Customer Development

is a four-step framework for helping startups discover and validate their customers, product, and go-to-market strategy, developed by Steve Blank and an integral part of Eric Ries’ Lean Startup methodology. Focused on the Customer Discovery step, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development is an easy to follow guide for finding early adopters, building a Minimum Viable Product, finding Product-Market fit, and establishing a sales and marketing roadmap.

Deemed a “must-read” by Steve Blank and Eric Ries, inside you will find detailed customer development and lean startup concept definitions, a step-by-step approach to best practices, a business model analysis guide, case studies, rich graphics, as well as worksheets and exercises. No matter the stage of your business, you will return often to this guide to learn how to build a product people want ; “get out of the building”; foster strong customer relationships; test business model risk; reach out to early adopters; conduct startup marketing; create a customer funnel based on buyers’ process; and prepare your startup to scale up.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany, affectionately known as the “CustDev book,” serves as course text for classes at Stanford University, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Boston University, DePaul University, University of Minnesota, University of Chicago, UCL, University of Norway and many others.

This book about Customer Development is both an introduction for those unfamiliar with lean concepts and highly actionable for lean practitioners. It is a user friendly guide, written to be accessible to marketing professionals, engineers, startup founders and entrepreneurs, VCs, angels, and anyone else involved in building scalable startups.

Existing companies will benefit to from applying Customer Development principles described in detail herein: for example, startups struggling to achieve market traction, or well established companies seeking to spark new innovation.

This is a business book for startups like no other to learn about Customer Development. No fluff, but rather sound principles and concrete steps to take to build your business.

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  • Disclaimer
  • Foreword by Steven Gary Blank
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Why this book?
  • Who should read this?
  • Customer Development
  • What Customer Development is
  • Overview
  • What Customer Development is Not
  • Getting Started
  • Interview/Case Study with Jeff Smith of Sonic Mule
  • Concept Definitions
  • Early Adopters and Earlyvangelists
  • Segmentation
  • Market Type
  • “Non-traditional” Business Models
  • Positioning
  • Product-Market Fit
  • Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
  • Lean Startup
  • Pivot
  • “Getting Out of the Building”
  • Interview/Case Study with Fabrice Grinda of Zyngy and OLX
  • Know Thy Business
  • Know Thyself
  • The Ecosystem
  • Value Statements
  • MVP Posits
  • Risks
  • Value Path
  • Case Study: On Customer-Centric Cultures
  • 8 Steps To Customer Discovery
  • Exercise: Document C-P-S Hypotheses
  • MVP Assumptions
  • Funnel Assumptions
  • Testing Toward A Scalable Business Model
  • Conclusion

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