Fall in love with the problem of your customer

By Elina Schäfer at

In over 500 start-ups we’ve (BUSINESS MODELS INC) seen, not even one ended up building the idea they started out with. The ones that made it are the ones that pivoted. We see in the start-up programs like UtrechtInc, that start-ups are in love with their own idea. Apart from the fact if clients will love it or not.

Each start-up dreams to be “the next Big Thing”. You have a great idea; your parents love it and maybe even a friend has already bought your product. Sorry, but unfortunately this does not mean that your idea is great. I am not saying that that isn’t a possible, but first you need to know your starting point. Are you creating or developing something because you like it? An amazing new technology, a smart application or a robot OR do you see a need for a potential customer segment where you will find a solution for?

Which side of the Business Model Canvas can you already map out? The left side of the business model is about the resources you have, to create your value. The internal organization. If you have that, which is often the case when you’re developing something as a new application, you will need to test this, but also you need to go looking for a problem. Do you solve a problem of a specific customer segment? Than your starting point is the customer need and thus the right side of the business model. You go look for a way to fulfill this need by looking for a way to deliver and create this solving solution.

Be in both ways always aware of the fact that as long as your idea is on paper, the idea has no value. It is full of assumptions. You’ll have to go out of the building to engage with your customers. At least 150 cups of coffee. What is the problem you are trying to solve for your customer? By validating assumptions, you learn something new every day. And just as often you will find that your initial assumptions were incorrect. You will fail experimentation and testing. But that’s actually good news. It means you have learned a lot about your idea and your clients. You learn how you can improve, before making the considerable investments and taking great risks. Fall in love with the problem of your customer, not your solution. When you have that in good order, you can start right away from that starting point.

There is no right or wrong. But know that in both cases you need to drink a lot of coffee with your customers: validate, validate, validate!

A need for validation support? Connect on LinkedIn, maybe I can help you!
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/moniek-tiel-groenestege-6261648b/