Can Listening to Customers Sink Your Startup?

There’s plenty of misinformation out there that can interfere with an entrepreneur’s customer development.

For one, the customer isn’t always right, explains serial entrepreneur and author Steve Blank. If you’re solely relying on your customers to guide your business to greener pastures, you may end up being led off of a cliff.

Customers have repeatedly proven themselves to be less-than-knowledgeable about what they want (in general, not even from your business necessarily). They’re finicky. If they don’t know what they want, how could you expect to lean on them to steer your business? You can’t, Blank reasons. The goal shouldn’t be to please every customer. The goal should be to target customers that fit into your business model. For more on knowing when to listen to customers, read the full article by Blank.

Related content from OpenView:

Uncertainty pertaining to your business model can make customer development that much more difficult. This article from OpenView provides valuable questions that can help you test your business model for leaks. And in this video, Blank shows you how to get a more intimate understanding of your customers.

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  • Chris Beall

    Couldn’t agree more, although I might make the distinction between having lots of conversations with customers (and relevant non-customers) and letting them take over the helm. Come to think of it, the same principle applies to employees, investors and everyone else.