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Before we look intensively at the next boxes in the Extended Canvas, we should check and validate the assumptions made so far. After all, what we think about are just assumptions about the outside world. They can be right or wrong or partially correct. Your task now is to discover this as quickly, safely, and with as little effort as possible. If the customer segment doesn’t have the problem we have assumed, or our solution idea doesn’t effectively solve the problem, it’s a waste to think about implementing the idea further.

For this, you need courage, creativity, and chutzpah, as you’ll see in a moment.

This week it’s time to leave your quiet chamber, venture out into the outside world, and talk to your potential future customers! Nervous? You’re right! It’s challenging and nerve-racking, but it’s also a lot of fun once you overcome your initial fear. And you’ll be surprised how much you learn after just a few conversations.

Be prepared because many of your expectations will not be met, but keep in mind that new ideas will emerge. This is normal, and this is precisely why we’re venturing forth now: To not waste another day or dollar for an idea that can’t work at all!

Using the example of the yoga studio: Is a visit to a yoga studio close to the workplace an adequate solution for the relaxation, sports, and health needs of enough employees?

Since experience shows a high probability that first-round solutions won’t hit the mark, we have to repeat this step several times. We must get the answer here very quickly and with little effort.

How do we check the problem-solution assumption?

That’s where our 90-Day Program’s segment, “Get out of the Building,” comes in. It’s all about getting out of the quiet little room and into the real world outside!

We refer to the risk of not having enough customers for a viable business model as customer risk. Four steps are necessary to eliminate this risk as much as possible.

Steps to eliminate the customer risk
Example: Yoga-Studio
1. Determine which customer segment or customers have the problem. These are your target customers in the Extended Canvas.Which people have an exceptionally high need for relaxation and recreation in their everyday working lives? For example, the employees in a dense industrial area without nature.
2. Then think: Who would be the first customers who urgently need your offer? These are the early adopters.For example, we could target people who are interested in sports or are health-conscious anyway. Where can you meet and approach these people (e.g., in the canteen at the salad bar rather than in the smoking area)?
3. First, try to win these customers over to your offer by addressing them directly, for example, by addressing them personally on the street, even if this is labor- and time-intensive.For example, you could stand at a canteen salad bar with a small yoga flyer in your hand and ask people if they are interested in a relaxation and health course. Did I mention that it takes courage and a certain amount of audacity to approach new ideas?
4. Since you can't and don't want to directly address all customers in the future, you must now check whether customers can also be convinced of your offer by addressing them indirectly (e.g., via flyers, posters, advertisements, or Google ads).In the next step, you could, in consultation with one to three pilot companies, make a poster for the yoga class, and see how many people respond to it.

Today is the first step, and here is your task:

Think about the customers who are most affected by the problem you’ve formulated and where and how you can find them. Be creative and think outside the box! Where can you find them? How can you reach them? For a start, it’s sufficient to be able to talk to five to eight potential customers.

Second part of the task:

Create a questionnaire on your computer that asks you the following questions:

  • Description of the persons: Do the people you’ve addressed really fit into the customer segment you’ve established? Ask about the demographic characteristics required for this (e.g., age group, profession, etc. …). Also, prepare fields for characteristics that you don’t need to query (e.g., gender).
  • Resilience of the problem you assume: Do people actually have this problem? How stressful is it? How do they solve the problem today? What alternative solutions are they familiar with? How much money do they spend on it? etc.
  • Meaning of your value proposition: What things come to mind when customers hear your value proposition? What about it do they find attractive? What do they miss? What do they dislike? Do they consider it credible? etc.
  • Assessment of your solution: What does this solution sound like to the respondent? To what extent does it fulfill the value proposition? What distinguishes this solution, and what is missing? Does the solution sound better than previous alternatives? Would the solution be accepted? What price should and could such a solution be worth? How would the solution be best bought and used? etc.

Third part of your task today:

Do something different first before looking at your questionnaire again with fresh eyes a few hours later: Have you asked for all the important points? Are the questions formulated clearly and comprehensibly? Is the questionnaire short enough so that the respondents are not frustrated or overwhelmed?

Last part of your task:

Make an appointment for tomorrow or the next coaching day with two or three people you trust to test your questionnaire, ideally in person or, if necessary, by telephone or video conference.