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Get out of the building – get to know your customers

19 January 2019, 10:00 am by Samantha Garner

When we last talked about Lean Start-up, we discussed how you’ll need to create a minimum viable product, or MVP – a basic version of your product that early customers can give feedback on. Then, you develop based on measurement and learning.

So now, it’s time to talk about getting that feedback, and what to do when you get it!

Customer feedback and a product or service hypothesis

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Identify potential customers who could give you feedback on your product or service ideas.

2. Develop testable hypotheses around metrics (market test results) that will give you enough information to pivot or persevere with your idea, such as the number of sales or sign-ups for example.

For example, you believe that running an ad campaign will be a cost-effective way to gain customers, but you don’t have the data to prove it. That’s okay! You should still run the campaign, but when you use Lean Start-up methodology, you’ll do it within the structure of a hypothesis. The goal of Lean Start-up methodology is to help you move quickly, iterate rapidly, improve your product (or service) and your company. You shouldn’t spend your time inventing a new way to write hypotheses.

The basic structure is this:

I believe [target market] will [do this action / use this solution] for [this reason].

There are three parts:

  • The belief
  • The target market
  • The measurement

It’s all too easy to write a hypothesis and say, “well, it hasn’t been proven one way or the other yet, let’s just give it more time.” Instead, your hypothesis should be time-bound and short-term. Creating a great hypothesis is an excellent first step, but it won’t help anyone if you don’t keep track of it. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest one is to create a simple, shared spreadsheet that people can enter their hypotheses into. Not only will tracking your hypotheses make it easier to organize your experiments, but it will also help you refine your assumptions and see if there are patterns. If you see 10 hypotheses in a row with similar assumptions all proven false, you can see an area where you need to rethink your approach to the problem. Without tracking, you won’t be able to see those patterns.

Want to learn more? Check out our online small business training for this and dozens of other entrepreneurship skills.


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