Over the first few weeks of the course, you have learned the importance of conducting research in order to validate the various business model assumptions that you have developed. Over the remainder of the semester, you will be responsible for conducting research in the field, by setting up and engaging in interviews with potential customers, partners, suppliers etc.
You began by mapping out questions you would like to ask prospective customers. As you learned earlier, you should be refining your minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP is a boiled down version of your product or service that you will speak with others about to see if you can gain traction or not. Remember that the key is to not assume that people will want the same features in your product that you believe are obvious. For example, as a metaphor for this concept, it is best to start out with a metaphorical plain donut, show it to people, and have them tell you they want sprinkles and chocolate frosting. You will learn over time, that building something that someone does not want is a huge waste of resources, and this course is designed to teach you to create efficiency in the business modeling process.
In this activity, you will refine questions you would like to ask, develop a script, and practice interviewing with a friend, and then begin to think of actual stakeholders you would like to setup appointments with.
Steve Blank is the founding father of the "lean startup" movement. Here you will watch three videos created by Blank that prepare you for "leaving the building", or what to do when you are out in the field. Later you will learn what to do with your research findings when you come back into the building. In addition, Video's 1 and 2 below review the importance of identifying a customer pain point or problem they would be willing to pay for to eliminate.
Video 1: Featuring Vinod Khosla, Founder of Sun Microsystems http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=26
Video 2: How to identify customer pain points in an interview setting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB23UX1zB4s
Video 3: pre-planning: http://vimeo.com/groups/204136/videos/75308828
Video 4: pre-planning 2: http://vimeo.com/groups/204136/videos/75184102
Video 5: http://vimeo.com/groups/204136/videos/75603393
As you conduct field research and customer discovery, one of the critical factors to consider is to think about whether your idea solves an actual customer problem (pain point) that people are willing to pay you for. If you are working on a nonprofit business model, you are looking to solve a societal problem that donors and invetsors will want to contribute to. To help you think about these considerations, complete the following tasks:
By now, you should have conducted some research. Write up a sample script that you would use (after practicing) with prospective customers. This script should include the following elements:
A) Briefly introduce your business/idea/solution
B) Identify what type of individuals you would like to speak with i.e. are they consumers, businesses, nonprofits, government etc.
C) Generate a list of five questions (open ended) that you would ask a potential customer to try and establish if there is a pain point.
When you have completed this task, practice using this script with your classmates, friends, family etc. Make any adjustments you learn from this process and post your completed interview script to this assignment when you are done.