Select any one of the following and you are in the right place to read this post about customer discovery:
- You don’t have a clear roadmap to developing your product or service this year.
- You feel marketing is an overwhelming money and energy pit.
- You feel like you are on a content hamster wheel.
- You don’t adore your customers.
Customer Discovery No-No’s
Customer discovery is a methodical process for learning what painful problems your customer has that you can solve. There are two common traps you might fall into:
- You did customer discovery at the beginning of your business and haven’t touched it since because you “know your customer.”
- You think sending out a survey is adequate customer discovery.
I can write about this with a bit of sass because I, too, thought I understood customer discovery. I had customers, so therefore I knew them!
From Nearly Giving Up to $1M in Annual Revenue
Then I found myself with a bunch of lousy, draining and needy customers. I didn’t love what I was doing. I felt I failed before ever achieving the scale I imagined. I was burning through cash like it was a wild night in Vegas. I had exhausted every marketing gimmick to gain traction – a free Facebook group, a 30-day challenge, sales, a weekly newsletter, social media posts. You name it – I tried it.
I had even published a book with rave reviews on Amazon. I had hundreds of customers. I had a consulting business that was doing a stout six-figures. Yet, I was working my tush off to bring through every dollar in course revenue – the business I actually wanted to scale.
Something had to give, and I was out of ideas.
This is when my new co-founder, Alex, and I did some serious soul searching. (Talk about another stressor. She left her well paying job to come work with me, and we had 6-weeks of financial runway left in the piggy bank.)
We reflected on who we actually loved to serve. I encourage you to do the same. You likely have multiple different customer segments, but only one of those segments actually lights your heart on fire (and brings you profitable business).
In the dark depths of November in remote Alaska, we went nuclear on the process I am about to share with you. We systematically uncovered what our ideal customer really wanted out of life. She shared her hopes and fears, which allowed us to stop guessing what to build.
This customer discovery process kicked off a three-week sprint to save our business. We did the following:
- Got uncomfortably narrow in our niche
- Completely overhauled our product and offer
- Tripled our price (and felt terrified about it)
- Rewrote all messaging on our website
- Developed an entirely new evergreen sales webinar and funnel
Then, we took a week off over the Christmas holiday and sales started coming through. One after another and by the start of the new year, we already had $7K in monthly recurring revenue. ($7K on a 12 month payment plan meant $84,000 in booked revenue, compared to our loss of $20,000 in the month of December 2020!)
Two years later, we hit $1 million in annual revenue and have grown to a team of nine (including part-time).
Most importantly, we have the dreamiest customers that often become friends. Their lives are transforming, often at a rate that even leaves us in awe.