Instead of jumping straight into the Product Development cycle, startups can also use the customer development model. This model differs from the product development cycle in that it highlights “learning and discovering who a company’s initial customers will be, and what markets they are in…” (Blank, S. G. 2013). In order to be effective with the process, it is essential for entrepreneur to know there is a market that exists or could exist. This ensures there are customers willing to pay for the product/service being offered. Furthermore, the customer development model seeks to help entrepreneurs learn more about customers and their problems as soon as possible.
It is no secret that you can’t create a market or customer demand where customers aren’t interested. Even if this doesn’t exist, there are milestones that can be created and used to gauge it. Some milestone are more attainable and easier to create than others when it comes to startups. This process helps entrepreneurs discover their markets, identify their customers, and ultimately grow their business. The model also helps with providing solutions to the points of concerns mentioned in the previous posts.
In the end, it is imperative to know one’s market and how to best meet their needs. If there is no clarity on this point, there are analysis and processes that can be performed to help figure it out.
Blank, S. G. (2013). The four steps to the epiphany: Successful strategies for products that win. Pasadena, CA: Steve Blank.