Customer Discovery

How to find your customers, understand their pain points, and refine your idea into a workable Minimum Viable Product

What is Customer Discovery?

Customer discovery helps you identify your first customers. This is important, because focusing on your first customers is essential  to understanding the biggest pain points that you can address in your venture. The best money you can raise is from your customers and taking customer discovery seriously will ensure you capture meaningful insights and direction as you launch your startup.

Don’t waste time on a solution the market doesn’t want.

Begin by thinking deeply about about who your customer is, the problem you are trying to address, and how the customer might purchase your product/service using the lean canvas. You’ll want to create a list of ways to engage with your potential customers and make it your goal to interview at least 10 people in each round of customer discovery. These should be in person interviews, not validation from friends, family, or disembodied voices on the internet. After every 10 interviews, create a new Lean Canvas and track your refined assumptions.

Your understanding of the problem you are solving and how you will solve it should change and adapt as you talk to more and more customers.

Customer discovery should be one of the first steps you take when developing your idea. It’s never too early in the process to start getting feedback and iterating. Follow the steps laid out in our infographic to take the first steps for turning your idea into a viable venture. For access to more tools to help you get started, visit our Entrepreneur Resources page.


Customer Discovery Sample Questions:

These are some questions you might want to consider when building your question lists and conducting customer discovery. Don’t forget that these questions should be open ended and focused on your customer and their problem, not you and your idea.

1. What’s the hardest part about [problem context] ?
2. Can you tell me about the last time that happened?
3. What was hard about that experience?
4. How are you currently solving that problem?
5. What do you like or dislike about the solutions you’ve tried?

Remember to not suggest your idea during the problem interview. If your interviewee is open and willing to give you their contact information, be sure to take it and follow up at a later time with your MVP. They may say no, but always, always ask.

Best of luck with your interviews! We can’t wait to hear how it goes. Document your customer discovery journey by tweeting us at @3daystartup and send us a few of your stories at