Throughout the ages, the vast majority of businesses and companies have focused on producing based on market needs. Entrepreneurs have focused not only on detecting all those gaps, but also on building the products that satisfy them. In those markets where you know how the customer behaves and what the competition is doing, it works. Nevertheless, the high marketing expenditure required to introduce and position those products in the market is unavoidable.
However, as the world has changed, markets have changed with it. Today, they are more complex and global than ever, mainly thanks to technological advances and new innovation processes. Large companies, in addition to facing their direct competitors, are confronted with a large number of startups trying to break with the status quo and fill gaps in the market. That’s why, in situations like this, focusing on the product is no longer effective. It may be useful in the short-medium term in some markets, but for entrepreneurs it is not. This is because, if they want to offer new and original products, it is nearly impossible to make them fit consumers’ needs.
After being wrong so many times, we have understood that in most cases, the customer does not know what he wants, nor where he can find it. Therefore, the role of the entrepreneur is to carry out a process in which the customer is part of the different phases of the project, in order to adjust the solution to the market according to his vision. Through agile methodologies that include iterative cycles and confrontation of results, we can obtain the necessary feedback to develop those products that truly fit their needs.
In other words, it is a constant learning process, in which dialogue and continuous contact with customers is essential for the business model to succeed.in which dialogue and continuous contact with customers is essential for the business model to succeed.
Based on the search for a profitable, sustainable and scalable business, and agile product development, the Lean Startup methodology was created in the 1980s by Eric Ries. It is a methodology in which the main objective is to maximize efficiency and eliminate waste, in which the guidelines are concrete and precise:
- Create fast:do what adds value at all times and eliminate what is unnecessary.
- Measure fast: set metrics to achieve greater insights.
- Learn fast: be able to pivot if necessary.
Thanks to this new working methodology, other authors were born, such as Ash Mayura with the Running Lean model, focused mainly on technology entrepreneurs, or terms such as Lean UX or Lean Sales. Ash pointed out that it is essential to focus on checking that your hypothesis fits with the problem you are trying to solve, since “Life is too short to build something that nobody wants”. For this, Steve Blank’s Customer Development is one of the most effective methods. There are four steps to follow in order to know the customer well enough to launch products that guarantee the company’s success:
- Customer Discovery
- Customer Validation
- Customer Creation
- Customer Building
Experimenting, researching and talking to potential customers is, although it may not seem so at first glance, a vital step in any product development process.In order to find out if there are customers willing to buy our vision of the product, we can develop a Minimum Viable Product, which is a first prototype or test version of our product.
The purpose of the Minimum Viable Product is to find those customers who would buy the first version of our product, our early adopter.It is nothing more and nothing less than validating our idea and discovering whether our hypothesis provides a solution that solves the problem in question.
Finally, in order to carry out this methodology, it is necessary to have not only a product development team, but also a Customer Development Team that, in parallel, works to make the startup run smoothly.
Focused on the pure creation of companies, their presence in companies is very practical when the range of business is broadened.
Can, then, anyone apply these methods in any field, including culture? The answer is yes, but under certain conditions. What does this mean?
In many, if not all, companies go from idea generation to implementation, and this is a lot of money wasted. It is important to instill a culture of failure in companies. For this way of doing things to really take hold, we must transform the teams with their own projects. To do this, at Thinkers Co. we are committed to creating transformation programs, where through real challenges we can “convince people” that things can be done differently.
Published at 01/10/2021