Customer Market Research

You’ve identified a problem. But how do you know whether or not the problem you’ve identified is a real problem? And, what are your next steps for going from opportunity to business?

First, you need to understand what a business is in its simplest form.  According to MIT Professor Bill Aulet, "The only necessary and sufficient condition for a business is to have a paying customer."

In other words, to have a business you must identify a customer who is willing to exchange money for your solution. No matter how fancy your idea is or groundbreaking your technology, you will ultimately need a real and specific customer to sell to.

Clearly, understanding your customer is important. But how do you go about doing that? Customer market research is a process by which you identify and understand a specific set of target customer(s) in order to pinpoint the real problem that needs to be solved. You can use a variety of techniques:

  • Customer interviews
  • Focus groups
  • User testing

When conducting your market research, you should go in with hypotheses about your problem, solution, or business that you want to test. You adjust based on whether your market research proves or disproves your hypothesis.

Ultimately, as you speak and interact with more potential customers, you learn more about how you can solve their problems and meet their needs, thus achieving a level of product-market fit for your business. And ideally, you will continuously be conducting market research on customers as your business grows and evolves. 

Listen to your customers. The better you understand their needs, the better a solution you can create for them.