Clarify Your Customer and Their Problem
At the end of Jetpack for Changemakers Step 2, your goal is to have clarity on your target customers and the problem you’re focusing on. You should also have clear steps to test your riskiest assumptions. By ‘customers’ we mean, the people who will pay money in exchange for the value you are creating.
Customers? Sounds Like We’re Selling Out Already!
Without money, it will be challenging to deliver an impact into the world. It’s possible that there will be a relationship or connection between your customers and the people that benefit from the social value you aim to deliver. They might even be one and the same. Absolute clarity on who they are and their problem is vital to progressing beyond the idea stage.
Start With a Blank Canvas
The Lean Canvas is a great tool to help you develop a concise view of these fundamentals. Grab yourself a copy, print it out and read on.
Don’t Know All the Answers? Guess
You might find it daunting to think about metrics, cost and revenue (if not, good for you). Don’t worry about that for now. At this point, focus on only three of the boxes:
- Customer Segments: Who are your customers?
- Problem: What problem(s) are they struggling with?
- Unique Value Proposition: What sets your proposition apart from others?
You don’t need to be 100% confident in your answers. Just go with your best guess. Better to capture something rough and then follow the steps below to refine and clarify the detail, until you reach the point where you’re not guessing any more – because you know.
Be concise when you use the Lean Canvas. Write simple, plain language, descriptive statements. This is part of our Lean Canvas for Jetpack for Changemakers. It looks very neat and tidy, but it took many iterations and experiments to arrive at this level of clarity.
Now, step back and offer concrete proof points for boxes. For example:
- How do you know these people are customers?
- How can you confirm they have those problems?
Imagine you had to defend this argument in a court of law. If you can’t put hard proof on the table, then you’ve made an assumption and you have to find the proof. Getting caught out by assumptions is soul-destroying and potentially costly. These fundamentals are the first thing any funders or supporters worth having on your team will test you on. If you don’t have a convincing answer, they’ll disengage.
Grab Your Lab Coat
To find the answers, you’ll have to execute some kind of experiment, basically a real-world test to find the proof you need to move forward with confidence. To design an experiment, ask yourself:
- What do I need to know?
- How can I find out (beyond desk research or Googling)?
- What repeatable method can I use to get the answer?
- If I run this experiment x times, how many times should it return an affirmative answer for me to consider my assumption valid?
Now run your experiments and keep a record of all the results, including any unexpected learnings.
Everything is an Experiment
If you discover that people (especially customers) aren’t as excited by your idea or the problems you’re trying to solve, that’s OK. It happens. A lot. The important thing is to learn. False starts and surprises are normal at this early stage.
You’ve always got to be aware of why you don’t win, otherwise you’ll keep losing. Every mistake is a learning experience and, hopefully, you won’t make the same mistake again.
– Layne Beachley
Keep your radar up for patterns and insights that might come from answers you didn’t expect. Listen carefully, record everything. Things will be ambiguous for a while.
If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.
– Albert Einstein
Finally, if you feel that all of this research and experimentation is a distraction from just getting your offering into the marketplace, consider this advice from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.
If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.
– Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
Jetpack Step 3: Solve Real Problems. Learn how to clarify your solution concept and test the riskiest assumptions and pricing options.
These articles are written to capture the essence of the six steps of the Jetpack for Changemakers program. We’re sharing them to provide a guide of what we have found to be most effective for purpose-driven startups. If you are interested in gaining a more in-depth understanding, along with the accountability and personalised guidance from experienced coaches to complete each step, please get in touch with us. We would love chat about your options.