The Fundamentals of Customer Development
When beginning the Customer Development process there are some key things you should be aware of to guide you from idea to market.

Customer Segments and Value Propositions are the foundation for your Business Model Canvas. They are the who, what and why of your business model. Without them, your customers won't see the connection between their needs and your product or service.
Customer Segments (the who)
Customer Segments are groups of customers that your product or service will serve. This grouping can be based on common needs, common behaviors, or other attributes. By defining and understanding each Customer Segment you can make conscious decisions about which segments you will serve and which you will ignore. With clearly defined Customer Segments in place, the rest of the business model can be designed around a strong understanding of specific customer needs.

These criteria will help you identify different Customer Segments:
  • Their needs require and justify a distinct offer
  • They are reached through different Distribution Channels
  • They require different types of relationships
  • They have significantly different profit margins
  • They will pay for different features or services
Value Propositions (the what and why)
Value Propositions are the solutions, benefits, and features that your product delivers to meet your customers needs.

They should differentiate you from your competition. They explain what the product is. The three components of VPs: are:

  1. Product features.
  2. Gains for customers.
  3. Pains you are solving.
Ultimately, your Customer Segments and Value Propositions should compliment each other and verify that you have Product/Market Fit.
Product/Market Fit
Product/Market Fit is when your Value Propositions solve the needs and pain points of your Customer Segments resulting in market adoption of your product or service.

The customers existed before your product. They only buy if you solve their problem or fulfill an unmet need.

Therefore, it's imperative that you listen to customers and understand their problems. Ask open ended questions that uncover problems. Use follow up questions to reveal any shortcomings to potential solutions.

Once you understand your customers needs and your product meets them, you can evaluate if you have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Minimum Viable Product
The MVP is the smallest feature you can deliver to customers that solves their problem. It is not your end product. It is a stepping stone to get you into the market, solving customer problems and getting feedback as quickly as possible. An ideal MVP is so beneficial to customers that they demand it.
Mission Statement
The one sentence BMC starting point
We have a tendency to overthink our business decisions to justify the work that we do. Coming up with the best words to describe your business comes down to what's easiest to convey to a customer. Keep it simple and clear.

Try using this Mission Statement template as you work on developing your idea. See if you're able to simply express the fundamentals of your MVP. It's a quick exercise that will help you understand how to explain your idea to customers, stakeholders and investors. It will also help you generate the hypotheses in your BMC.

My (Customer Segment) __________ wants (current need) __________ in a way that (competing Value Proposition) __________ has failed.

Our (product/service) __________ will do this by (limiting/eliminating) (customer problem) __________ and (optimizing/implementing) (customer benefit) __________.
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