Category: If You Build It

“Interviewing customers is not what most people get out of bed every morning dying to do…, – Rob Adams

“…but in the end, it’s the utlimate way to produce value in the market and it is a sign of an execution mentality.”

We talk plenty about the importance of the customer discovery process and Rob Adam’s quote from “If You Build It, Will They Come?” is dead on.

But I’d like to focus on the last eight words, “it is a sign of an execution mentality”.  This is subtle but it’s really very important.  Investors are a skeptical bunch and most tell you, all other things equal, that they invest in the management team.  The question in the back of the mind is always, “Can this person pull it off?”

The ability to show results and data from a well documented customer discovery process is a huge validating activity that shows you know how to get things done.   But it also shows you know how to do hard things that aren’t fun but very import to the process.

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“You need to allocate 60 days effort before you start building your product and 10% of your budget to get the Market Validation work done.” – Rob Adams

This is bold advice from “If You Build It Will They Come?”  and it flows in parallel with the customer discovery process.  Rob Adams just put some numbers on it.

Understanding your value proposition and market is important.  So important that Adams recommends two full months of effort to nail it down.  Allocating budget means get out of the office and talk to people.  You can’t Google your way through customer discovery.  Go to trade shows.  Talk to industry experts and leaders in your market segments.  You may consider buying a market research study from one of the leading research firms.  They aren’t cheap.

Doing this before you develop the product helps reduce the risk that you make something no one wants to buy.

It’s cheap insurance.

Read “If You Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams

 

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“The capitalist system is brutal; it takes no prisoners… ” – Rob Adams

“…and has no regard for how much energy you have invested in your business.”

Inventors often face this issue.  They spend years and much of their own fortune designing the perfect product and they spend thousands on patent costs, only to be frustrated when they can’t raise funding or find out how little they can get for licensing their idea.

That’s because all this activity does not equate to value in the business world, nor does it guarantee that customers will buy the product.  The thing that builds value is whether the invention solves a problem for a lot people at a price they are willing to pay.

Dr. Adams will tell you to spend the first 60 days and at least 10% of your budget interviewing customers to see if your idea addresses a real problem in a market.  That way, the money you spend on development and intellectual property isn;t wasted on a hobby.

Definitely read “If Yo Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams

 

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Interviewing customers is not what most people get out of bed every morning dying to do…” – Rob Adams

“…but in the end, it’s the utlimate way to produce value in the market as it is a sign of an execution mentality.”

There’s a lot packed into this sentence.  Beyond the obvious message of the importance of talking to customers, and the fact that no one likes to do it, there is a more subtle message that is very important.

Investors are interested in traction as a validation of your business model.  But before you have 1,000 visitors to your web site a day, there is the time when you don’t have a product and you don’t have customers.  But as Rob Adams preaches, that is the optimal time to validate the market through customer interviews.

It takes discipline and effort; two things that are going to be of interest to investors.  If you can demonstrate from hundreds of customer interviews that you have a minimally viable product, you not only validate your business model but you show you have the discipline and execution mindset to get the job done.

This is an intangible that all stakeholders look for but there is not a standard slide in the deck for execution mentality.  It comes from evidence of how you conduct business, how you research your markets and how you validate your value proposition.

Read “If You Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson