How To Do Customer Discovery for Your Business

This is a part of a series of posts this summer, where we are highlighting ways you can work on your business or idea this summer. Plus, these are all things you can do from ANYWHERE, so whether you are home for the break, in Nashville, or traveling the world, you can be making progress on your business without being at school. 


What is Customer Discovery? Customer Discovery is the process of getting to understand what makes your customers tick and how they would react to your product/service. The best part is you don’t need to involve any fancy programs or tools. 

Develop some Hypotheses

Develop your hypotheses of who your customer is, what they want, and how they want it. Develop hypotheses that address what the problem is, why it exists, and when it occurs. Next, write out all the assumptions you made to develop those hypotheses. Focus on validating your assumptions and refining your hypotheses. 

Talk to People, ALL people

For entrepreneurs it can be scary to share with others what you are working on, but practicing explaining your idea and getting feedback from others is important for the early stages of developing your business. Ask your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers if they have experienced the problem you are trying to address. You never know what connection they may have to your business. 

Want to make it more formal?

  • Create a Google Survey and share it with your friends on social media or email it out to some friends.

  • Host an informal focus group of potential customers. Have a list of questions to ask of the group. Consider exploring the problem before you bring up your potential solution. 

  • If you are looking for quick feedback, Instagram’s Poll, Question, and Quiz features on Stories are a great way to get fast answers from your personal network. 

Conduct Secondary Research

Think you know who your target market is? Look up their demographics online. Investigate their spending habits, shopping preferences, and favorite products. For all the assumptions you listed earlier, try to validate them with a real stat or example.

Check out the competition by visiting competitors online or better yet, in person. Reach out to ask questions about the industry or customers. You may be surprised how much people want to help students. 

DO NOT Wrap it Up 

 The second most common problem with Customer Discovery is to only go through the process once (the first most common problem is to ignore customer discovery all together). Always be checking your assumptions and seek validation from outside sources. Do not forget who your customer is. Always be working to deepen your understanding of them and to improve how your business addresses their needs and wants. Do not wrap it up in a folder and say “this is who my customer is and this is their problem”. Revisit this often, your customers are people and will always be changing.

Belmont ETP