The Importance of Creating Testable Hypotheses in B2B Customer Development


Don’t put limits too early. Don’t close yourself off to new discoveries. – Martin Huard, Admetric Co-Founder and CEO

As you make progress with your startup, there are things you know, but there are many things you have yet to figure out. Although you’re putting together a solution to a real problem (I hope!), almost everything you’re working with is still hypothesis.

Your goal is to solidify the things you know into validated learning while leaving room for discovery, growth and serendipitous outcomes. Optimizing too early might mean missing out on a better business opportunity.

SOLUTION RULE

You shalt not fall in love with thy solution.

As you brainstorm with your team, ask yourself for every decision you make, “Do we know whether this is the right approach?” “How do we know this?”

You’ll call everything you don’t know a risk and formulate testable hypotheses around it.

Is your solution dependent on outside factors for success? Do you need access to some hard-to-find information to build your product? Will security be an issue?

Start Tracking Your Hypotheses – Get the Free Hypothesis Test Plan Template

The Lean Startup methodology is about validating hypotheses. As Eric Ries recommends in his book (The Lean Startup), a startup should start by validating the riskiest parts of its product and business model first.

You’ll create a test plan with specific and testable hypotheses that you’ll rank from high risk (can kill your solution) to low risk (improvement opportunity).

EXAMPLE OF TESTABLE HYPOTHESES

Because most people are visual, it’s much harder to get feedback on a feature or an idea if prospects have to imagine how it’s going to work. You need to put something concrete together for validation like a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Include your riskiest assumptions in this MVP. Moving forward, you’ll adjust your hypotheses and your product until it matches the needs of your prospects.

Start Tracking Your Hypotheses – Get the Free Hypothesis Test Plan Template

You can picture this process a little bit like a funnel where you gradually narrow down your definition of a solution until you reach Product-Market fit.

Time to get started!


⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »


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