Do Customer Research

By Chiedo - Last updated on May 1st 2019 - 5 MIN read

In 2016, I had this amazing idea.

I was convinced that if I built a secure file sharing service that was easy to use, people would pay for it.

So I spent months hacking away, building exactly what I imagined.

I built it perfectly.

And 400 hours later we got two customers.

What did I do wrong?

I built what I thought people wanted instead of asking people what they wanted.

There's a book called The Lean Startup. If you haven't read it, stop reading this and read that ASAP.

The Lean Startup is a 9-hour book on Audible. 4.5 hours if you listen at 2X speed.

But it's all about the concept of validating your assumptions before investing a bunch of time and effort into your ideas.

I want you to take that concept to heart. And I'm serious, read the book.

If I had read that book before launching my failed software startup, it either would have suceeded or I would have wasted WAY less time.

You're hopped up on your vision for your idea. That's awesome.

But now do the hard part and be smart about it.

You need to get feedback from the people you intend to sell your idea to and make sure you understand what they want.

You need to have conversations with people.

Don't worry about your idea getting stolen. If your idea is that easy to steal, it's not worth much.

And most people are too busy with their own ideas to steal yours.

I bet you couldn't pay someone $200 to steal your idea and execute it. Because it's work. The idea the is the fun part.

Execution is everything. So push forward an execute your idea.

You need to get input from the people who would use your product if you want to increase your chances at success.

So do the hard part.

Reach out to potential customers and pitch your idea.

This is a really awesome blog post on conducting market research. So read that.

Also, more often than not, you aren't going to patent a software startup idea. Look how quickly Facebook copied Snapchat.

Software startups are hard to patent. If you have some super proprietary algorithim or something like that, then sure talk to an attorney.

But for most software startups at this phase, thinking about a patent is a waste of time and money.

Lastly, remember that just because someone says they'd use your product, that doesn't mean they will.

And commit this important note to mind.

Customer research is never done!

Do customer research always and continue to get feedback from your customers throughout your journey.


Do at least 15 user surveys. You can find people manually or use the guidance provided at the end of this article.