THE HANGAR Booster Programme highlights: Customer Discovery

Contributed by Rebecca Tan Li Qi

As an entrepreneur, you may have many questions in your mind.

  • Is the problem I intend to solve a critical one?
  • Is my solution what customers want?
  • Will people want to pay for my product or service?

To have our start-ups in THE HANGAR Booster Programme (June run) started on their journey of discovery, we invited Kris Childress and Eugene Noh, our Mentor-in-Residence and Deputy Director at NUS Enterprise, to share with us how to rediscover problems and understand customers with fresh eyes.

First, what is customer or problem discovery? Is it something like walking on the streets and trying to discover problems that people face?

Well, it is — in a way.

Photo credits: MaRS Startup Toolkit

Customer discovery is the first step of the customer development model which is used to gain deep insights into customers’ problems. Easy as it may sound, execution may not be that simple.

Start-up founders (or rather all of us) face a common (but dangerous) problem — confirmation bias, a tendency where we tend to interpret information in a way that supports our pre-existing beliefs.

Photo Credits: THE HANGAR Booster Programme workshop on Customer Discovery (sharing by Eugene Noh)

So, what’s a good way to start? Check out the four key phases of customer discovery in the infographic below.

4 phases of customer discovery

Bear in mind that there might be a few common mistakes you may make in the process:

  • Not asking follow-up questions when you discover something surprising
  • Making assumptions about your customers
  • Testing your start-up solution rather than the problem hypothesis
  • Asking leading questions

Remember: Keep questioning your assumptions. Chances are, you are likely to discover things that surprise you.

We will be concluding THE HANGAR Booster Programme (June run) soon; watch this space for new highlights.

Want to take your start-up to the next level but missed the application for this run? Reach out to us at enterprise@nus.edu.sg to find out more about our next run in October 2021!

NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.