Page Progress:

Summary: Start-ups

Ignoring Customer!

‘Despite their best intentions to focus on customers’ needs, many companies spend more time looking inward.’ therefore, an effective way to gaining customer insights is by asking customers smart questions! According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 50% of CEO’s said that Customer Insights (CI), was ‘very critical’ to growth. 50% of CEO’s in advanced CI companies, report significantly higher satisfaction with CI’s ROI.

Customer Insights

An overlooked source of competitive advantage in organizations. Customer and product/service discovery questions can also establish product-market fit.

Bootcamp Leader: Dr. Gerard L. Danford @gerarddanford

Smart Questions

  1. How did you hear about our product/service?… Customer Acquisition Mechanism (determines consistency with company’s perceptions).
  2. What process did you use to pick this product over the competition?… Sales Process (defines stakeholders, decision makers, and sales cycle).
  3. Why did you choose this product/service?… Product/Service Differentiation (identifies customer segments, and different needs).
  4. Who uses the product/service, and how has that changed over time?… Key Users (determines churn rate, and growth).
  5. How important is this product/service?… Top 5 Issues (highlights hair-on-fire problem that impacts sales cycle, and customer promotion opportunities).
  6. How much did/would you pay?… Price (indicates return on investment, and brand/price fit).
  7. How quickly is the product/service evolving?… Churn Risk (indicates satisfaction, customer/firm relationship, support, overselling, and sales tactics).
  8. Would you recommend this product, and to whom?… Market Size & Potential (shows who the product/service serves, and potential customer breadth).


  1. According to Harvard research; entrepreneurs will earn 35% less in personal income over a 10-year period, compared to what they could have earned in a paid job.
  2. The number one reason for success or failure in a startup is; Determining the right time for launch, which meets the needs of the market.
  3. STOPP stands for: S= Stop  T = Think  O= Observe  P = Plan  P = Proceed


Minimum PASS score is 80%



Ghosh, Shikhar (2011). Why Companies Fail: and How Their Founders Can Bounce Back. Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School (Link)

The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail (2014). CBInsights (pdf Link)

Gross, Bill (2013). Lessons Learned from Bill Gross’ 35 IPO’s/Exits and 40 Failures, First Round Review (Link)

Levinson, J. C. and Jeannie Levinson, and Amy Levinson (2007). Guerilla Marketing

Tunguz, Tomasz and F. Bien (2016). Winning with Data: Transform Your Culture, Empower Your People, and Shape the Future. 

Moore, Geoffrey (1991). Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers. Collins Business Essentials

Barton, C. L. Koslow et all. (2016). Why Companies Can’t Turn Customer Insights into Growth. BCG Perspectives (Link)

⇒  TO CONTINUE: Go To Navigation Menu & Select Post-Assessment