After publishing our previous blog post, Move fast and break things, cheap many of you asked about how to manage and successfully navigate the partner process with regard to customer development.
Understanding the needs and preferences of the customer is crucial to the success of any project, for startups, it can be a make-or-break situation. Startups need to be highly disciplined in the process of gathering information about customers to develop a product that meets their needs. However, this process can be challenging, as there are several obstacles that startups must overcome.
Finding the right customers to interview is one of the most important challenges of customer development. It is essential to interview customers who are representative of the target market. Startups must first identify who their target market is and then find individuals who fit that demographic. This requires time and effort to ensure that the right customers are being interviewed. Sometimes it is very difficult to understand if you are interviewing the right customer, there are many false-positive signals that can be detrimental to this process that can steer your company down the wrong path.
Another primary challenge is gathering accurate data. Customers may not always provide accurate or truthful information, often they don’t know exactly what they want/need, which can lead to unreliable data. It’s not the customer's fault, innovation means treading uncharted waters. It is the startup's responsibility to ask the right questions to obtain useful information and ensure that the data collected is relevant to the project. Critically, startups must be aware of their biases and avoid leading questions that may influence the customer’s response. This trap happens more often than you think and is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome.
Startups must constantly and diligently balance customer needs with technical feasibility. Sometimes, customers may request features that are not technically feasible or may not align with the project’s goals. This requires constant communication and alignment around the project’s core objectives. Communication is crucial. Startups must be able to communicate their ideas clearly and understand the customer’s needs and feedback without bias. Often, the challenge boils down to balancing technical requirements and effectively mapping them to the customer's desired outcomes.
Overcoming these challenges requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to listen to customers to create products that meet their needs.
As a Customer Development as first principals company, Harbr firmly believes that great products can only be developed with great partners.
Ask us how harbr.com can partner with your great company.