As many entrepreneurs know, for any company to be successful the company must have a product (or service) and customers who will pay to acquire the product. This requires research, time, and implementing an effective plan to take place. However, this does not necessarily mean following the masses. As noted by Blanks in The four steps to the epiphany, “… Following a path of common wisdom- one taken by scores of startups before- seems like the right way. Yet for most startups, the wide road often leads straight to disaster” (Blank, S. G. 2013). Following the track taken by others may not be the correct path, but there are always lessons that can be gleaned from observing their path. These lessons can be taken from both their success and failures.
Many times, the discovery process encompasses a product development cycle. These stages typically include the: concept and seed stage, product development (sampling), Alpha/ Beta test (group tests), and finally product launch and first customer ship (Blank, S. G. 2013). Although this is the traditional model, Blanks points out that this approach presents flaws when being used in a startup. Firstly, Blank notes “the greatest risk…in startups is not in the development of the new product but in the development of customers and markets”. A cause for further concern is, “the first customer ship date does not mean the company understands its customers or how to market or sell to them” (Blank, S. G. 2013).
These are noteworthy points made. Regardless of the product or service offered, it is imperative that the entrepreneur does their due diligence in researching their market, their customer and analyze their competitors.
Blank, S. G. (2013). The four steps to the epiphany: Successful strategies for products that win. Pasadena, CA: Steve Blank.