Most startups fail not because of product development, but rather due to the lack of customers. Think about it. It doesn’t matter how cool or technology driven your product is, if it can’t solve a problem, if it does not fill a need, then it has failed miserably.
Before you get started in setting up a business plan or hiring your CTO to create a product, the first thing a startup founder should do is to get out of the building and connect with their customers. Immerse yourself in the market you’re trying to tap into – find out what they need, find out how your startup’s product can really solve a problem.
To succeed, founders need to verify that their cool and awesome idea is correct. And quite frankly, it’s much easier to correct the direction of the company at the beginning, rather than during the later stages, when you’re about to launch.
In essence, this is the first of customer development. Just get out of the building and verify all your guesses and facts by directly asking the customers. Remember that facts exist outside the building, and no matter how your ideas and metrics may dictate otherwise, firsthand customer knowledge is essential.
In the next couple of blog posts, we’ll discuss more on Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation and eventually Customer Building.
If you have any experiences or stories to share, we’d love to hear about it. Please post your comments below.