The Importance of Hypotheses in B2B Customer Development


You need to have a vision and the willingness to change your direction. Don’t go at it without a vision and hoping to find a market. You need a base assumption.Hiten Shah, KISSmetrics Co-Founder

Everything that goes through your head before the first customer interactions is just hypotheses. You need to go and (in) validate. Your goal is to turn your un-tested hypotheses into facts.

Although your target market, problem and opportunity hypotheses may ultimately prove to be wrong, they serve a purpose. Base assumptions, much like your vision, help you stay the course of your objectives. Assumptions are an entrepreneur’s compass.

Entrepreneurs can talk to hundreds of people and learn everything about a market, but without driving assumptions, they’ll have a hard time getting out of analysis paralysis.

It’s important to draw lines in the sand and make decisions. It’s common for entrepreneurs to start writing a business plan at this stage, but please don’t. As Steve Blank frequently says, no business plan survives the first customer contact.

Business plans are just long lists of hypotheses. You want to remain agile and flexible and keep your assumptions to a minimum.

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

For that purpose, author and entrepreneur Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas — inspired by Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas — is very useful to quickly iterate business models on a single page.

The Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a great tool to identify the areas of biggest risk of your business opportunity. It helps objectively assess your business model before investing too much time on B2B business ideas.

It’s important to have hypotheses, but realize that your assumptions can deceive you…

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


⚡⚡ 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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