What is your customer and user segment that unlocks the most potential for your business? Who is your primary customer? What do they like and value? Be as specific as possible to create a profile of your ideal customer. Don’t make the mistake and take your values and views for granted.

»My experience has shown that you cannot just see the problem from your personal point of view. Think right on from the beginning, whether the topic is relevant for a large market! How many potential customers exist for that?«

Valentin Stalf, Founder of the Mobile Bank “N26”

Is the customer always king?

There are different opinions whether the customer should be always king. What is certain, however, is that your company ultimately has to find customers who pay for the solution to their problem. Or to put it in another way: the best form of financing your startup is paying customers! Many innovative companies have failed because they developed their products or services past the customer and misjudged their needs or willingness to pay.

Get to know your customer: Coffee-type meeting

In a coffee-type meeting, you sit down with your customer over a cup of coffee and try to find out as much as possible from him or her. In a casual atmosphere, you usually hear more than in other meetings in a conference or an office space. Try to take a passive role and listen to what concerns your customer and where his acute »pain points« lie.

Your ideal customer – the persona

Based on these personal insights you can develop a customer persona in the B2C as well as in the B2B area, in order to understand exactly the needs and the context of your customer. Personas are ideal representations of groups of people in everyday life and are simplified descriptive models of users, customers and other stakeholders. Personas are identified from observation, interviews and focus groups. Try to „build“ one or more personas by looking closely at your target customers.

Define your Decision Making Unit

To better understand the customer, you must be clear about who has the decision-making power. Add your customer persona to the Decision Making Unit (DMU). In the B2B area, one or more departments are often involved in the decision-making process. Define who within this group is the decision maker, what his needs are and how big his budget is.

Target group analysis

Try to get in touch with as many potential customers and users which match your personas as possible. The goal is to learn from the customer through short interviews and receive feedback, not to have a sales pitch.

Learn more about the third module „customer“ of the Startup Navigator in the handbook.