Glossary / Customer development

Customer development

Customer development is a process used by startups to understand and validate their target market and customers' needs. It involves engaging with potential customers early on in the product development process to gather feedback, test assumptions, and iterate on the product or service. The customer development process typically consists of four steps: 1. Customer Discovery: This involves identifying and engaging with potential customers to understand their problems, needs, and preferences. Startups conduct interviews, surveys, and observations to gather insights and validate their assumptions. 2. Customer Validation: In this step, startups test their product or service with a small group of early adopters to validate their value proposition and business model. They collect feedback, measure customer satisfaction, and make necessary adjustments. 3. Customer Creation: Once the product or service has been validated, startups focus on acquiring and converting customers. They develop marketing and sales strategies, refine their messaging, and optimize their customer acquisition channels. 4. Company Building: As the startup gains traction and scales, it focuses on building a sustainable business model. This involves optimizing operations, scaling customer acquisition efforts, and expanding the team. Customer development is often contrasted with traditional product development approaches, which focus on building a product first and then finding customers for it. By involving customers early on, startups can reduce the risk of building a product that doesn't meet market needs and increase their chances of success.