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“Running faster doesn’t’ help, if you run in the wrong way”

Understanding your customers and what they value is the most important part of launching a business.  If you are not providing something that the customers want, rest of your business is meaningless.

The first step to getting this part right is to move away from thinking that the customers want features, products, services or specific improvements. Always remember this quote:

In truth, you can start from the assumption that customers don’t want to buy products and services. Why would they? They cost money, time and sometimes cause a lot of stress. In fact, most consumers tend not to buy a product if they can get the job done without it.

Example: You have a computer that contains important information. Do you really like to buy a backup hard disk (costs money) that you need to install (causes stress) and back up the information (takes time)… if you can get the job done without it?

This means that you, as an entrepreneur, have the responsibility to find answers to these questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What jobs are they trying to get done?
  • What are the outcomes that they value most and have the most difficulties reaching?

Remember that customers only buy your product if it gets the job done. To make your product more desirable you need to answer the following questions:

  • How can they do something that they can’t do now (although they would like to)?
  • How can they do something better/quicker/cheaper than they do now?
  • How to help them feel or look different or better than they do now?
  • How to fill the need the best way?

To get a better understanding of what ”jobs to be done” means, watch this short video example where the professor Clayton Christensen gives an example why people really buy milkshakes in a hamburger restaurant.

Additional reading and resources

Innovators toolkit
What the customer needs
What customer hire the product to do

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