eBook Review: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development

The Four Steps to the Epiphany was a real eye opener for me. I’d worked in a succession of companies that had worked hard to produce vast amounts of code before realizing that there was no market for what they’d made. If there had been more validation on what their users actually wanted and more thought put into what market they were really aiming for they would have saved a hell of a lot of time, money, and heartbreak. At the core of the Four Steps was the message that “Engineers build the product right, but what you need to do is build the right product”.

So then what? Steve Blank’s Four steps explained the landscape of what needs to be done, but questions remain – where do I start and what do I do first?

A ‘Cheat-Sheet’ for Customer Development

I first heard of Brant Cooper (@brantcooper) and Patrick Vlaskovits’ (@vlaskovits) project on the Lean Startup Circle google group where they were looking for volunteers to “custdev” their Customer development book.  They gave me a few sample chapters that they were working on to get a feel for the direction they were headed in, and I was honestly blown away. Where the Four Steps builds up the general concepts of customer development, this book is the step-by-step instruction manual.

What’s in it?

The ebook gives you a brief recap on Customer Development – What it is and why you should care. Then it takes you through a practical series of steps to try to refine exactly what your market and business model will be, and how to get the ball rolling. There are:

  • Exercises to help you decide what part of a market you should aim for
  • Practical suggestions on where to find the sort of prospective customers that might buy your product
  • Email and phone call scripts so you can get in touch with them
  • Guides to setting your hypotheses, and concrete ways to test that you’re heading in the right direction to validate them

There’s a huge amount of very practical, actionable information in this book, it’s essential reading for anyone starting a business.  This book will prevent you from wasting time and money on things that nobody wants to buy.

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