The Hunt for Authentic Demand

There’s a never-ending debate in the entrepreneur world: build it and they will come or demonstrate authentic demand first before building it. The first approach — build it and they will come — a.k.a. the “Field of Dreams” approach is the most common. Inspiration for a new idea hits an entrepreneur and they work to bring it to life. Entrepreneurs that study the Lean Startup take a more modern approach whereby customer discovery is employed to truly uncover a meaningful pain or opportunity before building a solution. Customer discovery yields better outcomes but there are plenty of pros and cons with each approach.

Entrepreneurs should start with The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you and unlearn their natural tendencies of leading the witness during customer discovery as well as being too broad with the initial idea. Entrepreneurs are naturally optimistic and eager to get to validation. Most people want to be supportive and say it’s a good idea regardless of whether they’re the ideal customer or having any expertise to back it up. Asking harder questions and seeking objective feedback takes more work, and delivers better results.

Once the basics are in place, it’s time to hunt for authentic demand. Authentic demand represents prospects that want to buy something but have no options — there’s an unfulfilled market need. The hunt for authentic demand is no different than a sales rep looking to build (Read more...)