This article is part of a series of articles, as an example how to use Customer Development in practice. If you didn’t read the introduction, please read it first.

As next step (part 2) you need to get familiar with the Lean Startup methodology, even if you are already using Lean Startup or you did a workshop, you should not skip this part because you will have your “Out of the building experience” (potential client contact).

In this part you will practice to get feeling with Lean Startup and more important with the product-market you have in your mind. The task is to fill the Validation Board, designed by The Lean Startup Machine with minimal 1 pivot.

Goal: Learn how to use Lean Startup in fast way and see how important it is to know the “problem” of your potential client.

Maximal time: 3 days (full-time)

Exit: First learning’s (hopefully validated)

Pivot 1 (start)

Define Customer Hypothesis:
[Co-founders wanted]: There many people in Europe that wants to start an Internet company  (=founder).

Problem Hypothesis:
[Co-founders wanted]:  Founder needs a (technical) team to create Minimum Viable Product(s).

Solution Hypothesis: Do not make Solution in 1st pivot

Core assumptions:
[Co-founders wanted]:

  • Need to guarantee an investor at product market fit OR
  • Need to take risk in the project
  • Have “trust” in company Co-founders wanted so need track record and references
  • Know and like Lean Startup method

Riskiest assumptions
[Co-founders wanted]: Founder can and wants to pay € x for his first MVP, to start a company

Method (we don’t need to loose time but you need to learn to get out of the building, so minimal requirement is that you talk to potential clients, preferable face-to-face but by phone, video call or Skype is also allowed)
[Co-founders wanted]:

  • Own network: look for potential clients (LinkedIn search can help)
  • Make appointments
  • Just call and ask

Mimimum Success Criterion
[Co-founders wanted]: From all interviewees, that really have in mind to start a company. 30% should “want to pay” in some kind of form, with a guaranteed investor or other way of taking risk.


  1. Collect all “customer relation data” for eventual future use.
  2. Make summary of every interview

Result of Pivot 1:
[Co-founders wanted]:
3 interviews, with consultants who had a startup already. Results and learnings:

  • riskiest assumption is validated (2 vs 1, so 67%) BUT the interviwees will not create a startup at the moment
  • Despite of the validation of the riskiest assumption, we need a better validation under founders that are “working” on their startups, as these are clients for  (=founder)
  • you need a good idea
  • you need serious money to invest (preferable from investor): 2 prefered own money, 1 prefered investor
  • you need to trust co-founder, if co-founder invests this gives trust

Other learnings: the motivation to start own company is that their father had its own business.

Validation Board

>>> Go to next part (part 3)

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