Startup founders who want to create success must figure out what customers really want. Only then can the startup deliver on something valuable for customers. The process of getting a good product is known as Customer Discovery.

1. Save time and money

Customer discovery is the most effective way to understand what your customers really want. It helps you save time and money by ensuring that you are creating a product that people will actually buy. You may learn, for example, that certain features are no longer important to customers or that they would prefer one solution over another. This knowledge allows you to focus your engineering efforts on the features that matter most, thereby reducing wasted time and resources.

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2. Guiding your decisions

Even if you’ve never heard of “customer discovery” before, you may already be doing it. Because customer discovery is simply a method to

guide your decisions and ensure that you’re building the right things for the right people.

In short, customer discovery is about learning what people need or want and understanding how to give it to them. It ensures that you’re not wasting time on products or features that customers don’t want. And it helps you discover new markets for your products or services—markets that are most likely to buy from you.

3. Protect against irrational optimism and hype

  • Irrational optimism can be a problem for startup founders. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the idea, and it’s not uncommon for a founder to be completely convinced that their idea is the best thing since sliced bread. This can cause you to think you only need validation from a few people. In reality, you’re better off talking with many potential customers as possible.

In my experience as an investor, I’ve seen far too many startups go down this path: they raise money based on a concept or demo without having talked to any real customers, so they run out of money before they have had an opportunity to test whether there is real demand for their product or service.

Learning from customers early on will protect against this because it makes irrational optimism more difficult. With the right mentors and advisors in place, you can have honest discussions about your prospects without getting carried away by your own ideas or what other people are saying.*

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4. Build the right product

Building the right product. It sounds so simple, but it’s not always easy. In fact, this one step is responsible for making or breaking many a startup—and it doesn’t matter how cool your technology is or how impressive your team is if you build something that nobody wants. If you don’t get your customers involved in the process of building the right product, then you risk developing something that doesn’t address their needs and problems—or worse, that they don’t want at all. What good is a slick new solution if there aren’t any problems to solve?

It’s important to understand the difference between building the right product and building a product right. Building a product right means taking care of details like user experience design, code quality and testing (among many others). These are things that can make or break user loyalty for an existing product. But even if you’ve built a high-quality product with excellent performance and usability, it won’t matter much if nobody wants to use it in the first place because of poor customer discovery work during development.

6. Create a product people want to buy

The next step is to create a product people want to buy. The key is discovery: you have to discover that people want your product before you build it, not after. No one buys what they don’t want. And coupled with the fact that customers are willing to pay for products that they need and want, the more people who need and want your product, the more successful you will be.

Customer discovery, which includes market research, helps you understand your customers, their needs and how you can meet them. Don’t skip this step!

Customer discovery is the process of talking to customers and discovering their needs so that you can develop products and services that they want. This is an iterative process where you learn what your customers want, validate or invalidate your assumptions, test out new ideas and make changes to your product or service based on the feedback you receive.

Ideally, the people you talk to during customer discovery should be in your target audience – they are going to be using whatever it is that you create. If you’re trying to sell rocket boots for dogs, find dog owners who love their little furry friends.

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