It’s about being very focused on the problem you’re solving, your exact target personas, your total addressable market, your beachhead market, and then executing on that. – Scott Barrington, Modlar CEO
Initially in customer development, you must be laser-focused on a single market, a single problem and a single customer profile. Absolute focus is the key to reaching Product-Market fit in your target market.
Startups fail when they try to attack multiple market segments (sometimes believing that they’re focused on a single segment) or target every imaginable market, but your startup’s solution is not for everyone. Choosing an entry market is a decision you must make if you are to Cross the Chasm.
To focus your efforts initially, you’ll create your problem owner’s persona – customer profile – around the thing your prospects share: a problem.
Looking at the information you gathered during problem interview phase, you’ll identify common patterns and average the differences for your demographic data. For example, if eight of your 15 prospects were women, you’ll make a profile of a woman.
Go through the data and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is their common role?
- What are their responsibilities?
- How many people report to them?
- With which department are they affiliated?
- How long have they been working in this company?
- What character traits do they share?
- What are their common objectives?
- What other problems do they share?
- What tasks are they trying to accomplish?
- What are their personal and professional goals?
- How do they measure themselves?
- Who has influence over them?
- Whom do they work with?
- What technology do they use?
- What values do they share?
- How are decisions made in their company?
- What is their work like?
- What is their day like?
- What is their lifestyle (married, single, urban, suburban, etc.)?
- Are they decision makers?
- Do they have budget? Whom do they have to work with?
- How are they evaluated?
- How would they calculate Return on Investment (ROI)?
- How comfortable are they with technology?
- How mature is their company?
If you feel that the same problem is shared by people of different profiles (it’s often the case), you can create additional profiles.
Good profiles communicate the essential information, are quick to create (and update) and help drive towards action. You can use a persona format to present them (as shown in the example below) or a simple one-pager.
Your customer profiles will evolve as you learn more about the needs and motivations of your problem owners, but for now, this is an important step in focusing your business efforts.
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