– By Alexander Osterwalder
It’s hard to build a new business and failure along the way is inevitable. However, you want the failures you experience to be small, inexpensive and manageable, not lethal. Here are four major mistakes to be on the look out for to avoid failing indefinitely.
1) Solving an Irrelevant Customer Job
Your business model will fail if it is built around a value proposition that solves a customer job that customers don’t care about, or that customers don’t care about enough. In the start-up world this is called a failure to achieve product-market fit. No business model can survive long term without product-market fit, no matter how great it looked in the business plan. Trivial, right? So why does it happen over and over again?
This type of mistake is often driven by an overly strong focus on products, services, technologies and features. What you want to focus on first, before thinking about features, is figuring out which jobs customers are trying to get done, which pains bother them most, and which gains they are trying to achieve.
Once you understand what matters most to customers, make sure your products and services sufficiently alleviate pains or create substantial gains. Otherwise you’ll fail even if you target the right jobs, pains, and gains.
A visualization of customer value creation from our upcoming book Value Proposition Design