Updated: Aug 10
If you don’t know who your customers are, how will you know what products they are looking for? In other words, customer discovery is a key activity for finding product-market fit.
In this post, we will cover some tips for performing customer discovery and finding product-market fit with some help from the FounderWay overview framework to assist with tracking findings and picturing who your customer is and what your product/solution needs to be.
Even though most ideas are formed around surface-level problems, many people never take the time to fully understand the idea’s customer who is having this surface-level problem and what is the source of the problem. At FounderWay, we recommend starting from the left side of the framework to understand your customer, followed by working on the right side of the framework to hone your product/service idea based on your customer understanding, and then working in the center of the framework in order to bridge your customer and product/service idea.
Before we start, here are some quick definitions so that we are all on the same page:
Customer Discovery: The process of understanding the problem you are solving and who is affected by this problem and why.
Product Market Fit: How well your product satisfies the demand of the market. You are trying to find peak product-market fit.
Tips for Customer Discovery
Make sure you look into all aspects of your customer. If you look at the FounderWay Overview framework, we start you have with the following areas so that you don’t miss anything: Problem, Customer Behavior & Lifestyle, Customer Demographic, Customer Market.
Send out surveys to get feedback from your customer market in order to get the info you are missing or to flesh out info that you already have. Surveys are great for collecting large amounts of data to analyze.
Do interviews! Interviews are a great way to validate your understanding and to make sure you aren’t missing anything. It is common for interviews to reveal information you weren’t aware of and to correct assumptions you may have.
Track your findings in the framework so that you can get a holistic picture of your customer. Use this picture to check your understanding of the market and customer
Tips for Finding Product Market Fit
Hone your initial idea of your product/service based on your customer discovery. Use the prompts in the Solution and Product/Service sections of the framework to make sure you aren’t missing any aspect of these key areas.
Make sure your company lines up with your customer discovery information. I.E. have your mission and vision align with your customer expectations and wants.
Understand your industry and competition. Who survived and who failed? Why did they fail or survive?
Try to bridge your holistic picture of your idea and your customer. Use the prompts in the Bridges section to come up with assumptions on how to connect the two sides and to get product-market fit.
Once you have your assumptions, start sending out surveys and doing interviews to test if your assumptions are correct or if there are better ways to solve the problem and connect to your customers.
Building a minimum viable product (MVP) should be the last step in validating your assumptions, and should only be done when you have honed and narrowed your assumptions down to a maximum of 3 core assumptions. Use your MVP for live testing and feedback, as well as doing surveys and interviews with users to further hone and validate your assumptions.
With surveys and interviews being such a crucial part of customer discovery and finding product-market fit, check out our next post on tips for creating surveys and performing interviews.
“Customer discovery is the process of translating a founder's vision for the company into hypotheses about each component of the business model and creating a set of experiments to test each hypothesis.” - Steve Blank