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 min read

Step 1: Understand Your Customer – 6 Steps To Turn Your Business Idea Into Success

As no customer means no business we focus on understanding them during the 1st step of 6 step process for turning your business idea into success.

WhatAVenture team during a workshop.
No customer means no business - that's why understanding your customer is key.

Do you understand your customer in depth?

Do you know where they come from, what they desire and what they fear? Do you know their daily routine or do you even know the age, sex and social class? If you want to be successful, you better should.

The ultimate difference between success and failure is how good you understand who your customers are and what they really want. Many innovative business ideas fail because they are not addressing relevant customer needs in the market. Only knowing your customer gives you an insider perspective on the business ideas you should invest in and on those you should hide in the drawer.

Anytime you think of your business idea, the first thing that should come to your mind is your customer. You should create your solution and its features around the person who will use or buy it.

First of all, it’s important to simply know some hard facts. Demographics help you to get a first idea of what your customer is likely to be. To fill your customers with life, create personas which include major characteristics like needs, behavior and price sensitivity. Creating personas is the secret to marketing success. It allows you to access to information that shapes your marketing and reveals strategies you need to be adopting.

Customer Matrix – Select your number one

After you know about your customer’s needs it’s time to categorize them in order to know which one to focus on. The customer matrix helps you to find out which customer segment has the biggest pain and/or need and which one is of high value for your business. Generating different personas helps you to find out which customer segment you should start building your solution for. Pick the persona which brings the highest combination of pain and/or need and value for your company. Remember:

The customer is everything, but not every customer has to be yours.

This customer the one you focus on in the next step when you analyze your segment in more depth. Note that the whole process is highly iterative. It might well be that your customer segments change during the validation process.

Next elaborate the job each of the customer segments wants to get done, and state the major pains and gains they face while trying to accomplish this task.

Customer Exploration – Understand your customer

Now it is time to get an in-depth understanding of your number one customer segment. First – before jumping straight into brainstorming pains and needs – think of the job your customer wants to get done. This helps you to define a clear frame. Some examples of jobs-to-get-done are to have a great dinner, meet with friends or spend some great holidays.

Here are some further types of jobs-to-get-done (i.e. the core need your customers want to satisfy):

  • basic needs: to communicate, still hunger
  • social: to try to look good, gain power or status
  • emotional: to feel good, secure, loved
  • functional: to perform or complete a specific task, solve a specific problem

Once you defined the job-to-get done think about the importance of it (e.g. how often it occurs) and the context in what a job is done (e.g. while driving or being outside).

Remember: the better you understand your customers and their needs, the more value you can create for them.

The more value you can create for your customers, the more successful you are.

Customer Pain – Benefit from negative aspects

When attempting to understand your customer, also think of customer pains that occur while they are trying to accomplish their job to get-done. These pains could be negative emotions, undesired costs, or risks that your customer experiences before, during, or even after getting the job done, such as:

  • costs, e.g. takes a lot of time, money, effort
  • bad feelings, e.g. frustrations, annoyances
  • under-performance, e.g. lack of features, malfunctioning, waste
  • major difficulties, e.g. understanding how things work, difficult to find solutions
  • fears and risks, e.g. loss of case, power, trust, status

Nice-to-haves – Put icing on the cake

Nice-to-haves are additional benefits your customer might expect, desires your customers may have, or things your customers would be surprised by related to the job to get done. This includes functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings, such as:

  • additional savings, e.g. time, money, effort
  • outcomes, e.g. quality level, more or less of something
  • add-ons, e.g. specific features, design, customer service
  • dreams, e.g. big achievements, big reliefs
  • positive social consequences, e.g. positive image, power, status

Alternative Solutions – Know your competition

Screen the market for alternative solutions and add new pains and gains to your existing list.

After this this step should understand your customers and their respective pain points.
It’s very important to go out and talk with your customers to validate whether your assumption are true and they really have the problem you want to build a business around.

We wish you all the best for your project, if you have any questions, please shoot us a message:

Alexander Streihammer
Alexander Streihammer
Co-founder & Head of Marketing
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