Unit 2: Customer Discovery

Understanding who the customer is, what they want, how they behave, and where they are is part of the critical discovery process needed to turn a business idea into a successful business model. This unit introduces the important class principle of gathering customer feedback. Students are creating a BMC that is based on assumptions. Their goal is to test these assumptions with customers to get feedback, learn, and update their model. Students will develop the skills to get out and talk to customers and determine the right questions to ask.

The unit begins with detailed mapping exercises to match customer segments with their most applicable value propositions. Students will receive feedback from Mentor experts and be matched with a Mentor for the year. Students then will begin to test some of the assumptions by talking to their customers through problem and solution interviews that provide information to validate or challenge their original assumptions. Students will learn how to assess the feedback and make decisions to change or alter their BMC. Students will also begin to research their customer base to understand the potential market size and opportunity for their business idea.

After completing this unit, student teams should be reflecting new customer learning in their BMC’s. This is often the time that customer learning has impacted the assumptions and require a pivot or iteration to some of the original model. This is encouraged.

Enduring Understandings

  • Entrepreneurs validate their business ideas by going through a series of consumer and financial tests.
  • Entrepreneurs continually refine their ideas and plans based on data and feedback.
  • Customer interviews are not about “pitching” your business Idea, they are about testing your assumptions and hypotheses.

Essential Questions

  • How does having defined customer segments influence business decisions?
  • How can market research and talking to customers benefit a business?

Expected Outcomes by End of Unit

  • Students will develop detailed customer profiles called personas.
  • Students will begin conducting/tracking and reporting results from customer interviews.
  • Students will be assigned to mentors and begin working together.

Key Terms and Concepts

  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Personas
  • Early Adopters
  • Users vs. Buyers
  • Problem Interview: Do customers have this problem?
  • Interview Techniques
    • “5 Whys” questioning
    • Listening
    • Engaging like you are having a conversation
    • Tell  story to set the context of what you will discuss
  • Solution Interview: Will customers pay to solve the problem?
  • Product/Service Demos