You don’t know what your customer needs

It is foolish to only desire to express our opinion – Proverbs 18:2

When starting your own company, every belief you have about who your customer is and what they really need is only a set of guesses. Now, if you have been working in an industry for 15 plus years there’s a chance you probably have more than just guesses. But this is because you have either consciously or subconsciously already gone through the testing phase. You have firsthand experience possibly with customers and how they interact with a certain type of product.

For the rest of us (especially for new products), have a set of guesses or opinions. Now, the more scientific term is a hypothesis. If we apply the principles set forth in Proverbs 18:2, namely that if we are seeking to be wise we must:

1. Take pleasure in understanding.

2. Not seek to merely express our “opinion” (as rendered by the translators of the ESV).

Then rather than just take a shot in the dark or presume we know more than we really do, we should seek to truly understand if our hypothesis’ are correct (or at least within the degree of possibility). We need to figure out when we actually know who our customer is and what the need.

Now, I’ll argue the best option is to go to them directly and ask.

We must meet pressing needs – Titus 3:14

Another reason we should seek to avoid acting on mere guesses is not only to save us from wasted resources but positively to make sure we are truly “meeting a pressing need” as we read in Titus 3:14. 

Notice the result of the contrary to serving a pressing need at the end of the verse, “so that they will not be unfruitful”. Unfruitful meaning without good deeds. 

So, if we just follow the traditional model of building what we think a specific person needs then we are really not making an effort to validate that we are in fact making someone’s life better by solving a real issue.

Turning guesses into facts (Customer discovery)

This is why I fell in love with the customer discovery process. I often found myself working on a new product or with a new startup and often the talks were always just about building the product as soon as possible with little to no conversations with customers. 

Since we can count on uniformity in nature because God is upholding the universe by His Word. Then we apply the scientific method and turn out guesses into facts by actually talking with people and validating our various different hypotheses. 

This way we can make sure we actually know our customer (and they actually exist), as well as whether we really understand them and their problem we seek to solve. 

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