Speak to anyone startup founder, and they will answer this customer is some shape or form.
Dig a little deeper on the vague description they may have provided, and that is when the wheels start to come apart.
Entrepreneurs fall prey to confirmation bias very easily.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.
When we finally stumbled onto a profitable target segment with Identifi for the first time, my primary customer was multinational companies based in APAC with a large distributed salesforce. Scratching the surface one can find many cracks on a seemingly decent answer.
First off, who was my primary customer and what was the job they wanted to be done? Initially, I thought we were selling HR software; thus, the buyer ultimately is going to be the head of HR. (Wrong answer, I discovered the hard way).
I fell into the confirmation bias trap, and I did not speak with enough companies to truly validate our hypothesis.
Paul Graham says that talking to your customers is the most frequent he gives to founders that are just starting.
For the rebuild that we are currently doing with the product, we have a specific type of company and person we are targeting. We are still working through this, and as we collect more data, I will update this.
Our current customer is the founder of a remote-distributed company with over 50 employees. The primary problem they are currently facing is providing visibility as to who does what at the company. The secondary problem is sending out broadcasts about company plans and significant events through a medium that encourages discussion and reactions. (Slack/WhatsApp is the default medium due to the noise and lack of threaded responses in WhatsApp make it challenging to use).
I do not think we have spoken with enough companies and intend to ramp that up this month before our beta release.
One of my favourite question sets is from David Cummings, who has a treasure trove of SaaS related posts for founders.
If you are looking to build or are building a business, my advice is to do the uncomfortable act of going and speaking to your customer.
Don’t fall prey to making assumptions about needs. You may think this will slow you down; however, getting to the top doesn’t make a difference if you are climbing the wrong wall.
This list of questions is straightforward and helps you get the prospect to talk about how they are going to do things today.
Farnam Street is one of my must-read blogs. This post dives deep into the working of our confirmation biases.
I like how this blog breaks down the process of talking to customers with an example that helps you follow along.
A friend and hosts this podcast and is doing a great job in covering important topics on marketing. They go into detail on getting into the right mindset before getting started with your research.