Together with some people met at the Italian Startup Scene Facebook group (in italian only, sorry!) we are planning a Customer Development exercise. The rules are simple: pick a project, start (sometime) in January, and work on customer development for 10 weeks.
No big theoretical discussion, jdfi. Scary eh?
Anyway, while I'm busy pondering my project idea, I wrote down a schedule proposal for this exercise. My main inspiration were of course Steve Blank's blog and Ash Maurya's Running Lean, but I tried to make it more practical as possible.
Let me know if you have any comment or correction.
Week 1: Fill the Lean Canvas, focus on CPS
Fill the Lean Canvas with your business hypothesis. In particular, focus on CPS
Week 2: Validate the CPS - Part 1
Reach at least 5 potential customers and
Week 3: Validate the CPS - Part 2
Review the results of the interviews done so far, and update the Lean Canvas with your findings. Reach out at least other 5 potential customers and interview them.
Week 4: Review the Lean Canvas, focus on Business Model, Channel, Value Proposition
Review again the Lean Canvas. Focus on
In parallel, you might want to create a few screenshots showing how the product is going to work, and how the user will interact with it.
Week 5-6: Validate the Business Model, Channel, Value Proposition
Interview at least 10 potential customers (they might be the ones you already interviewed). Show them the screenshots of the application. Find out:
Review the Lean Canvas at the end of each week with your findings.
Week 7: Build the landing page/website
Now that you have
you can create a landing page or small website to present your product.
Go back to your potential customers (via email is fine) to ask them to have a look at it, if they like it and if its clear what you are selling.
Dont forget to add a Coming soon message and let the visitors leave their email for more information.
Week 8-9: Build MVP
Build the minimum viable product. (In my opinion) you need to build a working application that covers the minimum feature set that you discussed with your potential customers.
Week 10 - ????: Open private beta
Deploy the MVP and ask your potential customers (the one you interviewed + who signed up in the website) to use it.
During the private beta, you are not looking for growth (in terms of number of users); keep the user number low. Invite only people who are really interested in the product, not just curious about it. You are looking for customer retention and satisfaction.
You measure the retention measuring the number of users who use the service regularly (you have to define what regularly means first).
You measure the satisfaction asking users to answer a survey.
Only when you have retention and satisfaction you can open the beta to the public. Remember to define a retention goal (i.e. 50% week/week) and satisfaction goal (i.e. 40% extremely satisfied) before opening the private beta.