
❑ The Tactics of Conducting Customer Discovery
Eric Ries
❑ http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/
❑ The Lean Startup
Alex Cowan
❑ The Customer Discovery Handbook
Brant Cooper
❑ What is Customer Development?
❑ Startup Bluebook: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development
Thought Leaders & Resources

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Customer Development - Founder Institute

  • 1. Customer Development Alex Gault Small World Ventures alex@smallworldventures.com March 29, 2022
  • 2. Customer Development > Product Development Prioritize customer development over product development According Steve Blank, founder of the “lean startup” movement: More than 90% of the startups in Silicon Valley fail not because they don’t have sound technology but because they don’t have enough interested customers.
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  • 6. Business Model Canvas Customer Segments: Who are your customers? Value Propositions: What’s compelling about your proposition? Channels: How is your proposition to be promoted, sold and delivered? Customer Relationships: How do you plan to interact with customer through their ‘journey’? Revenue Streams: How will your company earn revenue from the value proposition? Key Activities: What uniquely strategic things will your company do to deliver its proposition? Key Resources: What unique strategic assets must your company have to compete? Key Partnerships: What might your company not do so it can focus on its Key Activities? Cost Structure: What are your company’s major cost drivers? 20 Minute Business Plan: Business Model Canvas Made Easy https://www.alexandercowan.com/business-model-canvas-templates/#Step_4_of_10_Customer_Relationships Be customer-focused
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  • 8. Test Your Problem Hypotheses Define Customer Problems & Needs ❑ Focus on understanding your customers, their problems, their preferences and their buying behavior ❑ Set actionable metrics which will provide insights into your target customers’ needs and purchasing behavior Find quality interviewees Criteria for vetting potential prospects ❑ They have a problem ❑ They understand that they have a problem ❑ They are actively searching for a solution ❑ They have or can acquire a suitable budget for your product
  • 9. Online Customer Discovery Tools The Customer Discovery process isn’t just a one time process. Continuously question your assumptions, even if you already have an operating business making profit. Virtual Interviews: Connecting with people via webcam provides you with deeper insights and feedback ❑ Zoom ❑ Google Meet ❑ Microsoft Teams ❑ FaceTime Surveys: Organized, data-driven, low cost, easy to distribute ❑ Google Forms ❑ SurveyMonkey ❑ Typeform ❑ Formstack Analytics: User Testing A platform with a panel of over a million testers that will provide you with invaluable feedback on your product Mixpanel A self-serve product analytics platform that enables the conversion, engagement and retention of users
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  • 14. Delay Marketing & Sales (costs) ❑ Focus first on building a customer development team, followed by a product development team. ❑ Preserve your cash by not hiring anyone in sales and marketing until you’ve formalized a product/market fit, and a repeatable and scalable sales model.
  • 15. Steve Blank ❑ The Four Steps to the Epiphany ❑ The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company ❑ Customer Discover Checklist ❑ The Tactics of Conducting Customer Discovery Eric Ries ❑ http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/ ❑ The Lean Startup Alex Cowan ❑ The Customer Discovery Handbook Brant Cooper ❑ What is Customer Development? ❑ Startup Bluebook: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development Thought Leaders & Resources