Staying engaged with your Core Values

Last year, I was introduced and read a book by Steve Blank called, The Four Steps to the Epiphany. It has served me well and there are five questions from it that I constantly use and have found it to be a great help in determining my own core values – from MY CUSTOMER PERSPECTIVE .

A quick overview of the book on Amazon states:

The essential "how to" book for anyone bringing a product to market, writing a business plan, marketing plan or sales plan. Step-by-step strategy of how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development for a new product or company. The book offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture. Packed with concrete examples, the book will leave you with new skills to organize sales, marketing and your business for success.

This series of questions I have recently been using in discussing potential marketing opportunities with customers. It quickly determines how effective I can be marketing their product. If they have trouble answering these, there can be a huge disconnect between them and their customers/prospects.

  1. What problem are you solving for your customer?
  2. Does the customer know they have this problem?
  3. Are your customers actively trying to solve this problem?
  4. Do customers have a budget allocated to solve this problem or otherwise trying to spend money to solve it?
  5. Are your customers actively spending money, time or effort on solving this problem and failing?

Apple Core These questions though derived for a startup sometimes are even hard to answer for a mature company. I would even encourage you to re-visit these questions as time goes on so that you don’t drift away from your core values or mission.

If you would like to learn more about Steve Blank, he is participating in the Start-up Lessons Learned Conference Friday, April 23, 2010 from 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM (PST)
San Francisco, CA.
The goal for this event is to give practitioners and students of the lean startup methodology the opportunity to hear insights from leaders in embracing and deploying the core principles of the lean startup methodology. It is also being Simulcast across many locations.