For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to focus heavily on customer interviews.
You’ve filled out your BMC and VPC, which are all assumptions about how your business is going to make money, capture customers, and deliver value.
You’ve created your list of interview questions.
You have some people in mind that you think would make good interview subjects.
Now it’s time to go (in)validate your assumptions!
Set a challenging, yet realistic, goal.
Can you interview 3 people this week? 5? 10? More? This is going to depend on your business idea, how easy it is to find and get in touch with customers and users, and your schedule.
The more customer feedback you receive and implement, the stronger your business will be.
Just like your BMC and VPC are living canvases that you should revisit regularly, so too are your customer interview questions.
Here’s an example of what that looks like.
Let’s say I have an assumption that my target customer is men in their 40s who live in urban areas and spend their disposable income on Starbucks 5 times a week.
I create a list of questions and go interview prospective customers to (in)validate my hypothesis.
During my customer interviews, I realize…oh wait. I think my target customer is actually teenage girls who live in suburban neighborhoods and spend their monthly allowance on makeup.
I just formed a new hypothesis.
I now need to adjust my customer interview questions to test this new hypothesis.
Why? Because my new target customer has different motivations, different jobs, different pains, and different expected/required gains than my originally-hypothesized target customer. And will require adjusted value proposition(s).
This continuous, iterative process is called customer development, and it is vital to a business’ success.
The sooner we can view customer development as an instrumental part of creating a successful, sustainable business, the less it will feel like a cumbersome, arduous task.
(1) Identify the handful of hypotheses you’re going to test in this round of customer interviews. Most likely, these hypotheses will be about customer segments and value propositions. However, they could also be about other parts of your business model, like market size, partners, channels, etc. How do you know which hypotheses to test first? By identifying the ones that are critical to your business’ success.
(2) Set a goal of interviewing X number of people this week, and by our next live session. And start chipping away at that goal! Don’t forget to take notes during your interviews, and try to record them if you can.
(3) Be prepared to share your findings with your peers, including what you learned from customer interviews, how those learnings (in)validated your hypotheses, and what your plan is for the next round of interviews.