BizPlan Academy

In-depth lessons on business ideation, pitching, and planning

Customer Development 101: Finding & Attracting Your First Customers

A company will only survive as long as it continues to have a strong customer base. Even the best products will fail without a steady stream of users. Luckily, once a company has attracted its first customers, maintaining demand becomes considerable easier.

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9 Deadliest Start-up Sins

Whether your venture is a new pizza parlor or the hottest new software product, beware: These nine flawed assumptions are toxic.

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Strategy is Not a To Do List

I had breakfast with two of my ex-students from Singapore who were building a really interesting startup. They were deep into Customer Discovery and presented a ton of customer data on the validity of their initial hypothesis – target customers, pricing, stickiness, etc.  I was unprepared for what they said next. “We’re going to do a big launch of our product in three weeks.”  I almost dropped my coffee. “Wait a minute, what about the rest of Customer Development? Aren’t you going to validate your hypotheses by first getting some customers?”

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First Step to Validate Your Business Idea

This is the question that haunts many entrepreneurs and demotivates them from working on their business Idea. The best way to start when you have a business idea in your mind is to think of the problem it is trying to solve.

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No Plan Survives First Contact With Customers - Business Plans Versus Business Models


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Mentors, Coaches and Teachers

When the student is ready, the master appears. — Buddhist Proverb

Lots of entrepreneurs believe they want a mentor. When in fact, they’re actually asking for a teacher or a coach. A mentor relationship is a two-way street. To make it work, you have to bring something to the party.

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What Do I Do Now? The Startup Lifecycle

Last week I got a call from Patrick an ex-student I hadn’t heard from for 8 years. He was now the CEO of a company and wanted to talk about what he admitted was a “first world” problem. Over breakfast he got me up to date on his life since school (two non-CEO roles in startups,) but he wanted to talk about his third startup — the one he and two co-founders had started.

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An MVP is not a Cheaper Product, It’s about Smart Learning

A minimum viable product (MVP) is not always a smaller/cheaper version of your final product. Defining the goal for a MVP can save you tons of time, money and grief.

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What Founders Need to Know: You Were Funded for a Liquidity Event — Start Looking


To most founders a startup is not a job, but a calling.

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