This book was required reading material for the Florida Veteran Entrepreneurship Program. For a complete newbie, the book will give you the information you need to avoid costly mistakes. For a seasoned entrepreneur or business owner, the book is an excellent reminder of things to avoid and also things that you missed.
The author is Diana Kander.
Summary of major points
- Startups are about finding customers, not building products.
- Entrepreneur don’t fail because they couldn’t build a product, but fail because no one wanted to buy what was built.
- People don’t buy products or services; they buy solutions to their problems
- You can’t sell anything by doing all the talking.
- The real pros don’t play every hand. Think about that next time you want the next shiny object.
- Vanity metrics can hide the real numbers that matter to your business.
- You won’t find a mentor if you don’t ask.
- Put your customer needs before your needs for a solution.
- You can’t declare guesses to be facts without first interacting with your customers to figure out if you are right or wrong.
- It’s not about creating a great solution and hopping the market adopts it; it’s about understanding your customers first and creating something that adds value to their lives.
- Companies don’t go out of business because they fail to build a product. Companies go out of business because they fail to build anything that people want.
- If your business is failing from the get-go, it means that either. You build a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist or, your customers don’t know they have the problem or it’s not important enough that they are willing to pay money to solve it, or your solution doesn’t actually solve the problem.
- Focus on solving only those problems that are causing serious issues for your customers.
- Only customers can tell you if you found a problem worth solving.
- Before taking the next step. Answer: Who is my customer, what is their problem, and will they buy my product to solve their problem.
- Hoping and praying for luck is not a strategy.
- It’s never too late to test your assumptions.
- The secret to customer interviews is non-leading open-ended questions.
- The only way to get good a customers interviews is to practice.
- Don’t use “would you”! Those are the worst two words you can start a sentence with! Don’t ask yes or no questions.
- Don’t pivot to a new idea without testing your new assumptions.
- Test your assumptions before committing any resources to an idea.
- Luck can be engineered if you take emotion out of the equation.
- The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get.
- Interview your potential customers and learn about their actual problems and needs. This will give you a much more powerful starting position than guessing about those needs on your own.
- If you spend time trying to gather intelligence, now and then, you’ll get lucky and strike gold.
- Opportunities to find prospective customers are everywhere, you just have to look.
- The best feedback from potential customers comes from meticulous interviews.
- People sitting down are more likely to talk and endure questions that people walking or standing
Always qualify your interviews to make sure they are the customer’s segment you are targeting and not just a random person.
- Ask open-ended questions to get them talking.
- Potential customers will be a lot more open about their problems if you don’t try to sell them something during the initial interview.
- Try to get the potential customer to articulate their pain without leading them in any way.
- Problems don’t count unless they’ve spent time and money trying to fix them. It has to be a real need.
- Don’t be all business. The more conversational you can be, the more they will share.
- Always ask a potential customer if they know anyone else you could interview.
- Recognize the vanity metrics to avoid big losses.
- Spend the least amount of resources figuring out if your assumptions are right or wrong.
- Keep interviewing customers until you find a migraine problem worth solving.
- Stay objective in your interviews whether you are getting good or bad news.
- Nothing else matters until you can see problem that customers want your product.
- To prove demand, find the path to the ultimate customer action.
- The founder of the company should be the one making the calls, doing the research. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. You’ll just be a lot more likely to act on this information if you gather it yourself.
- Just finding a problem worth solving alone won’t guarantee success – you have to prove that the customers want your solution.
- Goal is to find the shortest path from your idea to this ultimate customer action
The only way to tell if they want it, that actually relieves their migraine, is to get them to actually perform the ultimate action.
- Find the shortest path possible to the ultimate action. What’s the smallest bet you could make, regarding time and money to get your customer to give you a preorder or their credit card number, or a letter of intent or something?
- Prepare for bad luck by building up reserves.
- Fear and inaction are the two greatest threats to your business idea.
- There is no mistaking it when you cover migraine problems worth solving.
- Get comfortable with being wrong.
- Second chances are rare, make sure you get it right the first time around
Luck makers seek out new experiences and find opportunities wherever they go – I’m a luck maker
Luck is not a good strategy for poker or business – It’s the outcome of a good strategy
I liked the audio version better than the actual book. Reading the stories in the book was kind of boring but listening to the stories in the audiobook was good.
My recommendation, go through my summary once or twice and write down that resonate with you and apply it. However, if you want to buy the book here is the Amazon link http://amzn.to/2CfNWlp.
In conclusion, next time you have an idea, find your customers first, then build the product, and then your brand.