July 18

Customer Creation and Company Building

Most of what you read about customer development focuses on the first two steps. That’s probably a good thing. One key idea that Steve Blank was trying to get across is that you should understand your customers and their problems before you get too big. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t scale. You just shouldn’t scale too soon. Here are some things to consider when it does come time to create customers and build your business.

Customer development guide for product managers. Customer development is a process of obtaining customer insights that can be used to create, review and optimize your ideas in product development. Customer development helps you quickly discover the real problem your customers are trying to solve and whether you have a viable solution. Yaroslav Lehenchuk takes a detailed look at each stage of customer development and explains how you can discover and learn before you scale to earn.

(via @Lehenchuk_J)

Customer development model: Understanding customer creation. The first two steps of the customer development model, customer discovery and customer validation are all about learning and discovery about your customer. Once you’ve validated your ideas about your customers, you’re ready to bring in more customers with customer creation. Martin Luenendonk describes the ins and outs of the customer creation phase. He explains what customer creation is and how it differs from a traditional marketing plan. He also describes how to customize your plan to the kind of market that you are entering.

(via @EntreInsights)

Creating and improving demand for new products. “A consumer need is not always the same as consumer demand”. If you’re a clever observer you can see a need that no one has recognized because there’s no product that embodies the need. When you produce a new product, you have to generate demand and get over the fear of new things. You want to assess demand before you release a product to the marketplace. The folks at Defined Digital describe six basic approaches to predicting demand which influence the way your product is designed and made.

(via @defined_dm)

Customer development model: understanding company building. Company building is the final step of customer development for a reason. If you begin scaling your company before you understood your markets and your customers, mass chaos ensues. That chaos can easily lead to a death spiral for your startup. Martin Luenendonk explains what company building is, how to build a mainstream customer base, and how to scale your company’s infrastructure.

(via @EntreInsights)

Don’t scale too fast. Growing pains  are a normal and necessary part of the journey of building a company. But don’t think that too many orders or too many clients are “good” problems to have. When you scale your company too fast you can quickly ruin your entire brand. Sam Rusani learned this with one of his businesses that grew incredibly fast. The company rapidly ramped up manufacturing and ran into fulfillment problems. Sam explains that when you scale a business, you need to have a plan for growth if you want to survive. He also shared some tips to keep your company afloat when you’re in over your head

(via @SamRusani)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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